Artist series: Bryna Shields

We recently sat down with Bryna Shields to learn more about the photography projects she is working on this year, and how she hydrates her everyday.


Tell us about yourself (name, what you do, what work you specialize in, what you're currently working on, what you're passionate about, etc.)

I’m an illustrator and photographer specializing in pattern design, food and lifestyle illustration and natural light portrait photography. My work is full of color, energy and playfulness. I’m currently working on a new 100 Day Project (100 Days of Blind Contour Drawings) and document my other projects, such as my patterns and food illustrations on my blog ( I often incorporate my passion for travel and food into my work. In the new year I’m also starting a portrait series of people who inspire me.


Tell us about this piece (what inspired it? how did you create it? why did you pick the color that you did?)

When I made this piece I was thinking about the symbiotic relationship between water and plants, how easily it flows into and out of all physical things, following and creating paths simultaneously. I chose green as a way to represent this relationship between earth and water. I also wanted to see if I could capture the interplay of high energy and calmness, as water contains both of these qualities depending on the circumstances.

What does water mean to you?

I grew up near the Atlantic Ocean, and it was always a source of spiritual reflection for me. I loved taking in its grandness and majesty. Water is an incredibly powerful and patient force in the world. It can take hundreds of thousands of years, but it has shaped so much of our landscape across the country. It has carried people to new lands. It is the source of life, but also has the power to destroy it; I’ve always been fascinated by that duality. Water has always brought out an introspective aspect of my personality whenever I’m around it. Now that I live in the Pacific Northwest, I am surrounded by gorgeous waterfalls and rivers on my hikes, and seeing the way that water has literally carved out pieces of the land around here makes me feel connected to the past - I love imagining what these places must have looked like thousands of years ago, and wondering how it will continue to transform thousands of years into the future, all because of water.


How do you use water?

I try to use water as a source of comfort. Lately, whenever I feel particularly stressed, I grab a glass of cool water and take a moment to slow down and enjoy how it makes my body feel. It’s a really simple act that has been a great way to check in with my body and this little ritual has been a  way to bring myself back to the present moment. Aside from practical things like hydration and hygiene, I also use it for making coffee (very important to that artistic process!) and for my paintings.


How many glasses of water do you drink a day?

I aim for 3-4 glasses a day, at least.