Artist's work is bright and beautiful, as is her life

By Thaddeus Miller / tmiller@losbanosenterprise.comMarch 1, 2013 

Splashes of color and a hint of eccentricity could describe the work of artist Mckenzie Hoskins.

"My work's a little whimsical, maybe somewhat weird," the 39-year-old said. "People kind of say that I'm 'Alice in Wonderland' meets heaven."

The mother of four, who is the Los Banos Library's latest focus for the local artists wall, met some adversity in the last year that threatened her art.

Hoskins suffers from lupus, an autoimmune disorder, and recently underwent brain surgery. After developing a tumor that caused her to need regular spinal taps, surgeons placed a ventriculoperitoneal shunt in her head. The shunt automatically relieves the pressure from fluid that was causing her daily headaches, she said.

"They were like, 'We're going to put it in the right side of the brain,' " Hoskins said. "I was like, 'Are you crazy? That's the creative side.' "

She said she was relieved to find the surgery had no effect on her creativity, which she attributes to God. It did, however, remind her to be thankful for the time she has for art and family.

"It has also inspired my work as far as not wasting time and really putting myself into my work," she said.

Four of the five pieces on the library wall, and drawings in the adjacent case, are brightly colored and some depict forests and underwater venues. The fifth painting is a self-portrait.

Hoskins said she often paints during services at Day 3 church, where she gets inspiration. She said she prefers to keep the message of her paintings to herself, so others can have their own interpretation.

"They need to be left open for each individual to have their own encounters with it," she said, adding that God speaks through her art.

Hoskins said she has a passion for teaching art to children. She's taught youngsters through the Los Banos Arts Council and Parks and Recreation, but plans to begin classes in her studio.

The 1992 Los Banos High School graduate is self-taught and owns Owl Heart Studio, where she paints and designs handbags and dolls from home. Children that learn art, Hoskins said, benefit in many ways.

"Their attention span grows. That falls over into their classwork," she said, adding it also develops problem-solving skills and handwriting.

"Plus, they're learning how to appreciate differences in other kids' work."

Her other inspirations are as varying as Renaissance painter Leonardo Da Vinci and children's book artist Mary Engelbreit.

"I have two major goals in life," Hoskins said.

"Number 1: Write, illustrate and publish a children's book. Number 2: Open a studio/school for children and adults."

Hoskins' art will be on display through March. The Mardi Gras masks of Pacheco High School students are next on the docket.

Enterprise reporter Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 388-6562 or by email at tmiller@losbanos

Enterprise reporter Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 388-6562 or by email at tmiller@losbanos

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