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It’s no secret that the hardest part about being an artist is getting paid. The dream of making a living solely for our artistic prowess is a daunting and ongoing pursuit. To avoid starvation and living off our parents, we resort to the two words that every creative type dreads: DAY JOBS!

If we’re lucky enough, the right job and company comes along that fits our current lifestyle. And in the rarest of occasions, that same job will give us a platform in which to share our ventures and grandiose artistic displays with our fellow co-workers and clientele. This is one of those rare instances! In this three-part series, we will be sharing some of the great talents of our fellow Herd members for you to enjoy and share.

In this first segment, we will be featuring the incredibly talented Samantha Russell. When she’s not busy slinging coffee at Fox Tower, here’s what occupies her time:

Samantha was born in Sacramento, California, and moved to Portland Oregon in 2011. She is currently studying molecular biology at Portland State University and pursues oil painting in her spare time. Her interest in science influences her approach to art, in that she views her work through a formulaic lens. The paintings usually focus on one or two static subjects. All of her paintings are completed in one sitting using a technique called alla prima (all in the first attempt), which involves mixing paints on the canvas rather than the pallet – all while the paint is still wet and malleable. This technique can be unpredictable due to the fluid nature of oil paints and the way the translucent colors settle together. This technique is not unlike a science experiment: following the formula may still yield unexpected results. She attempts to create works that are straightforward studies on light, color and texture. Future aspirations include merging the science and art fields, either through illustrating for biology textbooks or providing artwork for wildlife foundations. In the meantime, her work is primarily commission based.

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