Thursday, July 30, 2015

DPW Spotlight Interview: Patricia MacDonald

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

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

From Patricia's DPW Gallery Page: 

I am a Canadian painter and am fortunate to be at a point in my life when I can paint everyday and travel and be inspired by both new and familiar locations. I studied fine art, art history and art education at university and those studies led to a 25+year career in arts administration and teaching secondary school art. During my career I painted during the time 'between' family, work and social commitments, and began to exhibit in and sell my work. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting. Did you have any stops and starts in your painting career?

I started drawing and painting as a child, and that interest eventually led to studying fine art and art history at university. In my early working life art was more of a leisure pursuit than a daily practice. It wasn’t something I had a lot of time for until I was a stay-at-home mum, and though life was still busy, I was able to take some painting courses and workshops. When our daughter began school I returned to university, earned a degree in art education and began a second career as a secondary school art teacher. In this position I had to ‘walk the talk’, and thus developed technical skills in a wide variety of media, as well as an understanding of composition and art criticism, not to mention pedagogy. It was during these years, the late 1990s, that I really began to paint intently. I left teaching in 2008, and since then painting has been a daily occupation and a passion.

Tulips
(click to view)


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

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

Over the last 20 years I have experimented with all kinds of painting media: acrylic, watercolour, gouache, pastels, encaustic, and have often mixed these materials when it suited me. As an art teacher I had to teach all media, so experimentation was an imperative, and this gave me the confidence to take creative risks with media that ultimately affected my painting style and forms of expression.  These days I paint mainly in acrylic, and often draw back into my work with pastel.  I still paint with watercolour, especially when traveling, but also when I only have a little time or when I want to try something new. I love to experiment with that medium and the results will often point me in new directions that I then try in acrylic painting. I find the choice of media is often determined by the surface or support I am using (canvas, wood panel or paper) and what I want to express and the way I want the subject to appear.

My subject matter has always varied, and at times I have focused on still life, figures, animals, and more recently, landscape. As a painter I am always aware of my surroundings and searching for new visual ideas and motifs that can lead to the next painting or genre to explore.

Looking Pretty
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

My interest in landscape painting is relatively recent and is one that I will continue to explore, including more plein air work. I love to travel and there are always new views and locations to inspire me. This year I began to experiment with non-representational themes inspired by details cropped from my photos of water and water reflections and am excited to continue this work too.

Who or what inspires you most?

I love to visit museums and galleries to see both historical art and art being produced now. My favorite artists include Henri Matisse, Wolf Kahn, Richard Diebenkorn, Joan Mitchell, Tom Thompson, Shirley Trevena, Robert Genn, Bobbie Burger and Steve Driscoll. They are all masters of colour – and their work is a feast for the eyes.

Togetherness
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

I don’t think I do procrastinate when it comes to painting.

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

I am fortunate at this point in my life to have the freedom to paint all day, and every day, if I choose, and I do spend a large chunk of my time doing precisely that.  Obviously time with family and friends, social events and daily living has to be worked in to my schedule and I am always happy to have those activities and social interactions in my day – but for the most part I am a pretty dedicated painter. It has become a passion, and I can’t imagine not painting.

Reel Girl
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I am inspired by what I see around me, and find ideas everywhere - objects in and out of context, new landscapes seen while traveling, familiar views I return to each season, figure drawings done in a life studio sessions, water, colours - almost anything. I take a lot of photos but I don’t copy what I see. The photo reference is the starting point on which I base drawings to understand the subject and make it ‘mine’, to simplify form and develop compositional ideas. One painting often leads to another based on the same idea or theme, or a series.

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

When this happens I take a break from my regular art practice and try to create ‘differently’. That could be as simple as changing media, or subject, or doing some favourite drawing or painting exercises, ‘timed’ working, working with my non-dominant hand, basically anything that’s fun.

Oliveraie
(click to view)

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

I am always learning, and always interested in seeing and exploring new ways of working. I try to be aware of key ‘aha’ moments when painting in order to take advantage of the possibility of trying something new or different.

What makes you happy about painting?

I love the painting process: loading a brush with juicy colour and the physicality of applying it to a canvas, and then intuitively adding more marks in spontaneous ways, watching shapes emerge and disappear, being in the ‘zone’, and listening to one’s inner voice. When ‘it’ all works there is a wonderful sense of accomplishment. Later on, I just enjoy the visual experience of looking at the results.

Thanks, Patricia!

© 2015 Sophie Catalina Marine

Thursday, July 23, 2015

DPW Spotlight Interview: Karen Murphy

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

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

From Karen's DPW Gallery Page: 

After working in a corporate environment for the past 20 years I am finally doing something I love, painting. I am an avid outdoors woman and (mostly) self-taught painter. I grew up in Massachusetts and as a child I would fill sketchbooks with graphite drawings of my horses and other pets. I began to explore painting as a teen and for the last 30 years (or so) I have continued to explore my creative process and have enjoyed translating my experiences into artistic creations. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I started painting when I was around thirteen. My dad is an artist and I would watch him work and learn from it. I already loved to draw and spent a lot of my free time filling sketch books. But once I started painting I knew it was meant to do it. In high school I started to develop my own creative process and experimented with a lot of different mediums.

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

I have had a studio for most of my adult life and have painted pretty consistently. There have been stretches when I haven’t been able to paint because I haven’t had the time. The longest I have gone without painting was for about a year while I was renovating my house, working full time, and commuting.

Small and Sweet Five
(click to view)
Enter to win by clicking on the link at the top of the DPW home page announcing Karen's interview.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I can’t think of many mediums that I haven’t experimented with; I love to try new things. For a long time my go to genres were animals and nature. I grew up on a farm in a rural town and they were my greatest inspiration. At some point the nature lover in me also fell in love with landscape painting. Now I live near the water in a more urban setting, I find myself working on more seascapes and even some figurative.

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

Oil painting has always been my favorite and has permanently stuck. I also enjoy pastels and will break them out once in a while, especially for a quick plein air sketch. Sculpture has completely fallen away, at least for now.

Happy Dog
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I have recently left my corporate career to become a full time artist and I don’t think I’ll be exploring any new mediums in the near future; I have made a choice to focus on oils for now. I do hope to experiment with new genres, especially abstract. Painting small is allowing me to explore new things.

Who or what inspires you most?

I am most inspired by nature and my surroundings, I always have been. Nature is where I go to reenergize and rejuvenate and it’s where my creativity always flows.

Flower Heads
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

I’m not a big procrastinator but I do get distracted easily which can get me off task. There are days when I try to do too many things and it seems like I get nothing accomplished. I feel like I always have a battle with time.

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

I am currently working as a full time artist so I have plenty of time for my art. I am still learning how to structure my time so it’s most efficient. I have decided to try set work hours for studio time. It’s been tough for me to balance painting/administrative tasks but I’m working on it.

At the Market
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

When I get an idea I write it down and keep a running list. Lately I find that I’ll see something in daily life that I’ll want to paint and I haven’t had to refer to my list for a while.

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

I love taking classes and workshops for keeping my art “fresh.” I haven’t experienced burnout yet and I’m not sure how I’ll deal with it if it ever happens. Knowing myself I’ll probably just need to take some time off or visit a location that will inspire me.

Follow Me
(click to view)

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

I have been taking plein air workshops and classes all spring and summer. Plein air has been a new challenge for me and I feel I have grown tremendously as an artist in the past few months because of it.

What makes you happiest about your art?

The thing that makes me happiest is when I see my art make others happy. When I deliver a painting to a customer and watch their face light up with joy. I know they resonate with that painting and it will make them smile every time they look at it. I love it when I can personally deliver a painting and see the reaction.

Thanks, Karen!

© 2015 Sophie Catalina Marine

Thursday, July 16, 2015

DPW Spotlight Interview: Ann Nemcosky

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

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

From Ann's DPW Gallery Page: 

I gather inspiration from my home in the North Carolina mountains and from my travels to the coast. Although I have worked in a variety of media, over the past few years I have been primarily painting with watercolor.There is something about a sense of place and time that continues to fascinate me. I enjoy creating art that celebrates the light and color of our surroundings captured in a moment of time.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I have always been an artist, always creating things for as long as I can remember. I first started concentrating on painting in college when I switched majors from interior design to fine art after taking a painting class, and I never looked back.

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

Well, life does happen. There have been demanding jobs and family obligations but I have always tried to keep some sort of creative work going. The biggest interruption (yet a most welcomed one) to my painting was the birth of my daughter. I was too busy and having too much fun parenting and enjoying her to spend the kind of time needed to work on painting. Although I did keep sketchbooks going, however sporadically, even in those first few years. When I did work on larger pieces I focused on drawing with graphite. There was no mess to worry about a little one getting into and you can have extended breaks between work sessions and nothing changes with the piece, no worry about paint drying out etc.

Foxglove
(click to view)


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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

My subject matter has stayed pretty much the same over the years. Landscape and still life, subjects from nature are my primary motivation to paint.

While studying art in college I worked mainly in oil. Later on, I began using acrylic as an underpainting for works in oil. I also made woodcut relief prints for quite a long time. That was a nice complement to painting as you need to think about process in an entirely different way. And drawing was always there, with charcoal, pastel, and graphite. As I mentioned above, when my daughter was small, graphite was a convenient media for working. After a while, I started using colored pencils as a way to work color into my drawings.

I really like drawing with colored pencil as it is a translucent media so one can achieve great clarity of color. And as I returned to keeping a sketchbook on a more consistent basis I was mostly using watercolor for my sketches. That evolved to doing finished works with watercolor, which appeals to me in the same way colored pencil does. The translucent nature of the pigment allows the brightness of the paper to help illuminate the artwork.

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

As I mentioned earlier, I enjoy drawing with colored pencil but it is also frustrating because you are basically painting with the point of a pencil. I found I had too many ideas for works I wanted to do and colored pencil just didn’t get me to them fast enough. Occasionally I will get out the oils, or lately acrylics, and tackle a canvas, just to change things up a bit. But for the time being, the challenge of watercolor has the strongest hold on my interest.

However, now that my studio is in our home, some methods like large scale oils or printmaking just aren’t practical. And again, watercolor suits me at this point in time because I have so many ideas that I’d like to explore. Landscape painting is my primary interest, and that has stuck with me since college, even though it wasn’t always well received in academia. I have also always enjoyed painting still life, whether from a set up or found serendipitously.

Flowers at the Farmer's Market
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

With our travels to the coast over the last several years, I have become fascinated with
painting the ocean. This is something I plan to explore, to see just how far I can take that
idea from realism perhaps into abstraction. I see endless possibilities painting water. I
would also like to explore painting with acrylic a bit more thoroughly. There have been
many advances in acrylic paint and mediums since I last really used it for painting.

Who or what inspires you most?

Georgia O’Keeffe was this first artist that truly inspired me with her grand paintings and
quiet determination to paint what interested her instead of what may have been
expected. I also was quite taken early on with the drawings Jim Dine did of everyday
objects. Decades ago, I read Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, which influenced my
thinking about the everyday moments that are so important yet often overlooked. And,
of course, having a child only accentuated that thinking, that it’s those fleeting moments
that need to be celebrated and treasured.

When it comes to painting I respond first to color, light, and the shapes in the landscape. Besides color, I am most interested in the edges, where a field and tree line meet, a hill rises to the sky, or water comes to shore. And living where I do in the mountains of North Carolina, the landscape is stunning and varied. I like to try to catch those fleeting moments when the elements of color, light and shape come together just right. Going to the coast brings an entirely different set of elements, with wide horizons and a watery landscape. I love that I can draw from both environments for subject matter. Of course whatever the subject, it is always about color.

Ocean Dreams
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Because my studio is in our home, my house gets cleaner when I am procrastinating.
Not entirely a bad thing.

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

Routine. Now that my daughter is a teen, it is much easier to predict what my schedule
will look like from day to day. I schedule time each day to work on my art, even if it turns
out to be just an hour, or I am working on marketing or planning, but not actually
painting, just showing up is important.

Market Sunflowers
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Usually it’s when I’m working on one that I get an idea for something else I’d like to try. I keep a sketchbook with as much writing of ideas as there are sketches. I take tons of photos for references. Often I will photograph something because it interests me, yet it may be a year or two later when I am inspired to make a painting of that subject. I can be cooking dinner and fall in love with the way the light is hitting vegetables sitting on the counter, so I try to get a photo before the light or the vegetables are gone.

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

Because I have so many ideas for paintings, I tend to group them into themes. Then I usually rotate what I am working on, from one theme to another. In this way I am not painting a similar subject over and over. And, as I mentioned earlier, sometimes I will use a different media, just to present a new challenge.


Lunch with Ken
(click to view)

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

I find watercolor to be such a challenging media that every piece is a learning experience for me. And it doesn’t always work out! But even the stinkers will teach me something.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I enjoy making art and I love being on this journey. It’s a way to engage in a dialog with my environment, to pay attention, and to stay present in the moment. When I can get the painting I see in my head to become the painting on paper or canvas, only better, then I am satisfied. When something I didn’t plan turns out to be just what a painting needed, then I am delighted.

Thanks, Ann!

© 2015 Sophie Catalina Marine

Thursday, July 9, 2015

DPW Spotlight Interview: Heather Bullach

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

To enter to win Heather's painting, "Summer Berries" 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.

From the time I was little, I was always sketching things. I actually didn't pick up oil paints until I was about twenty. They clicked immediately and I haven't stopped painting since.

Summer Berries
(click to see original image)

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

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

No.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I've worked in watercolor a bit, and still try to go back to it every so often for a change of pace. I started painting portraits almost immediately after I began working in oils. I've only recently delved into landscapes and still lifes. Though I believe portraits and figurative work will always be my first love, I love the way landscapes and still lifes allow me to explore color, light, and painting styles with less demanding (for me) subject matters.

City Lights Study
(click to see original image)

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

I'm not sure I can really pinpoint any that have not stuck, at this point, as I've only recently really delved outside of portraiture.

Who or what inspires you most?

I find myself pulling inspiration from so many different places. I'm inspired by light and colors. I've discovered that I constantly watch the way the light changes throughout the day and with the weather and seasons, making mental note of how the colors change. I don't think a day goes by that I don't see something that I'd love to just stop and paint. And there is always something unique and exciting about each person I paint to inspire me; I never tire of seeing someone come to life on my canvas.

Into the Storm
(click to see original image)

What does procrastination look like for you?

I have three weekdays (and sometimes Saturdays) out of my week reserved for studio work. I treat my art like a job and commit serious time those days to creating work. But  procrastination absolutely pops up even within a regular routine. I put off the less exciting or more intimidation projects. Or I'll put off making a leap and trying something new to keep my work fresh. I never regret pushing through and tackling the hard thing.

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

Again, treating my work like the job that it is. I've never lost sight of the fact that if I want to continue a successful career in what I love, I have to continue to put in the serious hours.

Orange Lipstick
(click to see original image)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Mostly, I paint what I see. I like painting things in my daily life that are beautiful and bring me joy. These daily paintings have become like a bit of a diary for me, whether I'm painting something from somewhere I've visited, something from my closet, or even something I've eaten! And I love capturing people: both their likeness and their unique personality.

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

Daily Paintings have become an excellent way for me to keep my work fresh. I'm able to quickly explore a great number or different subject matters, styles, and approaches. I've found that my larger works are directly impacted by the work I do in these smaller painting. In the six months that I've been doing these - albeit off and on - I've become a much more confident painter, and it shows in my work!

Dawson
(click to see original image)

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

Painting more loosely. It takes greater planning and restraint for me to paint with bold brush strokes than to paint with really tight and exact detail. But I find myself much more excited about the process, and happier with the results when I paint this way.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I love seeing myself improve. And I love recognizing when I've achieved something technically that I haven't been able to before. But I think what makes me most happy is seeing my work bring other people joy. Which is why, I believe, I love portraits so much. There is something uniquely special about a portrait in how it can touch someone.

Thanks, Heather!

© 2015 Sophie Catalina Marine

Thursday, July 2, 2015

DPW Spotlight Interview: Marco Vazquez

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

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

From Marco's DPW Gallery Page:

I am a self taught artist, born in Mexico City in 1979 and working in California, USA since 2001.

My interest in art started early in life, I used to spent hours drawing portraits with pencils. I never thought art could be a career, I choose accounting with little success, but an event that revolutionized my life and made me see art as a way of life happened the day I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. Art became the most important part of my life. Since then, I have spend time searching and learning about the art of painting. (click to view bio)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

Like many artists I started to have an interest in drawing early in life. I used to spend hours and hours with pencil in hand trying to get the smallest of details done in my drawings. But it wasn't at that time that I started to paint.

It was really a process that took me a long time. I lived the first twenty years of my life in a small town in my country, Mexico. There was very limited information about art in my community and even more limitations on getting art supplies. Internet was in its early stage.

It was really a blessing when I moved to the USA. Everything changed and it became easier to discover the great world of art. Suddenly, I found myself surrounded by galleries, museums, schools, artists... I went to the art store and bought pencils and a big box of prismacolors as soon as I got my first paycheck.

I don't know exactly when I started to paint, but I know that my beginning in art started with those pencils and those color pencils.

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

I have a full time job in a marketplace and it has nothing to do with painting.

I love painting so much, but I haven't being able to establish myself as a full time painter. There are times when I have to stop to organize my painting projects. I don't completely stop my art. Sometimes I sketch, sometimes I go out with my camera and collect reference photos or surf the internet for the same purpose. There are times when I just can't finish painting worth showing, I often blame the little time I have free after work.

Golden Reflection
(click to see original image)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I have used many mediums; all of them are very traditional and nothing out of the ordinary.

I started with pencil and color pencils. Then I started to look for a medium that could give me more satisfaction. I tried watercolors, acrylics, gouache, then I tried pastels and I thought this was my medium. I learned all I could about it and I feel that after a year of failures, I became fairly good at it. Actually, I've kept painting with pastels, but three years ago I had to try oils. Now most of my works are oil paintings. Oil is the most important medium in traditional art for a reason. Colors are vibrant, easy to manipulate, you can have a limited palette and make hundreds if not thousands of color combinations and after the painting is done, the painting is easy to frame and care for.

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

I paint mostly oils; they give me great satisfaction, so I've stuck with them.

There are times when I feel like getting dusty and go get my pastels. The colors always stay vibrant and having direct contact with my colors makes me feel more intimate with my art. I wonder if that is the reason my pastels are mostly portraits and figures; I want to feel a direct connection with the people on my portraits even if I don't personally know them.

Child and Cat
(click to see original image)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I am sure there will be a time when I'll have to explore new horizons. Right now, I have so much to learn about the few mediums that I work with.

In the future, I hope I can try sculpting. Art has endless possibilities and so there are many tools one can experiment with, but time is a big issue for me and one has to learn how to control the anxiety of wanting to learn new techniques.

I have painted in the realism genre from the beginning and I feel comfortable doing so. I don't have plans to change genre now but like I said, there will be a time to explore some day.

Who or what inspires you most?

Nature. Nature in all ways and shapes.

I always try to paint something that makes the viewer feel happy and relaxed. I want my collectors to feel only positive feelings when they hang my art on the wall.

I like the way that nature delivers its greatness, and the fact that we are part of that greatness makes me feel so inspired.

I am not against artists that paint sarcastic or pessimistic images because I know negative experiences are real and a part of daily life. But if I can get away from bad experiences with my art and in the process show people the beauty of life, then I prefer to focus my energy on that direction.

In Profile
(click to see original image)

What does procrastination look like for you?

I have a furious battle with time. I know it's a lost battle, because time never stops, never waits for us to be "ready", but the time I spend painting or the time I spend learning about art I try to enjoy it as much as possible.

Unfortunately, I procrastinate a lot; procrastination to me is me trying to do a lot at the same time and ending up doing nothing.

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

I try to have my painting materials at hand and ready. I paint around the same hour of the day and I guess that works a lot for me, because when that hour comes and I am not painting I feel like something is wrong.

Reflection
(click to see original image)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I trained myself in painting from life in the beginning, but lately, because of time issues, I paint mostly from photographs. I sketch from photos and when a sketch feels right, then I paint it.
Sometimes my sketches and paintings are a combination of many references. Sometimes just one reference does it and other times they are a combination of a reference photo and a bit of imagination. It comes spontaneously sometimes, but I mostly prepare what I am painting with care.

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

Keeping positive. As business, art can be very difficult and one can easily get frustrated. I see art as something I am accomplishing. Every time I create something I stare at it for a while and I feel happy with myself. For me, painting is not a job, it is life and so I live through my paintings.

Feeling good with what you do helps a lot. I compare my beginning works with what I paint today and I see a difference. My paintings now have more light in them and it's because now I feel confident and happy with my artwork. In the beginning, I was trying too hard, trying to be a little more classical and I ended up stressed many times and that showed up in my early works. They look grayed and darker.

Resting
(click to see original image)

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

There is always something new to learn. There is infinite information about painting techniques, selling techniques, different, new mediums to learn, but I am trying to focus my curiosity on more personal interests now.

I question myself more about feelings and emotions. I am trying to learn things about other cultures. I live in a multicultural city and that grew my curiosity. I want to know what make us similar but at the same time so different. I hope after I satisfy my curiosity, I can give much more meaning to my art.

So I could conclude that I am learning to be more human through my art.

What makes you happiest about your art?

Everything makes me feel happy about my art. The whole process is fascinating. I take the canvas or paper and prepare it, knowing that I will turn that white colorless piece of space into something... hopefully something beautiful.  The best part is when someone sees what I created and likes it, sometimes likes it so much that they buy it and after they receive the painting a few days later they feel good with what they got. Most of the time, I get emails letting me know that the painting was better than what they expected. That energizes me to continue with the next painting.

Thanks, Marco!

© 2015 Sophie Catalina Marine

Thursday, June 25, 2015

DPW Spotlight Interview: H.F. Wallen

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

To enter to win H.F.'s painting, "Beautiful Eyes" 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:

Growing up, art was a form of escapism discovered at a very early age.  I don't remember a time when I didn't draw, paint and sculpt whenever possible.  Even if all there was was mud, I found a way to impose some design or image with it.  In school, I was the kid sitting at the back of the class drawing on the margins of my workbook instead of doing the assignment.

I sold my first piece in fifth grade - it was a clay sculpture of a unicorn; I think I got $20.00 for it.  When I was young, I nearly always received encouragement for my art, so attending college as an art major came as a bit of a shock.  Don't get me wrong, no one came out and told me I didn't have talent, but, the prevalent message was, "Don't do what you're doing, do something else."  So I changed career paths, and gradually packed away my art supplies.

Beautiful Eyes
(click to see original image)

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

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

A few years ago I hit a couple of significant bumps with work and I began to reconsider art as an option.  I did a search for drawing classes in my area, just something to get my feet wet... Instead I found a beginning oil painting class at the Classical Art Academy in Boulder, CO.  Best decision I ever made!  For the first time ever, I had found an instructor who taught what I needed to know; basically how to paint the way I envisioned my paintings should look.  Mostly it was just good basic materials and tools information, but Michelle Philip is also an incredibly kind teacher with a good eye for seeing what needs to be fixed.

About two years ago, I made the decision to move to Iowa to free up time and resources to concentrate on my art.  Since then, I have received several awards at local artist shows, and had a show featuring my paintings at the Witter Gallery in Storm Lake, IA.  Last fall I decided to give Daily Paintworks a try and things have been going really well since - nothing is as encouraging as finding people who really appreciate your art!

Pike Place Market Entertainment
(click to see original image)

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

Oil paint has definitely become my medium of choice, I love the color intensity and versatility. I've tried, but I don't have the patience for watercolor, and acrylic paint always seems sticky to me.  As for other art mediums, I have to be careful; I'm kind of an art supply junky, every time I see some new product or or new twist on an old one, I want to try it! I actually had to pack up all my non-oil-painting paraphernalia and store it in the garage to keep from getting distracted.

Who or what inspires you most? 

For inspiration, I look at a lot of other artists' work: Jill Soukup, Qiang Huang, Tibor Nagy, Elena Katsyura, the list could go on and on... I seem to fight a constant battle to stay loose in my own work, so viewing artwork that has a sense of mystery to it helps remind me what I'm aiming for.

Lake Isabel
(click to see original image)

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

I'm easily distracted so procrastination is an issue. TV is the worst; the minute I turn it on I forget everything I wanted to get done, so I try not to turn it on. Basically, I'm learning that it's true, if you paint every day you get better.  I don't manage to paint quite that often, but I'm working on it.  I have discovered that if I go too long without painting, it takes a lot longer to get back into it and do anything that isn't complete garbage.

Green Eyes
(click to see original image)

The flip side to this is that avoiding burnout gets tougher, painting small helps, most days I can finish something in one sitting, other days - nothing comes out right and I have to stop and walk away to preserve my sanity.  If I just feel stuck, I pick up a pallet knife instead of a brush - some of my best paintings have been done almost entirely with a knife.

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Finding ideas for paintings isn't usually a problem, finding time to paint even a fraction of the images I want to capture is the real challenge.  I have thousands of photos to work from, and I want to add still life and plein air painting this year - I have my pochade box all packed and ready to go!

Willow Creek Bridge
(click to see original image)
What do you feel you are learning about right now as an artist?  What makes you happiest about your art?

I love painting. It can be incredibly frustrating, and it's never easy, but however the end result turns out, I've still accomplished something. I'm always learning, always seeing new things that would make a great composition. I just hope that I can keep that going, but I have so far to go, I can't really imagine an end.

Thanks, H.F.

© 2015 Sophie Catalina Marine

Thursday, June 18, 2015

DPW Spotlight Interview: Alex Warnick

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

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

From Alex's DPW Gallery Page:

Hi! I'm a natural history artist from southern Indiana. Ever since I was a kid I've had the desire to draw and paint nature so that I could bring the "outdoors" inside and surround myself with the things that fascinate me. I graduated with an art degree from Brigham Young University Idaho with an emphasis in scientific illustration, and now I get to spend every day combining two of my favorite things, painting and the natural world! Life is good! (click to view bio)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting:

As early as my memories go, I remember painting and drawing.  I used to sit next to my older brothers as they drew pictures on poster boards for school reports and copy every pencil stroke. Under their tutelage I learned to draw cardinals, giant squid, turtles, etc.  From then on I was always playing artist, cutting out cardboard frames complete with plastic wrap “glass” for my drawings.  The same passion for art continued through high school and into college.  Now I get to play artist for real, and it’s the fulfillment of a childhood dream.

Kiskadee
(click to see original image)

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

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

Having recently graduated from college with an art degree, I have no stops under my belt.  Just one exciting start!

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

For years I painted with watercolors and oils.  Only in the past six months have I switched to acrylics, and I love the medium.  In college I began as a landscape painter, switched to figurative painting, and then finally settled on a scientific illustration emphasis.

North American Nuthatches
(click to see original image)

Who or what inspires you most? 

Ever since I was a kid I have been surrounded by people who are fascinated with nature.  I remember my dad transforming a room of our house into a model of the local ecosystem (complete with a fish tank featuring the flora and fauna of a nearby river, dragon fly larva that hatched and flew free in the house, and frogs that found their way into adjacent bedrooms…it was short-lived).  Like my dad I also have a desire to bring nature inside and surround myself with the things that fascinate me, but instead of fish tanks, I use fine art.  Over the years it has become a passion that has transformed into a lifetime pursuit.  That’s why I paint.

What does procrastination look like for you?

Bird watching!

North American Eiders
(click to see original image)

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

For me it’s important to have a system of accountability.  I find it’s helpful for me to have a blog or an Instagram account or Facebook account that features my art.  If for no other reason than it compels me to constantly create new artwork for the sake of those following what I do.  It’s also a wonderful way to receive feedback during the creation process.  Nothing gives me a greater boost of motivation than when I learn someone loves what I’m creating!

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I’m constantly combining different elements in nature, a certain flower or a certain tree with a certain bird, etc. until a light bulb goes off and an idea for a painting is born.  It’s usually a combination of colors that inspires me first.

Wood Duck Hen
(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’m constantly trying to paint something that perfectly expresses the aesthetic message I have to share with the world.  What makes painting exciting is that I don’t fully know what that aesthetic message is yet.  It motivates me to keep experimenting and keep progressing.  Some day I’ll put my paintbrush down at the end of a painting and give myself a high five because I finally did it!

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

Gamut masks, light-fastness in pigments, and painting mediums.

Melospiza Sparrows
(click to see original image)
What makes you happiest about your art?

One time my sister said to me, “You can’t have a Wood Duck.  You just can’t.  But you can paint a Wood Duck.  And then you have one.”  My art is my way to collect all the things I love in nature, and make them mine.  It brings me a lot of happiness to have the ability to do that, and to be able to help all the other people out there who have seen the loveliness of a Wood Duck and just wished they could have one.

Thanks, Alex!

© 2015 Sophie Catalina Marine

Thursday, June 11, 2015

DPW Spotlight Interview: Suzanne Woodward

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

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


From Suzanne's DPW Gallery Page:

I have lived most of my life along the coast of Maine. I love the ocean with its jutting ledges, desolate beaches in winter, crashing waves, and raging storms. All provide a mood to be captured or a story to tell. I am inspired by the natural beauty found "right in my own backyard." I enjoy exploring and translating these the beautiful scenes that are part of my everyday life into paintings. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I've liked drawing ever since I was a kid, but never did much with it until I was a young adult. I did some traveling while taking a break from college and lived in New Orleans for a while. I would go down to Jackson Square everyday and hang out with the artists. I even tried my hand at "face painting" during Mardi Gras and made money doing it. I had a lot of fun and when I got back into school, I switched my major to art. My grades immediately improved because I had found my passion and I was on my way. It's been my true North ever since. 


Marshland in Spring
(click to see original image)

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

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

It hasn't always been on the front burner for me, but I've been able to do it in some capacity along the way. In my 20s, I worked full time and took the occasional night class. In my 30s, I got married and had kids. I had this grand idea that I would "get lots of painting done" while the kids took their naps. Of course, that didn't happen, but still I managed to take workshops and classes which helped me to keep my brushes wet, so to speak. As my kids got older, I found myself with more time and energy freed up for my art. Then I started going on painting retreats along the Maine coast.  In the last five years, I've worked on getting my art out into the community and have had numerous shows in my area. I honestly feel as though I'm just getting started. I'm really excited to see what happens next. 


What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I've worked in printmaking, photography, drawing, collage, oil painting and watercolors.

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

I took an oil painting class in college and struggled badly. Nothing I did worked out. I had more immediate success when I took a watercolor class and was much happier with the results. So I spent the next 25 years painting with that medium. I switched to acrylics a few years ago and haven't looked back. I'm getting the color saturation and intensity with acrylics that I just was not able to get with watercolor and I'm having a lot more fun.

The Island Way
(click to see original image)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I want to give oils another chance. I was so frustrated with the medium in college but that was a long time ago and I've learned so much since those days. I think I could actually do something with oils now. 


Who or what inspires you most?

I love the effects of sunlight as it moves over the landscape.  Living in Maine and having access to beautiful scenery along the coast is incredibly motivating to me. I especially resonate with Monhegan Island and make it a point to get out there every summer. I also love the Outer Banks in North Carolina. I've had some great workshop instructors too - Carl Schmalz, Carlton Plummer, Guy Corriero and Don Andrews. Lastly, having a core group of artist friends to paint with has been important to me over the years - it's a lot of fun to gather and paint.  


On the Way to Monhagen
(click to see original image)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Facebook!


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

At first, I carved out time for painting by taking a class. That guaranteed that I would get 3 hours in per week, at the very least. That's when my children were young. As they got into middle school, I declared Wednesday mornings as my painting time in addition to my weekly class. It doesn't sound like much, but I was consistent and produced a lot of paintings when I followed that schedule. Like anything else, it's a matter of making it a habit. Now I paint almost everyday. Joining dailypaintworks.com also made a big difference for me. I don't post every day, but I am painting a lot more because I love uploading my work and getting feedback from other members. I love doing the challenges too. One of my favorites was the "Donut Challenge". I went down to The Cookie Jar and bought my favorite treat - a cream-filled, raspberry turnover. Painting it was fun, but eating it was even better!

Winter Afternoon
(click to see original image)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I enjoy painting on site, but with my schedule, I can't always get outdoors. I always carry a camera and when I see something that looks intriguing, I take a ton of pictures. I take photos almost everyday. Having a lot of reference material available keeps the ideas coming.


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

I love taking workshops and classes. I get so much from watching someone else paint - I study how they apply the paint, how they mix color, how they make brushstrokes, how they "solve problems", what their process is and what their thinking is. Looking through art books is another motivator for me - it gives me a fresh perspective on what's possible.



Manana Island - Noon
(click to see original image)

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

I'm learning to get bolder with color and tackle new subject matter. I aspire to say a lot with a little, but still have a long way to go. Over the past few years I've been learning how to integrate my art into social media outlets. DPW has been instrumental in that department. I love the community here and the support we have. The thought of building a website has always been daunting to me, but having a site on DPW has given me the confidence to move forward online. I've recently created an FB page, a website is in construction (finally!) and I have joined Twitter. 



What makes you happiest about your art?

I love how I feel when I'm involved in a painting. I don't think about anything else. Time slips by and I'm totally engaged. Of course, it doesn't always go smoothly and I'm not always happy with my results, but when I'm successful, it's an incredible feeling. There is really nothing else like it.

Thanks, Suzanne!

© 2015 Sophie Catalina Marine

Thursday, June 4, 2015

DPW Spotlight Interview: Patty Voje

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

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

From Patty's DPW Gallery Page:

I grew up on a small hobby farm in rural Cottage Grove, Minnesota, where I developed a love for farm animals and nature - two of my favorite subjects to paint. My real job is Creative Director and President of Spot Communications. I like spending my free time "unplugged", oil painting as often as possible. In an effort to become a better painter in 2015, I'm challenging myself to crank out 200 paintings, which I'm finding is no small feat while holding down a full-time job, but I'm determined. :) (click to view bio)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I've always loved art. I have an amazingly bad painting of Elton John that I did in 7th grade, :)

Summer Chicken
(click to see original image)

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

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

I've never allowed myself to consider art as a career. I took the more practical path of "designer". After art school, I got a job in advertising and pretty much walked away from fine art until my late thirties. Then I'd get too busy with work and take more time off. A few years ago, I finally returned and currently I'm painting more than I ever have before. Though I work full time, I'm determined to become a better painter, and the only way I can do that is to churn out a ton of paintings. So, that's what I've been doing - painting every day.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I tried watercolor but found it too unforgiving. I've also tried acrylic, but really prefer the buttery feel of oil painting. I also flunked a pottery class once.

Agnes
(click to see original image)

What are you looking forward to exploring?

I really admire painters that have mastered architecture. I'd love to be able to take on more complex compositions. I have a painting trip to Italy planned for next fall, I'm hoping to work on my street scenes skills before I go!

Who or what inspires you most? 

I've always been inspired by artists such as Edward Hopper, John Singer Sargent and Anders Zorn. I also have to add Rosa Bonheur to that list - that lady could really paint farm animals! Which brings me to farm animals. I grew up on a hobby farm and farm animals will always have a special place in my heart. That explains why so many cows make their way onto my canvas.

I'm also inspired everyday by the art I see on Daily Paintworks. There's a lot of amazing talent out there and I love to bask in the genius of others. Lastly, I have to say, my mother. I'm the youngest of nine kids. My mother used to set up her small metal easel and tackle a painting with 9 kids under foot. My memory of her is a constant reminder that I'm capable of accomplishing more in a day than I think I can. :)

Don't Fence Me In
(click to see original image)

What does procrastination look like for you?

I don't procrastinate when it comes to painting, I have just a small window everyday to paint. I look forward to it too much. I never take that time for granted.

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

I read the book "Daily Rituals of Artists" and realized that most people just need 2 to 3 hours a day to really accomplish their artistic goals. I've also given up housework and TV, that frees up a wealth of time!

Princess Crabby Pants
(click to see original image)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

My paintings are either done on location or from photos that I have taken, so I take a lot of photos. I'm always on the lookout for a handsome herd of cows, a rolling hill or fresh bouquet.

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

I still consider myself new at this, so I'm always looking at different colors, brushwork and technique. I read a lot of art books, there's always new methods to try. My favorite is Alla Prima by Richard Schmid, not a cheap book to pick up, but worth every penny.

Puppy Love
(click to see original image)

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

After studying with teachers the past few years, I currently find myself, quite horrifyingly, learning on my own. I feel like I've taken off the training wheels and am learning to trust myself to build on what I've learned, incorporate what works for me and see what rules I can break. The Daily Paintworks site has been an immense help and source of inspiration for me.  I love seeing what others are doing. I love reading about their process. I also appreciate the feedback I've received on my work. It keeps me motivated. There's so much to learn, I'll never be done!

What makes you happiest about your art?

I love the process. I'm happiest painting. Sometimes paintings work, sometimes they don't, but the process of painting is definitely my happy place. :) I also love hearing from people who have purchased a painting. A woman who recently purchased a lilac painting shared a story of why lilacs mattered to her. It was a lovely note and made my day. It's wonderful to know your art is appreciated.

Thanks, Patty!

© 2015 Sophie Catalina Marine