Artist of the Month May 2024


Natalie Friedman

Oakland, California, USA

I was born in Oakland, California and raised next door in Berkeley. I graduated from UCLA in fine arts in 1990. After many years working in a home studio, I moved into a dedicated artist space in November 2022. Since that move I have been included in the Emeryville Celebration of the Arts, the San Francisco DeYoung Museum Open and have just wrapped up my first solo show at the Compound Gallery in Emeryville.

How and when did you start creating art?

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t draw or paint. I took my first official art class when I was seven and I’ve been creating art ever since.

What media and genres do you work in?

Currently I am working on what I call representational abstract paintings in acrylic on canvas. These usually start from a photograph, but the finished pieces are abstracted reflections as opposed to literal representations. I also have spent a lot of time working in mixed media, collage and paper mache.

Who or what are your influences?

I find that I am drawn to the cubist, fauvist and surrealist works of the early twentieth century. Matisse, Marc Chagall, Franz Marc, Georges Braque and Juan Gris are among the great artists of that era that I admire. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area I also feel inspired by the artists of Bay Area Figurative Movement Richard Diebenkorn, David Park and Elmer Bischoff. I also greatly admire David Hockney, particularly his landscapes and interiors.

What was your inspiration for

Twain Harte Morning


“Twain Harte Morning” is inspired by a photograph of the breakfast nook of a 1940’s vintage cabin in Twain Harte, California on an ordinary summer morning. I love trying to capture the sense of not only the place I am painting, but the feeling of the moment as well.

Describe your creative process?

I use leftover paint and old paint water to create a ground/underpainting on a blank canvas. I then look at photographs of ordinary spaces in my life that I have taken and I use these images as inspiration for a drawing I put over the underpainting with paint pens or china markers. I then respond to the unexpected interactions between the underpainting and the drawing. I build in layers, letting memory and impressions guide the process rather than a strict adherence to the source image. I hope my creations serve as visual reminders to appreciate the present, wherever you may find yourself.

What are you working on currently?

I have just wrapped up my first solo show and am starting a new body of work. I plan to continue exploring ordinary spaces as a subject matter.

What are your near/long term goals as an artist?

It was an incredible experience to have a solo show, to hear people talking about my work and actually seeing and feeling the things that I was hoping to convey. I would love to have another show in the future, but for now my focus is on rebuilding a body of work.

Where can people view/purchase your work (gallery, website, etc)?




Open Imagination

Twain Harte Morning

Open Imagination

Library at the Compound

Open Imagination

PIP (Painting in Painting)

Open Imagination

Sneaky Little Devil

Open Imagination

Still Life on Window Sill

Open Imagination

Working Glasses and Mug in Yellow Kitchen

Artist Website
All Images @ Natalie Friedman
All Rights Reserved

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