Friday, May 18, 2018

DPW Spotlight Interview: Patti Tapper

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings. To enter to win Patti's painting, "My Mother's Pastry Cutter" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Patti's DPW Gallery:

Somebody once told me, "Your hands are never still." It's true. I began painting at seven, initially with pastel and then oil. I continued through college, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Since then I spend my time appreciating the beauty in the world and translating my sense of awe into my artwork. I enjoy working with a variety of materials and my studio is a kaleidoscope of color and pattern with inspiration everywhere you look!
(click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting. 

I started painting in kindergarten, the same time I began my life of crime. It was 1957 in Toledo Ohio and I was splatter painting and all of a sudden I found myself in the principal’s office with my mother there! Apparently, the teacher had hung her sweater on the door knob behind my easel and my innovative technique resulted in her sweater being painted as well! That is a true story…

Anyway, my love of painting started when I was a young child and my mother took me to the Toledo Museum of Art to take classes. After that, she found a wonderful teacher for me by the name of Daniel Passino. Every Monday night from 6:30 to 8:30 she would take me to his studio and I learned to paint with pastels and then with oils. The rest of the class were adults, but I don’t remember feeling shy or awkward because we all were sharing the joy of learning to paint. I studied with Dan until I graduated high school and left for college to study painting and art history at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.

My Mother's Pastry Cutter
(click to view)

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

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

There was an interval in my life when I stopped painting. After I graduated from college, I put down my brushes and began my career with Jacobson’s Stores in fine jewelry. I began in sales, then management and then buying, which turned out to be a wonderful career. I moved from Toledo, Ohio to Dearborn, Michigan where I trained as an assistant buyer and then lead buyer for their seventeen fine jewelry salons in Michigan, Ohio and Florida. It was on one of my buying trips to New York that I met my future husband and love of my life, Steven Tapper. Following my marriage, I reluctantly ended my career with Jacobson’s due to the distance factor between my home and their corporate offices. We were blessed with three wonderful children and while raising them, I went back to my artwork, spending time painting as well as teaching art privately. I enjoyed my high school students but my most rewarding classes were those that I offered to adults who had never previously made art. Once they relaxed in the non judgmental atmosphere of my studio they fell in love with their own creativity. Guiding them through the process, I learned as much from them as they did from me.

Spring
(click to view)

What mediums and genres have you experimented with? Which ones have "stuck" and which ones have fallen away? 

I have always been a lover of “creating” so naturally that has led me on many adventures with various mediums. The colors and patterns of fabrics thrills my sensibility. I make quilts, clothing and handbags and spend hours drooling over my collection of fabrics. I have studied mosaics and jewelry making. I am a certified precious metal clay instructor and love the process of making a material that is so malleable into shiny polished metal. I love to knit and spent some time knitting fine silver wire and pearls into bracelets, earrings and necklaces. I love creating with whatever medium suits me at the time and I am fortunate to have a large studio, so I keep all of my supplies and materials from all my different pursuits close at hand in case that muse calls to me. Although I have painted in acrylics for the past thirty years, several months ago I had a longing for the terrible smell of turpentine and decided to paint in oils as well. I told you that I have a big studio, right? Thankfully there is a doorway that allows ventilation as well as a view of my little perennial garden just outside the door.

Through the Glass
(click to view)

Who or what inspires you most?

The internet has changed my sources of inspiration three fold. I used to be inspired either by artists that I had studied in my art history books or in the exhibits that I would see here in Michigan or in New York. Now on a daily basis, I find oodles of inspiration from paintings that I would’ve been unlikely to come across before. Once a painting catches my eye, I look up the artist and find more inspiration often in their blogs or sometimes, if available, in their workshops. I have been so lucky to study pastel with Wolf Kahn in Connecticut, cold wax technique with James Scherbarth in Minnesota, abstract painting with Steven Aimone in Maine last July and this summer flower painting with Dawn Stafford, a painter that I have admired at Ox Bow in Michigan. I have traveled and painted in France several times in my life, marveling at the fields of lavender and experiencing the gardens in full bloom at Giverny. These are just a few of the places and people that have kept my juices going!

Pomegranate with Muffin Tin
(click to view)

Curiosity has always been key for me in generating my creativity on a daily basis. I work as a visual merchandiser three days a week. That means I make displays for our jewelry stores. Generating new ideas and putting the materials together is very energizing. Most of the time I am working in shadow boxes and store windows so it is a lot like a three dimensional canvas. I love to pursue new techniques and am constantly trying new materials. This spring I have created an actual magical forest in each window, with jeweled insects and little creatures, sharing the space with beautiful necklaces, bracelets and rings.

When discussing my inspiration I must mention my actual studio because it is bursting with all of the things that I love. Drawers of colorful beads, jars of tiles in every hue, objects that I have collected or been given, colorful glass vases and printed bowls as well as different painted papers, maps and old letters for collage. I also have a lot of old photos of loved ones, as a reminder of the richness of the journey. My shelves are overflowing with books about every facet of making art and the creative process. There’s a worn very comfortable arm chair to relax in as well as music to listen to and generally I am joined by my beloved companion, Luna, our golden shepherd. Once I head down the stairs to my studio, and pass the sign “No Worries Allowed” I have entered a different world, mine.

Still Life with Red Cup
(click to view)

What makes you happiest about your art?

My happiness with my art comes from the way that I see the world with an “artist’s eyes”. My mantra has always been “live a colorful life”. I am very grateful for the beauty that I see often in the ordinary things in my daily world. The way that the light falls across the winter landscape creating more lavenders and grays than you could imagine. Or how a few oranges on my kitchen counter become worthy just by the way the sunlight makes them glow.

My most recent still life paintings are created from a different perspective or viewpoint in order to accentuate the forms and the patterns of light and shadows. I create very elaborate drawings which allow me to become familiar with my subject before I pick up my brushes. Lately I have taken up the challenge of adding patterned fabric and colored glass objects to my set ups. I love figuring out the best way to approach the painting, often thinking backwards to solve the challenge. It gives me great pleasure to receive a complement on one of my paintings. I love selling my work and thinking about the joy that it will bring to another person’s world.

Thanks, Patti!

© 2018 Sophie Marine

Thursday, May 10, 2018

DPW Spotlight Interview: Bobbie Cook

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings. To enter to win Bobbie's painting, "Cups Challenge" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.


Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

Artwork is a form of expression that I am comfortable with sharing. It has served me well as a student, a biologist, a teacher, and a parent. Now that I am in what most people would call retirement age I wanted to become more serious about oil painting specifically. Because I knew very little about how to get started I became a weekly participant at a local open studio. The owner/artist of the studio provides everything a person needs in almost any medium you want to try. This was my informal introduction to oil painting.

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

I have really only been painting for about seven years. The first four years I would only paint in preparation for a class. Painting sporadically like that was not conducive to learning. Then I discovered Daily Paintworks when I bought a painting on eBay from a DPW member. Soon after that I bought Carol Marine’s book and decided to join DPW myself. The almost daily practice is how I have really been learning to paint.

Cups Challenge
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I love working with oils and will continue learning as much as I can with this medium. As for genres, I seem willing to try just about anything. However, my favorites are outside scenes and wild animals.

Who or what inspires you most? 

Everyday life experiences inspire me. Most of what I paint is connected to my past or present experiences or experiences of those I am closely connected to like family or friends. I often think when I look at my collection of paintings that it is like a journal.

The Magic of Fireweed
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you? 

Procrastination is when my mind is so busy that I can no longer prioritize what I need to do. This happens when I slack off on my daily chores like housework, yard work, grocery shopping, etcetera. When this happens I just need to take time off from painting and declutter my life.

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

Routines work well for me when it comes to working around my family. Weekdays are easy because I spring into action once everyone has left the house. I like to get my blood flowing by first exercising. Then I head up to my studio which is a loft in the peak of our A-frame house. I give myself myself two hours to paint a panel that I have previously under painted. I set a timer in my kitchen so that I am forced to walk away from my painting for a quick break and to reset the timer. The timer really helps me set parameters and to maintain focus. Weekends are another story. Sometimes I will paint if there is a quiet time, otherwise I will do several under paintings, or not paint at all.

Leaving Girdwood
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings? 

In general I like to paint what I am surrounded by outside whether it be at home, or traveling. I have trained myself to take reference pictures on a regular basis. If I have the time I will sit and draw in a journal. I am always surprised how much a drawing enhances a future painting.

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

I find it hard to burn out when I have so much to learn and so many new things to try. However, I do get discouraged at times and feel like I am not making any progress. This is when I go to galleries and museums to view other peoples work. I also like to check out what is going on in current art magazines. Somehow viewing the artwork of others inspires me to get back into my studio with great energy.

Thinking of Spring
(click to view)

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

Color is something I am experimenting with right now. One method I have been enjoying is to start a painting with only translucent paints and then finish it with opaque paints. The other thing that I am working on is muting color to better define landscapes.

What makes you happiest about your art?

People always ask how is it that I can sell or give away my paintings. Then I think about what a mess it would be if I kept them all. I find a greater joy in the process of painting than in the product of painting. Besides, it is wonderful when someone makes a special connection to a painting that they feel they must have as part of their life story.

Foil Crane
(click to view)

Thanks, Bobbie!

© 2018 Sophie Marine

Thursday, May 3, 2018

DPW Spotlight Interview: Juli Rodgers

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings. To enter to win Juli's painting, "Giant Lemon" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Juli's DPW Gallery:

I live in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a gorgeous place to be an artist. When I was a child growing up in the Midwest, my siblings and I were always immersed in a love and appreciation of nature. That has formed the basis for my artistic endeavors, and some of my favorite subjects to paint are birds, animals (especially horses), and insects. I work mostly in oil and colored pencil.

While I have been involved in some way with art for many years, I have only recently started painting regularly. I was inspired by Carol Marine's book, "Daily Painting", and find the process has given me a remarkable structure for getting my creativity out into the world.

I would like those who view my work to experience an emotional and sensory connection to the incredible beauty of the natural world.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

As a child, I was very interested in making art.  My mother was an artist and was always encouraging my siblings and me in creative projects.  After becoming an adult, I lost my connection to art until the late 1990’s when I contracted a life-threatening illness.  During my recovery, I rediscovered my love of art, and began painting landscapes in pastel and watercolor.

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

I did have stops and starts.  In 2003 I began a series of mandalas (circular repeating images) in colored pencil using elements of nature, such as birds, insects and flowers.  There was an intense and spiritual aspect to this process and when the series was finished, it was difficult for me to move on to another project.  In 2009 I moved from Houston, TX to Santa Fe, NM.   I was so inspired by the landscape, I started painting again in pastel.  After several years came another blocked period.  This seemed to be related to some feelings of overwhelm about how to produce and then market the complex paintings that were in my imagination.  In 2016 I found Carol Marine’s book on daily painting and the idea of small, quick paintings resonated strongly with me as a way to go forward again with my art.

Giant Lemon
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I have worked in watercolor, gouache, pastel, graphite colored pencil, and now in oil.  Besides landscapes I have painted still life, figures studies, portraits and botanical studies. I am fascinated with “nature journaling” but haven’t been able so far to go beyond the concern about ruining a beautiful journal with pages that are not “perfect”.

Which ones have stuck and which ones have fallen away?

I am currently working mainly in colored pencil and oil.  I love pastel painting and hope to get back to that.  I also love the process and effects of watercolor, but now I use it mostly as underpainting for colored pencil.

Mandarin Orange
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I am looking forward to continuing to improve and expand my oil painting skills.  My newest subjects are animals, especially horses.  I live in a somewhat rural area with lots of wildlife – coyotes, bobcats, elk, deer and so many birds.  I want to paint them all!  I am particularly excited about painting horses.  Several years ago I bought one of my own, and in addition to art, he is one of the great joys of my life.   I am also planning to paint landscapes in oil.  The skies, the light and high desert landscape are incredibly beautiful here in New Mexico.

Who or what inspires you most? 

Nature in all its myriad expressions is what inspires me the most.  There are also several artists who I find inspiring - Duane Keiser, who founded the daily painting movement is one.  I admire the incredible horse paintings of Jill Soukup, a Colorado artist.  Albert Handell, is also an inspiration.  He paints beautiful landscapes in pastel and oil.  He is in his eighties and still goes out to paint plein air.

Lemons and Grapes
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you? 

Wow – that’s a difficult topic for me.  It’s too easy for me to give into distractions and also allow others to intrude upon my painting schedule.  There’s also the voice in my head whispering “Painting is too hard”, or “You’ll never be good enough”, and other discouraging comments.

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

I’ve designated certain hours in the afternoon as “painting time”.  Recently I’ve started turning off my phone during this time.  Also, I try to make sure I take care of tasks such as cleaning brushes and palettes outside of these hours.  Finally, I try to remember how much I love painting, and to turn down the volume on my critical voice.

Blue Jay
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings? 

Ideas for paintings seem to frequently flood my brain.  I try to write them down so that they’re not lost, but it’s sometimes frustrating that many may go unpainted.

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

I try to avoid getting stuck painting only what I know over and over.  I want to move out of my comfort zone and into uncharted territory once I feel some mastery over an idea or technique.  I can’t say this is easy, as it’s always more comfortable to stay with what is familiar, but it’s also exciting to explore the unknown. 

Palomino
(click to view)

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

I’m finally learning to listen less to my “Inner Critic”, and recognize that producing good art comes with much practice, and producing many “bad” paintings.

What makes you happiest about your art? 

When I’m painting or drawing, I feel I’m in the present moment and really connected to my subject. I’m very happy when I can convey an emotion that captures this feeling of connection.

Thanks, Juli!

© 2018 Sophie Marine

Thursday, April 26, 2018

DPW Spotlight Interview: Gail G. Slockett

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings. To enter to win Gail's painting, "Another Sunflower Painting" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Gail's DPW Gallery:

My interest in art was sparked over forty years ago when I was a theater production major in college and an aspiring scene painter. But life had other plans for me and more than twenty-five years passed before my passion was reignited. I worked first with pencil, then charcoal and pastels, and finally oils, while also trying my hand at portraits, figures, still life and landscapes.

I find that what inspires me the most is not so much the subject, as it is the drama that lies within. Whether it is a compelling story, an intriguing expression, or a beautiful play of light and shadow, I am always looking for that emotional response. My works have won numerous awards and have been exhibited throughout New York City and North Jersey. Many are in private collections. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I first picked up a paintbrush in 1973.  I was at Carnegie Mellon University majoring in Theater Production and was assigned to a scene painting crew.  I loved it and I was convinced I wanted to do this for the rest of my life.  That lasted about six years before I changed paths again.  However, during that time, I had to take a test to join the Scenic Artists Union and one of the requirements was to paint a landscape.  I was good at painting faux wood and marble and stenciling wall paper and making a flat piece of scenery look three dimensional, but I knew nothing about fine art.  I even attended classes at the Art Students’ League in New York for a month or two.  But life got in the way and it wasn’t until the 1990’s, when my children were in school, that I thought about taking art lessons again.  I started drawing with pencil, moved on to charcoal and pastel and then finally to oils.  As soon as I picked up a brush, I was hooked all over again.

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

I didn’t have any stops and starts since I started drawing classes twenty years ago, but I didn’t really get serious about my painting until rather recently.  When my children were grown and out of the house, I set up a studio, spent more time in classes, and traveled to workshops.  In the past, painting was just something I did when I had the time.  Now it is something I want to do all the time!

Another Sunflower Painting
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

When I was in college, I did some watercolor copies of my favorite Andrew Wyeth paintings.  When I returned to art in the 90’s I started drawing portraits in pencil and charcoal, and then soft and oil pastels.  Working from photographs, I did a series of drawings called Portraits in Courage. I was inspired by those who had experienced hardship and loss yet had endured and grown stronger.  I wanted to show the wisdom that was written in their faces.  Feeling confident enough in my drawing skills I started painting figures in oils, but only in blacks, whites, and grays.  I did a series of 30” X 40” paintings, entitled The Park Bench, depicting people from all walks of life as they took a break from their busy lives.  Eventually I moved on to color and worked from live models.  Now I am concentrating mostly on still life and trying my hand at landscape and plein air.  I have taken a few pastel classes too, but I always go back to oils.

Which ones have “stuck” and which ones have fallen away?

I am deathly afraid of watercolors now.  I love that oils can be reworked at any time long after they are signed and considered finished.  I have paintings framed and hanging on my walls that I revisit years later.  Watercolors are much less forgiving.  I tried acrylics for about six months and hated it.  I didn’t like the feel and flow of the paint and I couldn’t get used to how fast they dry.  It just frustrated me.

When I started drawing I only did portraits.  But I worked primarily from photographs and now I don’t find that satisfying.  Although I still enjoy painting from live models, I like the control of the shapes and composition, and the play of light and shadow that I have when painting still life. 

Baby Bok Choy
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

Landscapes, seascapes, and snowscapes are my current challenge and I want to spend more time painting plein air, rather than from photo references.  I would also like to try abstracting the landscape and I am interested in learning how to use a palette knife for more than just detail at the end.  I love the look of pastels and am often tempted to try them again.  Color mixing with pastels is so different from oils that it’s almost like learning a new language. 

Who inspires you most?

The work of Patty Nebbeling, my teacher at the Ridgewood Art Institute in NJ, inspires me to loosen up and simplify.  Peter Fiore, a landscape painter whose workshops I have taken, inspires me with his brilliant use of color.  John MacDonald, another landscape artist and teacher, inspires me with his beautifully atmospheric paintings.  I find inspiration from many contemporary still life and plein air painters, such as Qiang Huang, Neil Carroll, Kathie Odom, Nancy Tankersley and Roger Dale Brown.  I love the masters.  I am particularly drawn to the drama of light and shadow of Rembrandt and the freedom and color of Cezanne and Van Gogh.  And just about everything in Sargent’s paintings. 

Bouquet of Roses
(click to view)

What inspires you most?

I am always intrigued by the play and drama of light and shadow on a still life or landscape.  But sometimes it is the lack of contrast and the more tonal, monochromatic setting that inspires me.  Other times it’s the colors or the strong shapes and values that attract me.

What is your mental preparation for painting?

I don’t have any preparation protocol, but I listen to books on my ipod while I paint.  I always make sure I have something riveting to listen to.  Right now it’s “The Alice Network”, about women spies in WWI and WWII.  It’s very good!

What does procrastination look like for you? 

I think I do more daily procrastinating than I do daily painting.  I am getting better however.  I find it most difficult if I am starting something new and don’t have a plan.  Once I am working on something I find it much easier to get going.

Persimmons
(click to view)

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

For me it is like going to the gym; once I have my gym clothes on and I walk out to the car I will go and work out.  I just have to get myself into the studio.  Once I am there the hours fly by and the next thing I know it is evening, I am exhausted, and it’s time for dinner.

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Every Wednesday I am in a class where the teacher generally assembles half a dozen setups to choose from.  I might tweak them a little.  Sometimes a piece of fruit or flower she has brought in will inspire me and I will do my own composition.  At home I work from photos.  Lately I am concentrating on landscapes and seascapes from photos I have taken during my sailing trips.  Many times I will see another artist’s work and it will remind me of a photo reference I have but didn’t think could be a good painting.  That will inspire me to find that photo and give it a shot.  This past summer I started painting plein air from the back of our sailboat, painting whatever scene is in front of me at the time.  It’s always paint worthy!

Roses in Silver Vase
(click to view)

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

I haven’t experienced burnout yet, possibly because I am always learning and trying new things.  Painting landscapes is new for me, and I am just starting to paint en plein air.  Recently I started using a palette knife whenever possible and I am experimenting with making my style looser and more painterly.  If I feel like a particular painting is bringing me down I will put it aside and paint something else. 

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

I am striving to learn how to simplify and loosen up and know what to leave in and what to leave out.  I think that is the essence of a successful painting.  I am also learning that photo references can only take you so far.  You need the experience of painting from life to be able to interpret and extrapolate the information in a photo and turn it into a work of art.  That seems especially true of landscapes.   

What makes you happiest about your art?

I am happiest when I am learning or trying something new.  I love exploring.  I also must admit that I am most happy when my efforts culminate in a successful painting.  And I am ecstatic when someone else is moved by my work and loves it enough to put it in their personal collection! 

Thanks, Gail!

© 2018 Sophie Marine

Thursday, April 19, 2018

DPW Spotlight Interview: Anna Sakhanchuk

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings. To enter to win Anna's painting, "Milk Jug" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Anna's DPW Gallery:

I live in Saint-Peterburg in Russia, where I grew up, but ​I was born in the ancient town of Cesis in Soviet Latvia two years before the collapce of USSR. I always loved to draw but never took it seriously, because my family convinced me that there is no point to aspire to it as a profession, as I wouldn't make a living. Just like so many young people before me, I blindly trusted the judgement of my parents and got the profession they wanted me to. It turns out their choice was not the best one and couldn't bring me money nor happiness. I constantly had a feeling that I was waisting my life. Two years ago I decided that I postponed my vocation way too long and went to a local amateur art school. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting. 

Probably just like everyone, I had some attempts at art during my school years. Actually, some level of painting and drawing was obligatory for my first school. I'd been studying at Waldorf school up to the last four grades. This education system strives to emphasize imagination in the learning process through artistic and intellectual development of pupils. I don't remember ever using textbooks except for grammar and maths there. All the possible illustrations and schemes for history, physics, you name it, we used to draw in our copybooks by ourselves under the supervision of our teacher. We even had a subject where it was our home work to paint several illustrations about some part of a story that was read to us. Sometimes I think that I remember information learned in that school better because I had to paint most of it.

Unfortunately my Waldorf school was closed and I went to state school where I was pressed by my parents to get serious and chose a normal profession, even though by that time I started considering becoming an illustrator. But well, I listened to my family as I sincerely believed that they were the wise adults and knew what was best for me. The next time I started to think about drawing again was only when I got married. I'd been looking through CG illustrations for some months, some were too beautiful to even think about that level of mastery, others were painted by amateurs, but nice nonetheless. At one point, after watching another tutorial I thought: how much longer am I going to just look? I needed to try it myself. Seeing my interest, my husband made me a Christmas present - a tiny drawing tablet. At the beginning it was an awkward experience, but I still keep the very first picture I painted on it, it is absolutely terrible.

After several months of playing with this new toy, something nice started to come out of it. It was fun and I became thoroughly engrossed in CG painting, but my works were lacking. I'd been enthusiastically stumbling in the dark without any understanding. So after two years of painting on the computer in my free time, I resigned and found an art school not far from my work. I started from the basics and found that I feel extremely motivated when I pay for my own education. I had surprisingly fast progress in pencil drawing and after some thirty lessons my teacher started to nudge me to try first watercolor and then oil. So I would say that officially my oil painting started only two years ago.

Milk Jug
(click to view)

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


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

I feel that currently I'm in the very beginning of my painting career and as my art finally started to bring some money I doubt that my very supportive husband would give me any chance to stop.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with? 

I started with gouache and crayons at primary school, then moved to watercolor pencils and watercolor washes. Without any art education I was free to happily mix watercolor with gouache and thoroughly enjoyed it, fortunately I don't know where these works went. Tried pastels and acrylics for a few months. I love painting people on the computer but have never tried it with oil. Returning to watercolors after painting on the computer was a humbling experience. I started to paint flowers because ten years ago, when my mum asked me to paint red roses on her wall they turned out more like tomatoes, so I decided to learn it finally.

Coral Peony
(click to view)

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

Of course I still make sketches in pencil, I like to spend an evening painting something on my iPad. Currently, I'm striving to master oil. I feel like I like to look at watercolors more than I enjoy painting them. Others have fallen away.

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring? 

I would like to play a bit with acrylics this summer, maybe do some studies in my garden and in the forest. Also I want to try figurative painting, though I'm not sure that I'm ready for it.

Red Oranges
(click to view)

Who or what inspires you most? 

Nature and countless wonderful artists. I'm in love with academic painters of 19th century, charmed with contemporary American realism painters and I am in constant awe of CG artists.

What does procrastination look like for you? 

I'm not able to make myself paint in the morning. I only managed it at art school and just because my teacher worked in the first part of the day. Several times a week I promise myself that I'll start at least at noon, but in the end I find a dozen seemingly important chores, interesting articles in the internet, can't stop reading that story or weather is too good to miss, and as a result I drag myself to my workplace around 5 o'clock.

Redcurrant
(click to view)

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

Interesting audio books help a lot, otherwise my thoughts tend to stray and I go search for the answers online. I'm not able to do anything while listening to audio books so it is a perfect combination with painting for me. Also my husband is so supportive that he doesn't let me be overcome by my laziness.

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings? 

I may see some beautiful fruit in the supermarket and buy it just for painting. Once I bought just one small plum because it had a nice leaf attached. I like to walk through the forest with my camera and visit botanical gardens. I love to paint from life, but quite often I make a photo for future use because at the given moment I may not have time or enough skills for it. Some photos I find in the internet, but I rarely like painting from them, it is too difficult to find something that feels right to me.

Red Onion with a Pearl Tomato
(click to view)

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

When I get frustrated I change the subject or the medium. From time to time I can't stand painting at all, usually a day of different activities helps. Last autumn when I went camping on Ladoga islands I took with me everything for painting and just felt that I didn't want to paint, so I spent two days just laying on the rocks and gathering berries. But by the second night I started to sketch the moon road and a boat on the back of my book despite the lack of light.

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

I feel like I'm at the bottom of my ladder and the skills I want are somewhere around the moon. Right now I would like to learn looser technique and the one with the pallet knife, also I need to work on my volume and I strive to understand the composition.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I love the process of creation, but the second best part is when my works find a new home and I get feedback. I'm not very interested in my paintings after I finish them, but it brings me real joy to know that they made somebody happy.

Thanks, Anna!

© 2018 Sophie Marine

Thursday, April 12, 2018

DPW Spotlight Interview: Nelia Harper

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings. To enter to win Nelia's painting, "Across the Pond" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Nelia's DPW Gallery:

Nelia Harper is a landscape painter who seeks to capture the aesthetic beauty of nature, and create an intimate connection between the viewer and the natural world.

A life-long creator, Nelia has engaged in artistic expression through photography, collage, and paper and fiber arts, before committing to painting with formal training. Her education began with college level drawing courses and continued under the instruction of Janeen Schissler, at the Schissler Academy of Fine Arts in Loveland, Colorado, where she worked primarily in pastel.

Intrigued by the properties of pure pigment and the historical use in the Renaissance style of painting, she then studied the technique of egg tempera under Koo Schadler at the Sedona Arts Center. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.


Well, like a lot of people I know, I loved to draw and paint when I was a kid.  I remember my mom subscribed to a magazine that had pictures of paintings – I think it was called Victorian.  Anyway, I would look at paintings by Monet and The Impressionists. I remember thinking, “I want to be like that when I grow up.”  I thought it was so adventurous and romantic.

But, like many artists I know, I dropped the idea of art and painting.  I went to college and then found a 'real job' that would 'pay off'. 

Then, while I was on vacation in Paris, I remember standing in front of a painting in the Musee D’Orsay thinking, “How do they do that? I need to learn how that do that.”  The feeling was overwhelming.  I remember looking at the dabs of color on the canvas and stepping back to see a complete image.  How did they make it looks so real?  I wanted to step into those paintings.  I knew there had to be a way to learn, and even if I wasn’t any good at painting, I could still have fun learning.

So, I took a six week acrylic painting course, and I was hooked.  From there, I decided to take a drawing course at our local community college.  After that, I kept taking classes and workshops.  I joined a plein air group and worked on my own too.  It was almost exactly six years ago that I took that first painting class, and my interest in painting and art has only grown since then.

Across the Pond
(click to view)

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

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

Well, I’ve really just gotten started in my painting career, and I hope to keep going. 


What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I’ve worked in a variety of mediums: oil, pastel, egg tempera, gouache, watercolor, graphite, charcoal, acrylic, ink, markers… I’ve done a little experimenting with abstract painting and illustration.


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

Oil has definitely stuck.  It’s easy to use, transportable, and versatile.  I paint regularly in pastel, sometimes using a watercolor or oil underpainting, and egg tempera.  Watercolor is mainly reserved for travel journals and painting with my nieces and nephews.  It sounds strange to say when the other mediums take more time, but I just don’t seem to have the patience for watercolor.

In Your Embrace
(click to view)


Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

As I get better at color mixing and drawing, I hope to paint in egg tempera more frequently. Even though it’s incredibly time consuming, it is such a luminous medium, and I enjoy making my own supports and building up layer after layer. 

Who or what inspires you most?

I would have to say nature inspires me the most.  It’s so easy to take nature for granted.  Looking at a sunset, the shapes of clouds, the incredible colors in a bird’s feather, the variety of trees, flowers, landforms, and of course people.  Everything comes from nature.  We forget that we are part of nature and the endless creation of life. When I think about what it takes to create and support life on this planet, I’m endlessly amazed and intrigued by the diversity that nature provides.

Snow Day
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

That’s easy (laughs).  Being busy!  I joke that my favorite form of procrastination is “productive procrastination”.  I can always find a project in the garden or around the house that needs to be done.  And, I’m forever organizing my studio to make room for my next project. 

I converted a small basement bedroom into a studio.  There’s just enough room for me, a canvas, painting supplies, a table, and some tools.  It feels like I’m constantly putting things away to make room for the next painting project. 

If that fails, there’s always a good book to read, an art show, a plein air paintout, a new technique to read about or watch on YouTube, or supplies to research and buy, not to mention looking at artwork on Instagram.


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

My favorite technique is agreeing to participate in a show with fellow artists.  That seems to get the fire going more than anything.  We have a strong art community in our area.  So, typically we have to reserve space for a show at least a year in advance. 

Because I am showing my artwork along with artist friends, we are always working to improve our skills and show off for each other.  And, we all paint en plein air together.  Every Friday, our plein air group paints together at a set location.  Sometimes we’ll paint together on other days too.  Getting outside with friends is always a good motivator to paint.

I also like to submit my work to juried shows at least 2-3 times a year.  Knowing that I have a show to prepare for keeps me busy in the studio.  Having friends to paint with keeps me painting outside and motivated for the next show.

And, I have a couple of music playlists on Spotify (music app) that help get my mind in the groove too.

Aspen Meadow
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Ideas for painting typically form while I’m hiking, painting en plein air, traveling, or daydreaming.  I’m usually inspired by shape and color.  I often feel a small wave of excitement.  Usually that feeling will last, nagging me to paint it.  Sometimes it’s a really bad snapshot with the cell phone, but I’ll see the idea fully formed in my mind.  When it stays in my mind’s eye and it feels good, I know it’s worth painting.


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

Luckily I’m still new to painting so I haven’t had a feeling of burnout.  As I look back, I realize that I am good at challenging myself with small risks that have potentially large rewards.  For example, I joined the Steamboat Art Musem’s Plein Air Event last fall.  For a $50 entry fee, I was able to experience a week-long plein air paintout, art show and competition.  Attending with several friends kept the cost down, and I sold a painting at the show.  I learned so much about plein air events, framing from the car, and traveling to paint.

Mostly, I find ways to challenge myself with small risks: paint larger, paint smaller, paint more realistically, more loosely, things like that. Right now, I’m learning portraiture and figure (back to the community college).  I also want to paint more complex scenes, buildings, flowers…there are so many challenges yet to paint.  The ideas keep me going.

Spring Blossoms
(click to view)


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

Hmmm… this is a tough question.  From a technical standpoint, I would say that I’m learning about light.  How it affects color and form, especially on the human body.  From a philosophical perspective, I’m learning about the value of beauty and living a joyful life.  For so long, I pushed myself in a career, I focused on society’s idea of success (the accumulation of things and prestige) and I lost my way.  Now, I think about what really matters: the human experience and how I want to enjoy living.


What makes you happiest about your art?

Art really is about the journey: painting with friends, braving the elements, figuring out how to make something look real, solving problems, seeing the joy in another person’s eyes when they look at my work, hearing the stories of collectors…

Once a piece leaves the studio, the influence of that artwork is often unknown.

For example, a few years ago, during our holiday art show, an elderly gentleman bought a print I had on display.  It was a print of an egg tempera painting, depicting a scene in Italy – a small courtyard with flowers.

He asked me questions about the location, and we chatted for a bit about our travels.  He used to travel for work and lived all over the world.  I shared with him the story of the hilltop town and the process of creating the painting. He dug into his pocket for some cash, and bought the print.  I signed it for him, and after a few more minutes, we wished each other a ‘happy holiday’ and parted.

The following year, as I set up for our annual holiday show a fellow artist came over and asked me, “Do you remember Harry, that older gentleman that bought a print from you last year?”  Of course I remembered him.  We had a really nice talk, and he was so excited about that print.

She told me he kept that print right next to his bed.  He looked at it every day.  It reminded him of the places he had lived and he kept it close to him.  A few months after we met, he died. 

Even though it’s a sad story, it’s filled with happiness.  We never know the impact that our work will have on other people.  I like to think that print brought him happiness and comfort in his final days.  As Claude Monet says, “Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love.”

Thanks, Nelia!

© 2018 Sophie Marine

Thursday, April 5, 2018

DPW Spotlight Interview: Deborah Savo

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings. To enter to win Deborah's painting, "A Little Bit of Spring" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Deborah's DPW Gallery:

Graduated from Moore College of Art in Philadelphia majoring in Illustration with a minor in painting. After 28 years of working as an art director I wanted to explore my love of oil painting. I love to paint people and animals and I'd love to start doing some plein air work and continue to explore light, color and composition.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting. 

I had a love of art from a small age. My mother was very creative and encouraged my creativity by buying me different art supplies. I remember spending many lazy summer afternoons playing with my watercolor set. In college, I majored in illustration and minored in painting. After graduation, I worked doing graphic arts and illustration but remember knowing that I’d return to my love of oil painting. A few years ago when I retired, I pulled out my paints and started to play around.

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

I painted in college, and other than my illustrations, I didn’t paint for many years. Unless you count the many school play sets I painted when my kids were in school. I always felt like I didn’t have the time to devote to painting. After working in graphics for thirty years I wanted to go back to developing my oil painting. At first I played around with the skills I had and did some pet portraits, they are still a love of mine. During my internet researching I came across Carol Marine’s name and daily painting. This spurred my interest in daily painting. I loved her little paintings; they are so fresh and full of life.

A Little Bit of Spring
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

My first illustrations were done in watercolor and colored pencils.

Many years ago I worked in an in house corporate art department. While I designed booklets and brochures, I also did some illustrating. These were mostly technical product renderings. But my favorite thing I did were these caricatures of people who were retiring or receiving awards. I continued to do these for about twenty years. Painted only a handful a year but enjoyed the opportunity to paint because, during this time, most of my designing and illustrations were created on the computer.

My current paintings are oils. I have a great love of animals and do pet portraits by commission. Other genres are still lifes and some florals. Attending a class at a local art center spurred my interest of alla prima and plein air painting.

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

I’ve always loved painting oil. I haven’t painted in watercolor in years but still love the luminousity that the media has.


Big and Little Pears
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring? 

Right now most of my paintings are alla prima still lifes but I’d like to further my skills in plein air painting.

Who or what inspires you most? 

My favorite artist of the past is John Singer Sargent. There are too many artists of today that I aspire to. I’m drawn to the impressionistic and figurative painters. The looseness of their brush strokes and use of color amazes me as it is something that I struggle with.


Shandy & DeeDee
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you? 

Procrastination is a big thing that I struggle with. I can waste a lot of time browsing the internet looking for inspiration and get caught up in looking at other artists. While I think it is important to look and learn other artists, I spend too much time looking and not getting to work on my own paintings.

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

I’ve participated in a couple thirty day challenges and they’re really helpful keeping me on a schedule.

A Cozy Spot
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings? 

Sometimes I go to the store and buy a bunch of pretty fruits and vegetables and they inspire me to paint them. I also have a cabinet of things I’ve collected that I thought would make a great painting. I love to grab my camera and ride my bike around town looking for interesting places to paint. I find myself taking mental notes as I’m driving…great skies, colors in the shadows, an interesting tree, an old barn. Mostly it’s the lighting that grabs my attention. I often have to remind myself to pay attention to driving. I try to only do this when I’m the passenger!

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

Looking at other artists past and present. I’ll pull out a book or search an artist I’ve heard about. I also listen to art podcasts. Listening to other artist talk about their struggles and inspirations helps me with mine.

Johnny Cat
(click to view)

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

Right now I feel like a baby artist. Sometimes it overwhelms me how much there is to know. My use of color and brushwork is my main focus. As an illustrator everything was very tight and I have to constantly remind myself to be looser and not to get caught up in the details. I love being an artist and it is a constantly evolving journey.

What makes you happiest about your art?

When I hear from a viewer that it made them smile or evoked an emotion.

Thanks, Deborah!

© 2018 Sophie Marine

Thursday, March 29, 2018

DPW Spotlight Interview: Johnna Schelling

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings. To enter to win Johnna's painting, "What's Next?" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Johnna's DPW Gallery:

Hello! Welcome into my "not quite daily painting" studio, where you'll find fun stuff going on - trying new things, perfecting others, and enjoying life. Embracing the joy in everyday things makes for great memories, happiness and cherished moments. A painting can rekindle those special times, or perhaps be the cornerstone to launch a new one! My greatest desire is to paint more days than not, and share life's joy with others through art. Thanks for joining my journey! (click to view gallery)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

As long as I can remember, I wished I had time to pursue art.  Tried learning on my own for a few years and then in 2008 finally gave myself the gift of professional oil painting lessons.  Met a terrific group of new and experienced artists with one suggesting we start a club.  Like a book club, but for art - complete with homework, challenge paintings, get-togethers to paint, talk art, share dreams, etc.  I was hooked!  The years we spent sharing our love of art were priceless.

What's Next?
(click to view)

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

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

The art club has always been great for encouraging me and keeping art a part of my life despite a challenging, full-time career.

It wasn’t until I met Carol Marine and DPW that things really took off.  To my amazement, Carol added a workshop in January 2013 that I somehow managed to get into.  I couldn’t believe it! What a huge leap for me to attend a week-long workshop, let alone in a different state.  I was nervously excited for six months waiting for it to start.  At the workshop, it was like all the light bulbs went off at the same time. The idea of painting small and fearlessly was precisely what I needed.  Came home completely addicted and got busy starting a blog, setting up a Facebook page and immersing myself in art at long last.


What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

Oil painting alla prima completely stole my heart and so far, haven’t been lured away by other mediums.  Occasionally, I’ll focus on larger paintings and multiple sessions but tend to get bored with the amount of time involved and the subject matter.  I’ve tried acrylics but we don’t get along well since they dry out so fast.  Then again, it would be great to paint while traveling, so may have to give acrylics another go.

Summer Dreams
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

At some point would like to venture into painting abstracts.  The internet makes everything so much easier to learn, I guess there’s no excuse to not get it on a to-do list and take the plunge.



Who or what inspires you most?

I have long believed that life is about making memories – in good and even not so good times.  It makes us who we are.  So, I want to create simple paintings to remind us of those unique moments, or possibly become the cornerstone to launch a new one.  When someone buys a painting, I feel truly fulfilled that I have made a positive contribution to someone else’s journey.  Lifted someone’s spirit with a bit of happiness.  I love how art has a way of bonding people together no matter our backgrounds, differences or diversity.

Hot and Prickly
(click to view)


What does procrastination look like for you?

The hardest part for me is figuring out what to paint and then actually getting started.  I can get lost for hours looking through free photo websites, meandering in the aisles of the grocery store, and of course the myriad of total distractions presented by my computer which is way too close to my easel.  At least I have to walk past the easel to get to the computer...

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

I love challenges and have used the 30 paintings in 30 days as a way to jump start my routine and make sure I focus enough on painting time.  Painting every day is a commitment that I find requires me to schedule other things so there’s enough left for life, research and painting!  When I run out of energy, which happens around day nine, I find selecting the next subject and drawing an outline makes it easier for me to get started the next day.

Pear Pizzazz
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Searching for photos always turns up unexpected ideas.  I particularly like Paint My Photo (PMP-Art.com).  This site has photographers and artists who leverage each other’s talents – sometimes, a painting of a photo will grab my attention and then I get the extra benefit of learning how another artist “sees” and how they approach the subject.


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

Painting objects I’m not familiar with seem to work out way better than I expect.  Actually causes a mini-happy-dance.  I think it is because I go back to the basics and paint what I see, squint more, pay attention, watch the values, etc.   Still life classes and photos are great for this since who knows what will pop up.  One of my favorite recent paintings was of a lobster...  it sold right away, to you guessed it, to a serious memory maker!



Salsa Anyone?
(click to view)

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

If you want to make art, you have to make it a priority, get a schedule or plan in place, and then be ready for it to happen.  Funny it reminds me of my day-job where I was the project manager for several deliveries – I was always telling people if you can plan it, you can deliver it.  I’ve been able to early retire and realize you still need a plan to make things happen!


What makes you happiest about your art?

When a person shares a memory that was triggered by one of my paintings or when they tell me why they “have to have” one.  What a thrill it is that my work delights someone and then we get to share the joy together.  Another surprise has been blogging.  It is interesting to have a journal of my art journey.  Looking back through the entries reminds me of the huge plunge I took in 2013, struggles met head-on, memories made, how far down the path I’ve come and how glad I am to be an artist.

Thanks, Johnna!

© 2018 Sophie Marine