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

Thursday, September 25, 2014

DPW Spotlight Interview: Carol DeMumbrum

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

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

From Carol's DPW Gallery page:

Carol DeMumbrum resides in her hometown of Brentwood, Tennessee with her husband and two sons. She graduated from Harris School of Art and O'More College of Design with a degree in Fine Art and Graphic Design. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

In fifth grade, I won an art contest at school and I can remember the excitement of advancing to a county art show. I did not win at that show, but I remember the incredible feeling of sharing my work with others.

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

After graduating from O'More College of Design, I worked as a graphic artist and illustrator. Then, came the different kind of creative years staying at home and enjoying the time with my two boys. About five years ago, I decided to pick up my paintbrush and paint daily. Although I don't always finish a painting every day, I am usually working in some way to advance as an artist.

Autumn Dew
(click to see original image)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

When I was painting illustrations, I was mainly painting with gouache and watercolors. I decided I wanted to try oil again and was so excited to have a finished painting so quickly. I love painting pet portraits; capturing their personalities with paint is so much fun! The highlight of my week is when I have the opportunity to venture outside with friends and paint plein air with my local plein air group, The Chestnut Group.

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

Plein air was an experiment that has definitely stuck. I was so afraid to get out and paint in front of others, but the more I do it the deeper my love for it grows.

Harry
(click to see original image)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I would love to once again work with watercolor, perhaps on a children's book.

Who or what inspires you most?

I would have to say, first and foremost, God and His creation. Growing up on a farm and being in nature all day instilled in me the love and desire to paint my beautiful surroundings. When I go out and paint plein air, I feel the same awe and wonder I remember feeling as a child. I would also say I am definitely inspired by all of the wonderful artists here on Daily Paintworks, Facebook and my friends in the Chestnut Group. Wait, I can't forget the Masters such as Sargent, Sorolla and Rembrandt; just way too many to list.

Spring Babe
(click to see original image)

What does procrastination look like for you?

I would have to say the fear of failing. The more I paint daily the less likely I am to procrastinate. I have come to realize not every painting is going to be a keeper and it is all a learning process. Just DO IT!

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

I found the best way to complete tasks that I don't enjoy first, such as housework, is a "To Do" list. Then, I have more time available for painting and marketing.

Beau
(click to see original image)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I follow my heart when searching for reference or vistas to paint. There is usually something I am drawn to in a scene or photo. I love candid glimpses of everyday life: maybe dog buddies exploring together, or a couple sitting on a park bench enjoying their time with one another. I have found when it is something I don't feel strongly about, it is apparent in my work.

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

I am constantly being inspired by other artists. I know I have so much to learn, so when I can, I take workshops from artists I admire, such as Matt Smith, Anne Blair Brown, Kevin Menck, Dreama Tolle Perry and an upcoming one with Nancy Franke. (Please come to Nashville, Carol Marine. :) ) These workshops keep me thinking and growing.

Light Breakfast
(click to see original image)

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

I'm learning what to put in, what to leave out, composition, and how to be patient with larger paintings. I'm always trying to find better ways to use my time.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I get to share something I love and feel led to create with all of you. I hope you will visit my Daily Paintworks Gallery and will contact me if you have questions. Thank you Daily Paintworks!

Thanks, Carol!

© 2014 Sophie Catalina Marine Cruse

Thursday, September 18, 2014

DPW Spotlight Interview: Beata Musial-Tomaszewska

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

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

From Beata's DPW Gallery page:

Hi, I'm Beata, cheers from Poland. :) I graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdansk, Faculty of Painting. Just after the Academy, I started working as a 3D animator and a special effect designer. That's what I still do, but now at a big production house in Warsaw. So my professional life is filled with advertising, movie production, and a computer as the only tool. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I have a funny association with that kind of question because my boss used to say to us (just for fun), "Tell me how your adventure with the film first started." I'm working for an advertiser which makes special effects for commercials and movies. But I laugh and call it “show business.” :)

But seriously, I started drawing intensively when I was thirteen. It was one year before my high school of art exam and it was my first instance of daily painting - I would draw at least one picture a day. These were figures, hands, feet, just to get proportion. So I passed the exam with flying colors.

Orange Triangle
(click to see original image)

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

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

Yes, of course. Well, actually no, because I have never really started my career, so I couldn't stop it. ;) I graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdansk in Poland, Faculty of Painting. Just after the Academy, I started working as a 3D animator and special effect designer. It was my second love - the movies. That's what I still do for a living but now I do it at a big production company in Warsaw. So my professional life is filled with advertising, movie production, and the computer as my sole tool of work. I have been painting in digital world. So now, I am trying to rebuild my connection between my brain and analog brush. :) But I still miss the ‘undo’ option. :(

Blue Horse
(click to see original image)

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

My biggest experiments ever were during my studies, while I was working on my diploma. I created four big format (2/3m) pictures, each of them in a different technique. I put them together, into a cube standing in the center. Then people could watch them walking around, between my pictures and numerous billboards which I had hung earlier on the walls. It was a clash of two completely different esthetics - the colorful billboards and my pictures.

Small Violin
(click to see original image)

One of the pictures was a painting on a metal board. I treated it with acid (to achieve the rust weathering effect), then oil paint and finally a blowtorch. The other one was made of expanding (polyurethane) foam - deeply textural. And the next one was encaustic. I tried to show two starkly contrasted esthetics - juxtaposed together, and the dissonance between them.

Who or what inspires you most?

I don't have one favorite painter, but I love many of them: Hals, Broughel, Velazquez, Goya, Guardi, Van Gogh, Boudin. From within Daily Paintworks, I particularly admire: Krista Eaton, Jacqueline Gnott, Faith Te, Arena Shawn, Carol Marine, Barbara Jaenicke, V Yeremyan, and many others.

Grebe
(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 get bored very quickly, so I prefer to paint in the same breath, meaning in one day and the next one. Additionally, I often change the subject and technique, and take up new challenges in order to not get stuck in a rut. I am not afraid of kitsch. Now, I am painting animals, landscape and people. That is what I really enjoy. I love nature but isn’t it ironic that I live in a big city? I happen to live in the capital of Poland. But to feel better, ten years ago I built a house in the countryside thirty-five km from Warsaw where, because of traffic jams, I can spend only weekends.

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

Patience and more patience, humility, and how to cut down on my living expenses. You know, artists are always poor but I'm overparticular both in life and painting. So that is what I strive against the most.

Orange Flower
(click to see original image)

What makes you happiest about your art?

Meeting new people, both online and in real life. For me, painting eliminates boundaries and distances between people. In addition, it makes me happy when I can give somebody a bit of joy and reflection. I also like be my own boss - that means freedom for me. I would like to thank you for offering me the opportunity to promote my work. You give people lots of fun. My kids say it's much better than Facebook. ;)

Thanks, Beata!

© 2014 Sophie Catalina Marine Cruse

Thursday, September 11, 2014

DPW Spotlight Interview: Pera Schillings

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

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

From Pera's DPW Gallery page:

Artist Pera obtained an MA in Graphic Design and an MA in Photography in Aachen, Germany, before immigrating to South Africa. She worked as a graphic designer with architects, as an art director in the film industry and later as an interior designer for many years. In 2005, she started to paint in oil, experiencing intense pleasure and joy from playing with color. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

Strangely enough, I just heeded the call from my inner artist, bought oil paints, brushes and canvasses, and off I went. The year was 2005 and I haven’t stopped since. As a novice to the medium, I was bold and na├»ve enough to follow my heart. I took photos of flowers and painted them close up and oversized: floral portraits.

I was blessed with some excellent teachers from the Stellenbosch Atelier and also with early business opportunities to sell my work in an artist run gallery with lots of overseas visitors.

One of those customers commissioned me to paint vegetables for their kitchen, I did some research via the net and discovered Daily Paintworks. The rest is history.

Egg and Lace
(click to see original image)

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

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

No, I found my calling (a great surprise to me, since photography was always my first love and forte.)

What mediums and genre have you experimented with?

In the early years at art school, I experimented with water colour, pastels, pen and ink, pencil and charcoal, but never oil.

Two Persimmons
(click to see original image)

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

Pencil and pen and ink. I love a good, old intricate line drawing with a pencil!

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

Both as well as joining the urban sketchers movement.

Who or what inspires you most?

The strong light here in South Africa, the people with their love for bold colours, graphic patterns and the diversity of cultures, landscapes, fauna and flora.

Orange II
(click to see original image)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Sometimes fear of a new project lets me dwindle time away, luckily it doesn’t happen often.

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

I do everything else first thing in the morning to clear myself of any lingering “to do’s.” That includes emails, marketing and life itself.

I paint from 12.00 to 18.00h straight, Mondays through Fridays, and weekends when I have a deadline.

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

By observation, I like to look at everything.

For Things to Come
(click to see original image)

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

Feeding the “Well” with images from books, fashion, movies, music, history, other artists and the world around me!

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

Improving my skills on all levels. Edges.

Heavenly Chocolate II
(click to see original image)

What makes you happy about your art?

Feeling blessed to be able to follow my true vocation and to give people joy and pleasure with my paintings!

Thanks, Pera!

© 2014 Sophie Catalina Marine Cruse

Thursday, September 4, 2014

DPW Spotlight Interview: Elena Lunetskaya

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

To enter to win Elena's painting, "Rainy City" 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.

I have been drawing since childhood. When I was three years old, I wanted to write a letter to my grandmother. I did not know how to write, and decided to draw it. I drew a story, painted with gouache, then found an envelope, took my mother's sewing kit and began to sew. As I didn't know how to end the stitch, when the thread ended, the needle remained hanging outside. As a result, on the letter hung about fifteen needles. It was my first art object. My mom kept it in a box for a long time, and often pulled it out, scaring guests.

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

There was a time, after the completion of training at the institute, I worked as a designer in an advertising agency, then as an illustrator in publishing. Then my son was born. Continuing a career in the office was difficult and I again took up painting.

Rainy City
(click to see original image)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I experimented a lot. When I was younger, I even drew comics and won a prize at the international competition. Quite a long time ago, I did decorative compositions in mixed media (and I still do this sometimes). Oil gives more options, nothing is better for painting that has been invented.

I also attended the Russian school of painting, a very conservative school. It is absolutely authoritarian. Our artistic education is offered through great schools, but no one teaches students how to creatively apply their skills. Usually, well-educated Russian artists do not have stylistic diversity. They are always wanting to do everything correctly, but can't explain why. Some understand it later, and someone - never.

My husband is an ethnic Georgian who studied in Batumi, Georgia - a small Caucasian country with a strong identity. They teach very little of the classical school of thought, but there is a distinctive national artistic style. I can always recognize works by Georgian artists, they are difficult to miss. So now, we have each other to retrain. I gradually forget about what I was taught in St. Petersburg and my husband learns my northern style. Sometimes we work together.

Strawberry Fields
(click to see original image)

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

Comics have stuck. :). As for the rest - everything is up in the air, nothing can be sure. Maybe soon I will again work as a book illustrator. Everything is constantly changing. I think my author's style has not yet formed completely. I am slowly but surely forgetting what I was taught and teaching myself to live.

Who or what inspires you most?

Oddly, I love art from the early 20th century. I love the great mystics - Mikhail Vrubel, and Philip Malyavina. They both have a unique power (though perhaps blasphemous to compare them). And Pavel Filonov literally grows his paintings from animal or plant cells. They are scattered on atoms, separate worlds. When creating them, he does not think about anybody - just about collecting his painting, like legos, listing everything that comes to mind, collecting the smallest particles. You watch them, you raise them in his head, watching them rise and wilt.

What else inspires me: I like to read a collection of essays by Alexander Jakimowicz "Magic Universe" - inspired works of art as a struggle against the absurdity in our worlds. And, of course, Jorge Luis Borges. Wise man, who established the guidelines of the infinite chaos of modern culture.

And anything can inspire. In my youth I was familiar with an artist (he was quite successful, some of his works were purchased by a Russian museum). I came to him once as he was hanging on the wall a blank white canvas. And on it - an orange spot. He says to me, "I cannot tear myself away - what a beautiful orange spot. For a week I look at it, there's nothing more I can do. Why should I paint now, if I can't make anything more beautiful than this orange spot? I just sit on and look, I need nothing more. "And then he sold the apartment and went to Donetsk. To this day, I still remember it.

Pink Orchids
(click to see original image)

No matter what the source of inspiration is, the most important this is, ultimately, productivity: to not to get stuck and not go crazy. My small personal nightmare is to lose myself in the orange spot and never be able to create again.

Only you can inspire yourself. You wake up in the morning - there you are, and that's a reason for inspiration. This is something that can not be changed. Previously, the artist has been an integral part of their environment. He went somewhere and talked with colleagues and critics. Now, there you are online, you can see everything at once, and no one can digest all of that information. Now, I'm in Russia, St. Petersburg and am writing you this interview. Someone from Australia will see my pictures. Here you have the Library of Babel, and Borges would never have dreamt of this.

What does procrastination look like for you?

Procrastination - no such thing. But a week doing nothing - it's scary. Idleness breeds demons. Scariest is not procrastination itself, but that it creates apathy and laziness, and then is replaced with a fatal belief in the impossibility to change anything.

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

I teach painting classes as a profession - making time for art is not an issue.

Along the Coast
(click to see original image)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I do not have constant ideas or have continuously experienced subjects. Although perhaps ideas come spontaneously - you can see something, then remember something. Daily work of life, travel on trains, types of villages and roads, all of it gives me ideas. It is probably not so much an idea, but a way to express a certain state. I love the story of Agatha Christie, who is asked where she takes subjects for her works. She replied, "I come up with them while washing dishes. When I wash the dishes, I always think about murder."

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

This is an interesting question. Ultimately, any creativity powered internal dissonance, it is also its consequence and cause. In fact, private madness is an inexhaustible source of inspiration. Thank God, this is not about me. In fact, the variability of perception is a feature of any normal person.

The Dandelions
(click to see original image)

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

Contemporary art and life in general, are both a deeply creative process. We choke, not only in the stifling of passions, but also in the information chaos. There is so much information and the brain is small. It's hard to remember, and even more difficult to organize and catch trends. One of my dreams is to cut off the excess, leaving only the essentials. I would like to know that my actions will have real meaning, and not just to me.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I would like it if someone, upon getting one of my paintings, took a long look at it as my friend did on the orange spot. For a whole week they would do this - as a continuation of the absurd. And they would see what I see and feel. But this is impossible, and the glory of God. You can not change other people's worlds, imposing your own. Therefore, I would be happy if someone received one of my paintings and was just happy to have it. :) Just because it's cute and cool and it adorns the wall. I'm quite a logical and a nice lady with only the best wishes for all.

Thanks, Elena!

© 2014 Sophie Catalina Marine Cruse

Thursday, August 28, 2014

DPW Spotlight Interview: Julie Hill

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

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

From Julie's DPW Gallery page:

"My paintings are a reflection of what I see, real or interpreted, the play of color and light.....and the feelings evoked. Enjoy!"

A native Southern Californian, Julie Hill began her art career later in life. After several life changes, in 2004 she picked up a pencil and began drawing. Unbeknownst to her, she had been sitting on a creative gift. She then dared to pick up the elusive paintbrush and tentatively applied colors and water to white paper. Pulled by the desire to capture nature's beauty and precious relationship moments, the once elusive and timidness of watercolor paintings has turned into unabashed exploration of color and shapes; as she calls it "Capturing Life with Brushstrokes". (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I went through a period in my life (around 2004) where I had to redefine myself. That definition unknowingly was “Artist”. Looking back I would now say I was to authenticate myself instead of redefine myself. I had to let surface what was created within. Or in better words, it was time to stop denying what God had designed in me.

Keep in mind; I had a high level and very successful career in academic science with no art desire, background or expertise. Once this “authentication” process started within me, I had this overwhelming need to create. It was frightening not knowing what or how to satisfy this need. So I did what we all were taught to do as a child, I drew something. What flushed out in the following weeks were large pencil drawings with great detail. Everyone I knew, me included, was very confused. “Where did that come from? And how did you do that?”. “I dunno” was all I could answer. But the gift of drawing was only the blueprint. A tool that I had no idea would be a foundation for something greater to come.

A few more weeks went by and the creative hunger continued to grow. It was as if I was the painting, where God had initially sketched “me” on the paper in simple black and white ....but now it was time for color and vibrancy. So I picked up my first paintbrush, dabbed up some pretty colors and mixed them in water and finished what God started in me..... it’s been a crazy blessing, letting this gift come out of me.

Red Apples
(click to see original image)

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

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

No stops and starts. My painting career is defined by one thing, am I creating? Yes, this creating (painting) generates revenue via commissions, online or gallery sales, and teaching; sometimes it opens doors to publications and accolades, or leads to great opportunities like this article. But none of those exist if I don’t go to work every day and create. By continually moving forward....things have just come to me, a blessing indeed.

What other mediums have you experimented with?

None. I am a watercolor artist. I often receive comments from other artists expressing their wonder on how I do it, “watercolor is so unforgiving” and “it is the hardest medium”. I guess I see it a bit differently. Watercolor painting forces me to commit to each piece, be okay with loosing control or even failing, accepting the imperfection of its perfection. It is kind of how I hope God feels about me...perfect in my imperfectness.

La Frigiliana, Spain
(click to see original image)

Who or what inspires you most?

Living life inspires me, that is why I titled my blog “Capturing Life with Brushstrokes”. I want to see the beauty in the ordinary...to make the mundane look full of life. So a shopping trip downtown can turn into a grand urban street scene. I like that.

What does procrastination look like for you?

Painting. That may seem like an odd answer but procrastination is when you do more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones. Not many things are more enjoyable to me than painting. That being said, I am really not a procrastinator by nature, nor am I the flip side of that, compulsive. I used to be....but now I just paint.

Butch's Smile
(click to see original image)

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

I do because I am. It is more of a way of life then a technique. I think we all have, at some point in our lives, tried to be something we are not. I like the saying “You can’t be a bird if you were meant to be a fish”. As I mentioned above I went through a redefining or authentication process. The outcome out of that was “I am an artist”. Once you know you are fish, you can’t really answer the question “What techniques work to make sure you make time to swim?” You just do because you are.

Swaying Lanterns
(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?

Having no fear and staying out of my head. As I became more and more skilled at my craft, I challenged myself in deeper ways but also making sure that I always allow myself to just enjoy the process. I always embrace challenging subjects, or perspectives, or try to find something beautiful to say about something that could be portrayed a bit dull. However, sometimes there are voices in your head can be self-deprecating and negative, especially when you are trying something new or hard....the key is to keep them quiet (or stay out of your head completely). Painting is a joy, always has been always will be....no negativity allowed.

Let's Go
(click to see original image)

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

I am learning the value of giving back. The challenge is that I am a self-taught artist, so I have to learn ways to translate to my students what is instinctive to me. Also, each student is unique and has an individual way of learning, I am challenged to find what is the best way to teach and speak to them so that they can truly explore and enjoy their pathway to their passion.

What makes you happiest about your art?

That I painted it.

Thanks, Julie!

© 2014 Sophie Catalina Marine Cruse

Thursday, August 21, 2014

DPW Spotlight Interview: Jodi Manca

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

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

From Jodi's DPW Gallery page:

My name is Jodi Manca and I live in North Kingstown, Rhode Island.  I am a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in Illustration.  I also hold a Masters in Art Education from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.  I have been an educator of the arts for over fifteen years, spending the last 14 years in the Cranston School Department.

Primarily a painter, using mostly oils and acrylics, I adore color!  I consider most of my work to be an exploration of color and its relationship to everything else around it.  I spend a great deal of my time doing commissioned pet portraits and always enjoy painting man's best friend.  I also create in the mediums of collage and silk screening.  I spend my life with my husband Andy and our two dogs Flash and Timmy.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I think my love affair with color began with my first coloring book!  I knew from an early age that art was my passion.  My first real painting class was my sophomore year at RISD, I've been painting ever since!

Untitled
(click to see original image)

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

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

There have been times where I have not been as productive as I would have liked; work (I'm a full time art teacher in a public school), personal life, motivation, they sometimes all get in the way.  The past three years I have been very productive, it truly is when I am the happiest!

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

Oils, acrylics, tempera, water color, etching, silk screening, collage, and recently oil pastels!

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

Oils and acrylics, are always a focus, water color comes and goes, I find the medium intimidating!

Sad
(click to see original image)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I really am enjoying the oil pastel exploration right now, and am looking forward to doing some more printing this fall!

Who or what inspires you most?

Sunlight inspires me!  I really love the different effects that are produced during different times of day, seasons, and weather changes.  Also, looking at the work of other artists!  I spent so much time as a student studying artists of the past, now I really love to look at the work of others.  Daily Paint Works is a constant source of inspiration!

Berry
(click to see original image)

What does procrastination look like for you?

I can be a terrible procrastinator!  T.V. is a sand trap!  My mind goes numb and nothing else gets done!  My dogs are also a fun source of distraction!

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

Commissions help!  When I am on a time line I know I have to plan accordingly.  I usually carve out at least two hours a night, more on the weekends. I just need to remind myself that I am much happier being productive: like a runner feels after a run!

Happy
(click to see original image)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I love landscape, so that is usually my initial pull.  I also really love painting dogs, they are most of my commission work.  I have recently started revisiting still life, I like simple.

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

For me knowing that I still have so much to learn keeps me engaged!  All I have to do is see a painting that I love and I say "I need to try that!"

Morning Hunt
(click to see original image)

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

Last October, I did a painting a day as a fundraiser for Breast Cancer, during that month I felt like I could see improvement in my work!  It made me realize to stay sharp you have to paint as often as you can, and when possible work with other artists!

What makes you happiest about your art?

The moment when I feel like the subject is alive, it really is magic to me!

Thanks, Jodi!

© 2014 Sophie Catalina Marine Cruse