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

Thursday, October 9, 2014

DPW Spotlight Interview: Jacinthe Rivard

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

To enter to win Jacinthe's painting, "Merry-Go-Round" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Jacinthe's DPW Gallery page:

I am a French Canadian girl! When I am not busy painting commission portraits, I am either imagining my next painting, taking pictures for my next painting or painting my next painting! In my spare time, I'm a house wife and mother. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I've been drawing since I could hold a pencil in my hand but I started painting about twenty years ago in Fashion School. I was disappointed when I realized Fashion Design was a lot more sewing and a lot less drawing. So I learned the basic of watercolor in my weekly art class, and started painting before and after my school day. Watercolor never appealed to me very much, so I taught myself oil. But I would say that I really became a painter when I found the daily painters "way of life". It just made sense to me! I did not have the stress of painting a masterpiece, just a small piece of what I see every day. There was no pressure to perform!

Merry-Go-Round
(click to see original image)

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

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

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I stopped painting and started again the day she began kindergarten. Five years!! I don't think I realized how much I missed it until I sat back at my easel, smelled the oils... and cried. I knew I could never stay away that long again.

Last March, I decided to go back to work full time (sometimes I have crazy ideas like that), so I took a one year contract. I can't paint much, but I still find the time to do a few portraits. This year, I call myself a "weekend painter." I think I needed to find out if being a full time painter was really what I wanted. Sometimes, you just need to do a shot-down in order to restart better then ever!

What medium and genres have you experimented with?

I don't know why but I need to paint on a canvas.  So anything on paper is off my list, although I tried most of them. I sometimes use acrylics, but I always go back to oils. Oil is so forgiving! It's the Mother Teresa of medium! As to genres, I tried to experiment with different ones but I felt like an impostor... I'll stick with mine (whatever it is) until I master it and then I might try again. That's the exciting part of being an artist, I never know what kind of artist I'll be next year!

Texting
(click to see original image)

Which ones have stuck and which ones have fallen away?

Oil stuck. Watercolor was cruel to me. Pastel was too messy. Acrylic is sometimes my friend.
I actually don't know what my genre is... I just paint things as I see them the only way I know how.  I sometimes wish I was more like this painter, or that artist, but then I remember that people actually spend their hard earned money on my paintings - they like the way I paint. That helps me accept that I'm good in my genre!

Who or what inspires you most?

Faces! Faces are the most beautiful thing I can think of painting. I can't explain it. I could paint my daughter every day of the week but I realize it's not what most would hang on their living room wall. So I paint everything else I find pretty in this world, and everything, in the right light, right angle or cropping, has the potential to be a work of art. Even the bearded lady from the circus!

Manou
(click to see original image)

What does procrastination look like for you?

I never feel I HAVE to paint, therefore I don't think I've ever procrastinated in my art career.

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

Getting everyone out of the house and calling my cleaning lady. That's my technique!

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I do a lot of commission portraits and I love it. But if I'm free to paint what I want, I get my inspiration from pictures I take, Pinterest, other artists... I usually don't have to think much because even if I lived to be one hundred years old, I would not have the time to paint everything in my "painting idea" folder! I truly think everything is worth painting if you can find the right tone, shade and color!

Casanova
(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 really think that what keeps my art fresh is this daily painting community. I see what others do and I want to contribute. I want to be just as good as the best of them! It drives me to try more difficult subjects, to outdo myself and take chances. I love the weekly challenges Daily Paintworks gives us! They take me by surprise and bring me out of my comfort zone. It reminds me that there's something else other then faces and blue boxes to paint. What also drives me is my ultimate goal, to someday teach. When I was a little girl and people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always said I wanted to be an artist or a teacher. I swear it only dawned on me recently that I might get to be both at the same time! There is no better motivation than that!

Solar Energy
(click to see original image)

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

I am learning everything still! I love that I'm only a fraction of what I will be next year if I don't close myself up to learning. Right now, in the middle of my "sabbatical year," I'm learning to reflect about my art and I'm learning about the values I want to have as an artist.

What makes you happiest about your art?

This is my idea of a perfect day:

I'm in my studio with the sun shining in. I listen to the same CD's that have been in my CD player for years. Bruno Mars, Jewel and Kenny Rogers. I'm painting something I've never painted before and I'm nailing it! When it's done, my husband and my daughter come home, praise my work and actually make me believe it. Then, someone loves my art enough that they want to own it! All THAT is what makes me happy!!!!

Thanks, Jacinthe!

© 2014 Sophie Catalina Marine Cruse

Thursday, October 2, 2014

DPW Spotlight Interview: Laura Buxo

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

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

From Laura's DPW Gallery page:

Creating art has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. Traditionally, my paintings have been on the larger size. However, I have found that creating a small painting almost every day gives me the opportunity to explore design, color and style without fear. Most of all, I try to have fun and not get too serious about the process or my subject. I hope you enjoy watching my journey! Please let me know what you think. Laura is represented by the Artists Guild Gallery of Greenville in Greenville South Carolina.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

As a child, I loved paint-by-number kits. In school, I took every art class available. But what really started my journey was buying my first art book, “Watercolor, You Can Do It!” by Tony Couch.

Blueberries and Melon
(click to see original image)

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

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

I painted off and on during my career in the computer software industry. When I left the corporate world in the early 2000’s, it was my “now or never” moment. I had always wanted to be an artist so I decided it was NOW!

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

My initial focus was watercolor, painting landscapes and seascapes. I love the loose washes and interactions of colors you can only get with watercolor. Oil is my current medium, painting alla prima.

Bowl Full
(click to see original image)

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

Both watercolor and oil have continued to “stick” with me.

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I am not sure where my journey will lead me. I am fascinated by mixed media and encaustics. However, I feel that I still have so much to learn with my current mediums that I do not see a jump anytime soon.

Who or what inspires you most?

The effect of light on an object intrigues me. Making the flat canvas appear to hold the three dimensional subject is my challenge. There are so many wonderful artists that inspire me. Two off the top of my head are John Singer Sargent and Richard Schmid.

Nosey Birds
(click to see original image)

What does procrastination look like for you?

My computer can be a time vampire. It is a great aid in viewing other artist's work and can be a source of inspiration. It can also steal valuable painting time.

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

I paint first thing in the morning, after taking the dogs for a walk and having breakfast, but before getting involved in any other activities.

Afternoon Tea
(click to see original image)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Ideas come from my everyday life, flowers from my garden, pets, local landscapes and items in the grocery store. Being a member of DPW has been a wonderful source for ideas and encourages me to stretch my abilities.

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

My paintings are either still life setups in my studio, plein air excursions, or photo references from family trips. As with most artists, I get bored very easily. Changing between studio and outside painting helps to keep me excited in this journey.

End of Red
(click to see original image)

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

Let go, paint loose and above all, have fun!

What makes you happiest about your art?

Just painting makes me happy. I do get a thrill when my plain, white, flat canvas magically transforms into a subject hit by light. And all I had to do is place just the right color in just the right place. Sounds easy, right?

Thanks, Laura!

© 2014 Sophie Catalina Marine Cruse