Thursday, December 11, 2014

DPW Spotlight Interview: Kat Corrigan

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings.

To enter to win Kat's painting, "Untitled" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Kat's DPW Gallery page:

I am inspired by light and shadow, how color works together to make areas pulse and recede, and the way brush strokes and layers of paint can influence emotional responses to a work. My work is expressionistic, in a realistic manner. I paint in acrylic on black-gessoed masonite or canvas, allowing some of the black to show through; this contrasts against the brightness of the colors in a way that thrills me. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I'd been calling myself an artist for years after college, despite the fact that I usually only painted in the summer at workshops or in spurts for some exhibition, and every time I did that forced effort, it felt feeble and unsupported.  It was always painful to start again.

In 2009, I was on a summer road trip with my parents and my then three-month old son. I had been struggling with how to continue as an artist with this new baby (and I am still incredibly lucky to have stupendous support from the various art groups I participate in!) and I ran into Clair Hartmann in Wilmington, NC at an outdoor art fest.  She had just completed her "100 Dogs in 100 Days" painting project and was showing them.  I was very impressed with her work and with her open and generous personality and thought to myself, "Well hey!  YOU can paint a dog a day for 100 days too!" and then reality struck and I realized that a hundred days is longer than three months, which is more than the summer vacation from my teaching job that I allotted to myself to paint these paintings.

It really was meeting Clair and starting a blog for my "30 Dogs in 30 Days" Projects that kickstarted my career!

Untitled
(click to see original image)

Enter to win by clicking on the link at the top of the home page announcing Kat's interview.

Did you have any stops and starts in your painting career?

I am an art teacher and an artist, and for a long time the "teacher" part took precedence over the "artist" part.  I recently joined a faculty at a school which highly appreciates the ARTIST part of my life, and I can honestly say that the "artist" part is now at the forefront of my personal label.  And I know it sounds like a cliche because I meet tons of people who say, "I want to paint more, I really do! But I am too busy!" but you have to make time for it!

The entire Daily Painting Movement has changed my life.  It doesn't take a lot of time to paint, especially when you are doing it every day.  It's like you are just continuing where you left off, instead of having to remember what you learned last year and relearning it!  I have been committed to painting (just about) every day since 2009, and it is that commitment that makes the painting easier.  I went through a mentoring program from 2007 to 2009 and that also was a wonderful kick-in-the-pants for me in the sense of having to meet with my mentor every month and report on what I'd accomplished.  A blog continues to act as that exterior motivation for me.  You have to figure out what it is that will keep you going!

Parkway Evening Drive, Winter
(click to see original image)

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I have worked in oils and use Golden Heavy Body Acrylics now.  I love painting on black gessoed panel because I get to create the light from the darkness, and I paint on panel because I tend to be a bit rough on canvas.  Lately I've been playing with pastels and chalk along with the acrylic and I like the effect but have a lot to learn.  I don't like the temporariness of pastel, however, and am looking for ways to fix it more permanently.

I have been fortunate to have a hugely eclectic art life, in that my world of art includes local puppet and mask theater (Barebones and Heart of the Beast), Art Car Parade, Art Shanties, a women's stilting cooperative (Chicks-On-Sticks) and being married to a sculptor and puppet maker.  Mind you, these are large scale cardboard puppets for pageants and parades, not sock puppets.  And it is these communities that have kept me sane and creative.

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I am working towards a better understanding of how to paint humans.  I love animals so much and have studied them since an introverted, bookish child. I am now loving my current human companions so much I have to paint them as well.  But not other people's humans, just yet!  I am also playing with pastel and chalk in my paintings, mostly in landscapes at the moment.  I love the colors and the blending but not the transitory nebulous quality.  It rubs off too easily.  So I am exploring options.

Bear Chuckle
(click to see original image)

Who or what inspires you most?

Light and dark catches my eye.  There are lakes I drive past on my daily drive and I use my iPhone to snap random photos out the window without looking.  These are SO fun to go through later and find the gems that I want to paint!  I know the ones that will work when I see them - that goes for the goats at the zoo as well.  I take tons of photos of animals when I come across them, especially animals that let you get close!  Then, I look through the photos later and find the love!

I am also so inspired by artists I meet and artists who have passed on.  I go to our local art museums as often as I can, and hover and rest in the presence of those pieces that vibrate with me.  I remember seeing Helen Frankenthaler's work at the National Gallery and tears rushing to my eyes.  And Van Gogh's crabs in London - same reaction.

I was a guard at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts for several years and I know that was one of the best art educations I received!  Just living with art for eight hours a day, if you are open, will teach you so much.

March 4, Carlos
(click to see original image)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Getting up and fussing with something else while trying to paint, but I am at a point now where I recognize it and am able to redirect myself gently with some reassurances.  We all have an internal critic and that is often what causes me to procrastinate - when I am feeling stiffness and resistance inside because I am struggling with a color or an edge... and I let myself off a bit and then jump back in.

What techniques work to ensure that you make time for your art?

I paint daily in the morning before I get involved in other work.  I have a Stay Wet Pallet (fantastic item for daily painters!!!) so all I have to do is pop the top and get started, and I can usually get a small piece done within 45 minutes.  I have a file folder on my desktop where I toss all my "keeper" photos so I can find them easily.

Get the Goat
(click to see original image)

How do you keep art "fresh?" What techniques have helped you avoid burnout and keep your work vibrant and engaging?

I am fortunate that I love painting people's pets, and that I also love the collaboration of working with humans to paint their pets, and this keeps me painting.  Having commissions also allows me to feel that this is valid work because I am being paid for it.  And I do also allow myself to paint what I love, which lately has been goats in a small format and otters in a larger one.

To keep my head fresh, I teach painting lessons from my studio, and these as SO enjoyable and set me up all over again with energy and enthusiasm because these are adults who are interested and want to learn and talk about art.  Sometimes the classes I teach feel more like therapy!  And I've just started a First Friday Painting Party at my studio to keep the community feel going.   I need people and community.  And I know I work better when I am around people -  I've gone from introvert to exhibitionist!

What do you feel you are learning about right now as an artist?

How to be a better teacher, how to get that reflected light, how to keep a sense of humor and love in a sometimes difficult world, how to remain centered and confident in a whirlwind, how to listen to students' questions to better understand how to teach.  I learn more about myself everyday.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I get to play with color all day, and to teach others how to play with it too!

Thanks, Kat!

© 2014 Sophie Catalina Marine Cruse

Thursday, December 4, 2014

DPW Spotlight Interview: Lisa Fu

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings.

To enter to win Lisa's painting, "Love of Roses" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.


From Lisa's DPW Gallery page:

Lisa's paintings are inspired by her traveling experience and the simple beauty in nature and life: the bright sunlight, blooming flowers, falling leaves, running puppies, busy city streets, green vineyard, colorful sky... Her paintings seem to tell a story about the sun is always shining and that love is always in the air! (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I’ve loved drawing since my early childhood, but I actually started paint about 5 years ago, when I joined a community watercolor painting group.

Did you have any stops and starts in your painting career?

When I just started painting, I worked as a biology researcher full time, so I painted in my spare time, following the growing desire in my heart; I became a full time painter two years ago. Since then, I’ve come to understand that painting is my job and I will always keep time for it.

Love of Roses
(click to see original image)

Enter to win by clicking on the link at the top of the home page announcing Lisa's interview.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I lived in Paris, France for two years in the 1990’s, during that period of time, I visited museums around Europe and was deeply inspired by the works of the French impressionists. I have tried oil, acrylic and watercolor. I choose watercolor as my favorite medium, largely because the soft and romantic feeling of watercolor paintings.  I love the passionate quick painting process with watercolor.  l enjoy to see the color merging and blending together when the paper still wet.

Yellow Roses
(click to see original image)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I will continue to explore the endless possibilities with watercolor, going with the flow and spontaneous nature of the watercolor….At same time, I am looking forward  to experiencing the texture, brush strokes and rich color which oil painting could offer….

Who or what inspires you most?

My travel experience and the simple beauty in daily life inspire me a lot. The bright sunlight and beautiful color in nature give me great inspirations too. My painting style influenced by French impressionists and some watercolor masters in UK, Edward Seago, Edward Wesson and John Yardley.

Rose Haven Heritage Garden
(click to see original image)

What techniques work to ensure that you make time for your art?

I am a professional artist now, my studio or field is my office, I take my dog for a walk in the morning, after that is my painting time, not making plans during morning painting time as much as I can.

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I paint something that inspires me. I always take my camera and sketching book with me and record everything which I would love to paint! I always paint with an impression of what I see.

Under the Lights
(click to see original image)

How do you keep art "fresh?" What techniques have helped you avoid burnout and keep your work vibrant and engaging?

Based on the transparent nature of watercolor, I count every wash I put on my paper. I make the draft plan about composition, light, shadow and color. I paint loose, passionate and quickly in an impressionistic approach. This is my way to keep my work fresh and vibrant. I usually finish one painting in about two hours.

Lake Como, Bellagio, Lombardy, Italy
(click to see original image)

What do you feel you are learning about right now as an artist?

Always learning with enthusiasm and passion, love what you do. Keep painting and strongly believe: good art will be noticed and loved by people!

What makes you happiest about your art?

When I have finished one painting and feel satisfied is the happiest moment for me. I feel so honored and happy, when people love what I paint and willing to buy my paintings for their sweet homes!

Thanks, Lisa!

© 2014 Sophie Catalina Marine Cruse

Thursday, November 27, 2014

DPW Spotlight Interview: Debbie Shirley

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings.

To enter to win Debbie's painting, "Eternal" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Debbie's DPW Gallery page:

I am a New England-based artist who was raised and educated in the Midwest. After painting my way through college, I moved to Massachusetts where I worked as a graphic artist and art director for a number of years in the printing and advertising industries before settling down to raise a family. Now that my very active boys have all started school, I have returned to painting with a renewed passion for sharing my perspective of the world around me through my art. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I started painting as a small child. My oh-so-patient artist grandmother would squeeze out bits of her precious acrylic paints onto styrofoam meat trays, lay out canvas panels and let us "create". She took me to an open studios event in the Little Italy section of Cleveland in the late seventies. I clearly remember being in awe, and thinking to myself that this was a world that I really wanted to be a part of.

Eternal
(click to see original image)

Enter to win by clicking on the link at the top of the home page announcing Debbie's interview.

Did you have any stops and starts in your painting career?

I painted in college (studio art was one of my majors) but pretty much stopped when my "real world" job got too busy. I started to get back to painting shortly before my first child was born, figuring I'd be able to work when the baby was napping or sleeping at night. Ha! I was blessed with a child who never slept, and I didn't touch a brush again until he and his two younger brothers were in school. At that point I pretty much jumped right in and began to pursue painting as a full-time career.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I paint in acrylics and enjoy drawing with ink, charcoal and graphite. In college, I painted large abstracts. Currently I paint small realistic pieces.

Spectrum
(click to see original image)

Which ones have "stuck" and which ones have fallen away?

I re-visit abstraction from time to time when I have an image or idea in my head, but for some reason realism really appeals to me right now.

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I really want to try watercolors. I am a little intimitated by them - maybe it is a fear of losing control? I'm intrigued by pastels as well, but I am not sure that I would ever make that jump

Stepping Out
(click to see original image)

Who or what inspires you most?

I am inspired by light and color - the way light can change even the most common object into something spectacular, and how colors can act together to affect what we see and feel. I am also inspired by a sense of history - and how memories can be tied to certain objects and places, and how the same objects can be connected to such different memories for different people.

What does procrastination look like for you?

Social media. I can start out with a specific task but find I really need to give myself a strict time limit or else I find it way too easy to go "down the rabbit hole".

What techniques work to ensure that you make time for your art?

It is what I do, so I make sure that I make the time every day when the kids are in school or asleep or otherwise occupied. In the summer, I get up super early to get in a few hours of painting before everyone is up and moving. I'll squeeze in whatever bits of time I can - I can't afford to wait for a large block of time or for inspiration to hit, or else I'd never get anything done!

Wednesday in a Cafe
(click to see original image)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Sometimes it is just the way that light hits an object that makes me want to paint it. Sometimes I have an idea or image in my head and will set something up from that. At other times, when I have the perfect light coming in the window, I will take a few objects from my vintage collection and move things around until an idea or connection forms. If I am really stuck, I bring out my camera. The act of composing and cropping in the viewfinder will sometimes spark an idea from a different part of my brain.

How do you keep art "fresh?" What techniques have helped you avoid burnout and keep your work vibrant and engaging?

I tend to work in small series. When I am no longer excited to start the next painting, I move on to a different subject matter. I find that eventually I return to most series at a later date with fresh ideas.

Whir Pool
(click to see original image)

What do you feel you are learning about right now as an artist?

Everything! To be an artist is to learn. Every day I feel I learn something new - sometimes it is about technique or color or light. Sometimes it is about the business side of things. Besides painting every day, I also read a lot, so there are always new things to learn, techniques to experience, subjects to try.

What makes you happiest about your art?

Making connections with the viewer. I love to talk to people about what they see in my work, what they connect with, and what my work makes them think about or remember. I hear the greatest stories from my collectors!

Thanks, Debbie!

© 2014 Sophie Catalina Marine Cruse

Thursday, November 20, 2014

DPW Spotlight Interview: Katya Minkina

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings.

To enter to win Katya's painting, "Salt Creek" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Katya's DPW Gallery page:

I was born and raised in Moscow, Russia. I drew and painted throughout my childhood and mid teen years until I abruptly changed the course to pursue higher studies in linguistics. What started as a temporary break from painting stretched into long ten years.

It was not until I moved to Seattle in 2008 (after five years in South India where I taught French in an international school), that the absolute need to draw and paint finally caught up with me. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

At the age of seven, I started attending an art school for children in Moscow, Russia, where I studied drawing and painting for about eight years. It was a long-term commitment which pretty much defined my childhood. But then I turned fifteen and...

Did you have any stops and starts in your painting career?

...And I was very dissatisfied with the rate of progress I was making in my painting class. I diagnosed myself with mediocrity and quit my art school unrepentantly in the middle of the school year. I thought I would take a little break, but it stretched into thirteen long years. Around 2008-2009, the urge to steer my life back to art was getting stronger and stronger. I had just moved to Seattle then, and my slow artistic recovery began with the life drawing studio at Gage Academy of Art. Over time, drawing turned into a necessity, it gave me a very clear feeling of doing the right thing. My heart was in it completely, even though it sometimes hurt to see what a long break had done to my skills.

Salt Creek
(click to see original image)

Enter to win by clicking on the link at the top of the home page announcing Katya's interview.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

When growing up, I was working mostly in gouache and pencil. Those were the preferred training media in my art school. Fast-forward to 2009, and I started figure drawing with the safest and most unassuming pencil. I tried my best to stay in the comfort zone as long as possible until an artist friend in the studio literally forced a piece of charcoal into my hands... then I stuck with charcoal just as fiercely until taking up painting became inevitable. A transition to a new medium always meets with a lot of resistance and discomfort until it is just completely unavoidable. Oil has been the most enjoyable discovery so far, and I had put it off the longest, starting on it only last spring.

Which ones have "stuck" and which ones have fallen away?

From what my art journey resembles so far, I've been exploring media in a spiral. I take up a new medium, work with it and then move on to something else. At any given point of time, there is one that takes over. With every new loop of the spiral, I discover new interesting qualities of a medium. Right now it's oil. A prolonged exposure to one medium influences the way I handle the next one. It's interesting to see the overlapping that happens.

Master Class with Van Gogh
(click to see original image)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

As much as I enjoy painting, I have a very strong pull towards graphics. I am intrigued by the challenges of composition, movement, depth and volume in a black-and-white medium, when I have to compensate for the absence of color by the expressiveness in other areas. I love to see what other skilled artists can do with a simple pencil, pen, or dry brush with ink.

Who or what inspires you most?

I am constantly on the lookout for inspiring drawings and paintings. I have discovered a wealth of talented contemporary artists in the US and abroad whose artistic paths speak to me. I love different aspects of the work of Catherine Kehoe, Alex Kanevsky, Jon Redmond, Diarmuid Kelley, Hollis Dunlap, William Wray, Jennifer McChristian, to mention very-very few! I was recently lucky to visit some of the best and biggest museums in the US, and being able to observe some great master paintings from close and savor the texture; the brushwork was a priceless experience.

Unrelated to the actual painting inspirations, my artistic journey is fueled and illuminated by the support and unexpected gifts of kindness from others. I was recently offered a spot in a plein air workshop which I would not have been able to afford otherwise. The gift came from one of my collectors, a tireless and dedicated organizer of a wonderful annual plein air event in Port Angeles called Paint the Peninsula.

Adopt 44
(click to see original image)

What does procrastination look like for you?

I used to be more prone to procrastination when I was expecting to churn out 'masterpieces' and naturally failed to live up to it. I feel now that this 'all or nothing' mindset was amateurish. I treat art practice as a slow cumulative growth comprised of a myriad of small efforts. I make sure I sketch on days when I don't paint. Even if a particular drawing or painting session doesn't seem to be going anywhere, it's a way to stay in touch with the process and power through uninspired days.

What techniques work to ensure that you make time for your art?

I am a full-time artist, so a solid art routine is of paramount importance. It takes discipline and motivation because you are only answerable to yourself. No one will 'scold' you or 'fire' you if you don't show up to work. As much as it is liberating, it's a big responsibility. It really helps to have a designated space for work where everything is ready and set up for painting.

Busker on Break
(click to see original image)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Since my primary concern in painting lies more in the 'how' rather than the 'what', I think any genre can be handled interestingly with paint. I explore a certain theme in a series, be it still life or a sketching project or portraits. I try not to block myself with waiting for the great complex idea... This was why I was drawn to the daily painting movement in the first place. As long as I paint, explore the palette, and learn to use brushstrokes effectively, I am sure life will supply me with the subject. I believe that in the course of abundant painting, the interest in a certain narrower theme will crystallize as part of the natural process.

How do you keep art "fresh?" What techniques have helped you avoid burnout and keep your work vibrant and engaging?

The first brushstrokes are usually the most energizing , and every painting has the very best beginning while it's unrestrained and fluid. I strive to preserve the good parts but with every choice of brushstroke, the painting solidifies and tightens. Then there comes the dreaded moment when I realize I am just beating a dead horse. Cosmetic touch-ups just don't bring the painting back. It is always a very difficult decision to let go of the many hours of work and make some radical changes to breathe life back into the work. It is almost funny to me, after all the battles I fight on my own while painting, going from exhilaration to the depths of despair and back to triumph, losing and finding the right strokes, when I step out of the studio only to see the world just keeps turning like nothing has happened.

500 Faces 107
(click to see original image)

What do you feel you are learning about right now as an artist?

These past few years have marked the steepest learning curve in my entire life so far. I used to cringe thinking of art as 'business' before, and I still don't treat my work as a commodity even though I paint for a living. However, it is 'business' in the sense that there is more to the art practice than just painting in the studio: it means marketing, professional ethics, professional behavior, having the work organized and well-presented, looking for exposure opportunities, etc.

I have been learning a lot in the studio as well. My main challenge is to use more efficient brushstrokes, working with bigger brushes, filtering the information, deciding on what's relevant and what can be left out. Also, allowing myself to use good quality, professional-grade materials and art supplies, which are sometimes really expensive. It took a lot of time to accept that my work is worth it, it's not negotiable.

Another aspect of art practice that I am learning is patience. Like any other life pursuit, it is a character-building process. It starts with a leap of faith, but it needs daily fuel that might not always come from external validation. You have to grow and stretch your soul to find the internal motivation and sustain yourself emotionally through the many frustrations.

What makes you happiest about your art?

Being able to witness my own growth. Living a life that is so personal. Having a daily routine where my efforts are arranged around what I love doing the most. Knowing I am doing the right thing. Painting plein air when I have a chance, observing the change of light, the life and movement of natural elements. Finding supporters of my work, connecting with like-minded artists, making sales that nourish the hope. I can't overestimate the importance of all the grains of sincere encouragement that I encounter on the way.

Thank you for the opportunity to showcase my work on this really supportive and inspiring platform that is Daily Paintworks!

Thanks, Katya!

© 2014 Sophie Catalina Marine Cruse

Thursday, November 13, 2014

DPW Spotlight Interview: Barbara Haviland

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings.

To enter to win Barbara's painting, "Seascape" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing her interview.

From Barbara's DPW Gallery Page:

I have been creating fine art for over 38 years. I am mostly a self-taught, raw artist who draws inspiration from the world around me. I love bright, bold, rich colors and feel satisfied when someone can see the love I have put into the piece that I have created, whether it is a landscape, floral, portrait, or a seascape. I am married to Sam, my husband of 51 years. We have three grown children and five grandchildren. 


Seascape
(click here to see original image)

Enter to win by clicking on the link at the top of the DPW home page announcing Barbara's interview.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I first starting painting about 38 years ago after my father died. I painted because he was a painter of cars, houses and his refinery work. I have found that I truly love creating.

Did you have any stops and starts in your painting career?

No, but I did not paint everyday like I do now. I raised three children and worked at a bank.

Wildflowers Landscape
(click to see original image)

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I have worked with oils, watercolors and acrylics.

Which ones have "stuck" and which ones have fallen away? 

I have remained with the oils and acrylics and just recently started with watercolors again.

Guitar
(click to see original image)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring? 

I love painting with the palette knife using lots of textures and thick paint. I have been doing flowers with the knife. 

Who or what inspires you most?

My most favorite artists are ones that are traditional. My husband does support my art with his critiques and input.

What does procrastination look like for you? 

That is not in my vocabulary.

Red Truck in Snow
(click to see original image)

What techniques work to ensure that you make time for your art? 

Now that I am retired, I paint every single day on some painting. I teach and do workshops. I love that.

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings? 

I take lots of photos of the subjects I love. I also love still life and plein air.

Little Yellow Bird
(click to see original image)

How do you keep art "fresh?" What techniques have helped you avoid burnout and keep your work vibrant and engaging? 

I am always looking to try something different with my art. I will experiment with paints and knives. I am a very optimistic person and try very hard to be upbeat and positive.

What do you feel you are learning about right now as an artist? 

I am trying to learn from all the artists that I mingle with. I have met so very many nice and friendly people since I joined the groups that I belong to.

Two Red Poppies
(click to see original image)

What makes you happiest about your art? 

 I get really happy when people comment on my paintings and buy them.

Thanks, Barbara!

© 2014 Sophie Catalina Marine Cruse

Thursday, November 6, 2014

DPW Spotlight Interview: Michko Wyre

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings.

To enter to win Michko's painting, "Refreshing Canyon" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Michko's DPW Gallery page:

My main interest is traditional realistic landscape painting. I am a devotee of past American masters such as Sydney Laurence, Edward Wesson, Edgar Payne, Eustace Ziegler, Andrew Wyeth, John Carlson, Thomas Hill, William Keith, Albert Bierstadt and Ted Lambert. My love for the beauty of nature made me travel and live in many parts of Europe and North America. My preferred medium is acrylic. (click to read more)

Refreshing Canyon
(click to see original image)

Enter to win by clicking on the link at the top of the home page announcing Michko's interview.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

When I was kid, I remember keeping an empty chocolate box with a picture of mountains on it, a landscape that I loved watching over and over. When I grew older, I found out that the picture was a painting by Edgar Payne. The real support came from my parents, they used to encourage me and buy me all kinds of art supplies.

Did you have any stops and starts in your painting career?

I had many stops and starts. During my university years, I gave up on painting during my exams. Nevertheless, painting was part of my income to support my education expenses. Although I marketed my paintings most of the time, I always considered painting a hobby that I loved most, therefore stops and starts were frequent but brief.

Green Edge
(click to see original image)

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

All kinds of mediums; for me all mediums are pigments and they all work the same way. You see, when the art is good there is no need to worry about the medium. Sometimes I prefer a good drawing with pencil to an average oil painting. However, my favorite medium is acrylic because it gives me a beautiful dry chalk and the dazzling soft reflexes that I love. Sometimes I experiment with my own mediums by mixing acrylics with other water based mediums to give more excitement to my paintings.

Do you like plein air painting?

I love plein air, but most of the time I make the sketching of the composition using pencil or watercolor on the spot and take some pictures. I prefer to continue the true painting in my studio.

Heading Home
(click to see original image)

What is your favorite subject to paint?

I love painting mountains, but I don't mind any subject I feel inclined to paint. Here in Ontario, we don't have mountains so I have to rely mostly on photos. Although I have been to many parts of the world, I still prefer where I am and retrieve my references from the web.

Who or what inspires you most?

What really inspires me is the beauty of the nature itself and then the past American landscape masters such as Sydney Laurence, Edward Wesson, Edgar Payne, Eustace Ziegler, Andrew Wyeth, John Carlson, Thomas Hill, William Keith, Albert Bierstadt, Ted Lamber, etc.

Scary Road
(click to see original image)

What techniques work to ensure that you make time for your art?

I paint when I finish doing other things needed for the family and the kids. When painting, I like to listen to news, music or to radio talk shows.

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Ideas for painting come from everywhere: the internet, magazines, a scene I see while I am driving outside or watching a movie.

Observer
(click to see original image)

How do you keep art "fresh?" What techniques have helped you avoid burnout and keep your work vibrant and engaging?

I am inspired by artists of the past and I have a few of their books in my library. I also love the Southeast and its history.

What makes you happiest about your art?

When people appreciate my painting. I post my paintings on my Facebook regularly and sometimes on Wetcanvas. I love to read comments and feedback made by people and other painters about my work. Thank you Daily Paintworks!

Thanks, Michko!

© 2014 Sophie Catalina Marine Cruse

Thursday, October 23, 2014

DPW Spotlight Interview: Suzanne Paddock

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings.

To enter to win Suzanne's painting, "El Presidente" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Suzanne's DPW Gallery page:

Paddock's work focuses on the emotional threads triggered by relationships (intimate and public), memories, irony, loss and death.  She draws upon a variety of muses to create figures and skyscapes to convey real and fictional conversations.  While much of her work has been described as evocative and emotional, a lighter, more whimsical side can be seen especially in her animal portraits. (click to view gallery)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

First, thank you for selecting me for this interview.  Interest in my work and some of the things it entails is greatly appreciated.

I started painting as a teenager in art classes in high school.  Serious studies began when I majored in drawing and painting in college.  Oils attracted me because I felt a kind of endurance was needed to really understand and apply them successfully.  I knew they would take years to learn about and that was exciting.  It still is.

Did you have any stops and starts in your painting career?

I have had my share of stops and starts in my career as an artist.  There was even a short, difficult time in my life when I did not paint at all.  Ironically, creativity is a discipline and each one of us makes a conscious decision to pursue it and to commit to it.

El Presidente
(click to see original image)

Enter to win by clicking on the link at the top of the home page announcing Suzanne's interview.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

Besides oil and graphite, past medium experimentation includes charcoal, pen and ink, acrylic, and many years ago I briefly worked with Photoshop and Illustrator.  Right now I am exploring chalk pastels. I am not sure what to make of them just yet.  Genre experimentation includes expressionism, realism, surrealism, illustration, and very experimental abstract.

Which ones have "stuck" and which ones have fallen away?

Oil painting has become my focus and I work in an expressive narrative manner.  I do feel I am finally learning an appreciation for abstract, but I do not feel compelled to create in that way.

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I am looking forward to the chalk pastels. In the back of my mind is a little voice that keeps asking with glee, "What to do? What to do?"

Angel Pixie
(click to see original image)

Who or what inspires you most?

My inspiration has two main sources.  As far as technique, I am inspired by natural light.  It is something to puzzle over and contemplate again and again.  It creates color in the most amazing way and I am very aware of light when I am working.  Secondly, as far as subject matter, I am inspired by our uniquely human condition.  It is interesting to me that culture and society can create such tremendous differences between people and I am intrigued with creating visual narratives which instead show our universal connections.  The more evocative works reflect ruminations on loss, memory, and death.  The whimsical pieces speak to love, harmony, and humor.

What does procrastination look like for you?




















Seriously.

What techniques work to ensure that you make time for your art?

I don't make the time for my art; I take the time. It just needs to be done.

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

My work is generally a response or a connection I have found to an event, observation, conversation, or even an occasional dream.  I enjoy visual narrative and find myself recording in a visual way all the time.  So the idea for the actual image that I paint is created in my mind as my answer to whatever has caught my attention.  Sometimes it is very personal, and sometimes it is very humorous.  I feel art is communication. Why do we speak? How do we decide what to talk about and what words to use?

Stones on the Shore Block Island, RI
(click to see original image)

How do you keep art "fresh?" What techniques have helped you avoid burnout and keep your work vibrant and engaging?

I think my difficulty with focusing inadvertently keep my work fresh.  What some have called innovative, I would say is really just a natural restlessness.  I have different veins of thought I tapped into and they are extreme.  Going from one to the other helps avoid burn out.  A major way to stay engaging, I find, is to look at other people's art and be active in the local arts community.  It is another aspect of your career, and it keeps you in that creative zone as you interact with other artistic and refreshingly like-minded people.  Being able to talk to someone who completely understands when you freak out about a certain shade of blue, or you chatter on about textured paper is not only healthy for the creative psyche, it can feel life affirming. I can become very isolated in my studio and so sharing with other artists is very important.

Pillow Fight
(click to see original image)

What do you feel you are learning about right now as an artist?

Right now I am learning about strategy and commitment.  I am learning about which of my paintings make the strongest connections and why. I am involved in a couple of painting series that are pushing my ability to commit and endure in order to complete them.

Also too, as we all know, a career as an artist is so much more than creating works of art.  The tenacity, courage and confidence every artist has when in their studio can be applied to these other important aspects and I am steeped in figuring out that as well.  It should make for some great paintings.

Puba
(click to see original image)

What makes you happiest about your art?

What makes me happiest about my art is a responding viewer.  It does not matter if they love it or hate it; to have any reaction at all means I have made a connection.  A place for sharing and conversation has been created.

Thanks, Suzanne!

© 2014 Sophie Catalina Marine Cruse

Thursday, October 16, 2014

DPW Spotlight Interview: Susan Duda

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings.

To enter to win Susan's painting, "Party Cupcake" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Susan's DPW Gallery page:

I am constantly searching for beauty through my eyes and camera lens. Once I have captured the found beauty, then I can share it with you through my brush onto paper or canvas. (I also sell photo prints on my website.)

I have resided most of my life in the Sunshine State on the Gulf Coast as a fine artist and art instructor. I paint in my home studio in oil, acrylic, and watercolor mediums. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

During my childhood, I often enjoyed drawing and painting. When I was in the sixth grade, I saw Dali's "Absence of Time" painting on the cover of a magazine and I decided then that I was going to be an artist when I grew up. My mother was an artist also and she encouraged me with art supplies and my first easel. I was also fortunate to attend a high school that offered a vocational program of commercial art and I participated in three hour daily art classes for two years.

Party Cupcake
(click to see original image)

Enter to win by clicking on the link at the top of the home page announcing Susan's interview.

Did you have any stop and starts in your painting career?

I have survived lots of starts and stops during my painting career. For instance, having to work as manager of an art department and only being able to express ideas through directing others on how to do the actual artwork. I also worked as a photographer in photography studios which helped to satisfy my creative desires but left no energy to do any painting on the side. I was an art teacher for many years and during that period my personal art production suffered. I recently retired from instructing and in the first two weeks I produced ten paintings, so you might say I am back in the saddle.

What medium and genres have you experimented with?

I think I have worked in almost every medium throughout my artistic life. I have settled into working in watercolor, acrylic, oil and mixed media. I would say my favorite medium is watercolor and enjoy the challenge of the medium. My main genre is realism and any subject that piques my interest.

Spanish Eyes
(click to see original image)

Which ones have stuck and which ones have fallen away?

Actually, my watercolor painting has taken a backseat at this time because of the cost of mats and framing and I have been concentrating on acrylic or oil on canvas.  I have been involved in many years of alla prima portrait/figurative groups in the past, however, I am not participating in any currently.

Who or what inspires you most?

All of God's creation is a catalyst for my imagination to want to create. But because I live in Florida, I am inspired by the preponderance of it's beautiful landscapes, birds, flowers, sunsets. Still life is also something that inspires me; I enjoy setting up vignettes and photographing them, then painting from the photos. I don't have the space to leave them set up for days or paint quick enough to always work with them from life.

Fish Fry
(click to see original image)

What does procrastination look like for you?

I am the president of Florida's chapter of Procrastinators of America, however we have yet to decide when to have our first meeting.

What techniques work to ensure that you make time for your art?

Since I have retired from teaching art, I have tried to devote four hours a day, at least five days a week, to my painting. So far, it's working.

Grace Defined
(click to see original image)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I have thousands of photographs from years of shooting and I set up still life photo shoots at least once a week to add to inventory of photographs to choose from. My fiance is a professional nature photographer and we go out into nature to shoot regularly.

How do you keep art "fresh"? What techniques have helped you avoid burnout and keep your work vibrant and engaging?

I think my photography helps to diversify my mindset and painting. Also, I have a group of artist friends that meet monthly and we have a "Monthly Challenge" that we work on throughout each month. The challenge can be a particular technique, style, genre. In the evenings, instead of spending time watching TV, I watch videos of artist's painting techniques and research the masters' works.

Resplendent
(click to see original image)

What do you feel you are learning about right now as an artist?

At this juncture, just learning to use only large brushes and use an economy of brushstrokes more. I am also trying to be less precise about the details in my paintings; trying to let go and let loose.

What makes you happiest about your art?

To me art is about communication, I love that people understand what I am trying to communicate and allow me to share with them through my art.  It's a great joy when someone offers their hard earned money to purchase one of my paintings because it speaks to them. Teaching art used to be my mission, but now "my" painting is my passion and my mission.

Thanks, Susan!

© 2014 Sophie Catalina Marine Cruse