Thursday, August 27, 2015

DPW Spotlight Interview: Lorraine Lewitzka


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


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


From Lorraine's DPW Gallery Page:

Music and art are my favourite things. I've been drawing since I was a little tacker, and became a fashion artist at 16, (encouraged by my older arty sisters and married an arty husband) so I love to paint people and faces, catching them in a moment of engagement and personal involvement in their lives, but in fact, as a drawer will have a go at anything, always striving for that elusive factor of "beauty." (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

At sixteen I was fortunate to be employed as a trainee fashion artist in a city store where I ended up illustrating not only fashion, but drawing from life watches, handbags, refrigerators, rings, and all sorts. However, it wasn’t until my children went to school some twenty years later that I started painting for something to do! As my husband was already a successful oil painter, I tried watercolour. We used to put on small exhibitions for friends in our home.

The Last Two Coffees
(click to view)

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

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

I won a travel award  in 1990, specifically for an inexperienced artist who wished to study elsewhere. As a consequence, I had the privilege of workshops with four watercolour artists in Maine after which I took a three week summer school at the Slade London for life painting. Gosh! What can anyone learn in a couple of months? The trip did improve my self-belief and gave me lots of information on which to work when arriving home. My family joined me at the end for a tour of the UK. My husband and I also have a Russian-Chinese friend who has imparted much knowledge and help over the years. I have painted pretty consistently.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

Mostly a figurative painter, I began with portraiture in watercolour and pastel. In the early days, I experimented with still life or anything that could be drawn; boats, buildings, flowers and figures were the main subject. Ten years ago, when oils were the favourite, cafes and my “coffee girls” were received with some success. In recent times, since a low toleration of solvents, I have ventured into acrylics and waterbased oils. I have also done a lot of charcoal, wash and pastel work, mainly figurative, portraits, musicians, dancers, etc.  I enjoy working on toned paper with line, wash and pastel.

Morning News
(click to view)

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

Watercolour is always there... frustratingly alluring! I like to switch mediums and enjoy layering acrylic and painting in oils.

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I still feel I haven’t “found” my language in watercolours so they will always beckon. Being a graphic artist, even for a short time, means I’ve depended on line a lot. The challenge for me has been to express mass, tone and colour... actually, that’s everything! :) Above all, my aim would be for an for an emotional feeling and beauty in an art piece.  I guess that could mean anything!  (I remember standing before a Degas drawing in Boston and bursting into tears. It was so beautiful!) Because I have inherited a massive box of pastels from our now closed art shop, I know I must get into pastels. I also want to paint outdoors more.

Who or what inspires you most?

At the moment, some DPW artists! And also of course, any painters around the late 1800’s; particularly, Degas, Sargent, Manet, Vuillard, Whistler, Sorolla, the English watercolourists, and Brabazon. Brabazon’s ability to capture essence in landscape is totally inspiring.

Playing in the Shallows
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Non-inspiration which is why I joined DPW in the first place, as a discipline and challenge. I’ve always worked most days, but as a respected teacher told me once, if one doesn’t paint from life, one grows stale and doesn’t grow as an artist. I have been guilty over past years of staying in the comforts of the studio too much.

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

Having a starting time and a place to work, and even thinking the night before about the next day’s project. I have also found if I draw lots from photos, a point of interest can occur.

Patiently Waiting
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Looking at what people do has always interested me and noticing their interaction with each other. I also look up art books, have a scrap book of appealing paintings for inspiration and I have a pile of photographic reference which interestingly is often made up of close-ups that seem to suit paintings for this website.

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

Trying a new subject like, recently, cats, offers new challenges both in drawing and interpretation. Painting in series, and watching Youtube artists. It always amazes me, especially with watercolour, which is so technique driven, how someone can come up with a new approach! Teaching a class helps too; it makes one study and prepare!

A Day Out
(click to view)

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

I love Pissarro’s quote in the book “Depths of Glory” by Irving Stone that, “art develops slowly.” (Whew!) Having now painted so long, and realising there is so much more to learn, it can sometimes be a slog, but I know there is nothing else I could do. I feel to go back to basics, especially drawing and painting from life, whatever the subject. It doesn’t matter as it keeps one fresh and emotionally involved and responsive from the heart.

What makes you happiest about your art?

The way you can escape into the studio and the hope for the next painting makes me happy; the lovely people one meets and shares with along the journey, and of course, the occasional piece when you surprise yourself, and wonder how you did it!

Thanks, Lorraine!

© 2015 Sophie Catalina Marine

Thursday, August 20, 2015

DPW Spotlight Interview: Anna Lisa Leal

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

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

From Anna Lisa's DPW Gallery Page: 

Starting at the age of 3, I could be found spending endless hours drawing in the shade of the backyard tangerine trees where we lived on the Texas/Mexico border. I continued to draw through my college years recreating images from magazines and doing portraits on request. I did not consider art as formal study. Eventually, I allowed my love of art to be put set aside for other more "practical" pursuits. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I've been painting and creating since the age of 3. At that time, one could often find me painting under the shade of the tangerine trees where we lived on the Texas/Mexico border. Though the processes or frequency have changed over the years, one thing holds true, painting is pure bliss and happiness. Even on the days that are not "good" painting days, I'm still learning something. Most importantly, I'm honoring the gift I was given.

Butterfly's Treasure
(click to view)

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

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

I've painted off and on through the years, but definitely more off up until about 2011. During college, I drew portraits to make a little money. Though I didn't choose art as a formal study, I continued to paint periodically during my corporate career building years. In 2011, I reached a point in my corporate career and home life where I could more fully devote time to painting. When I say that my home life recently reached a point where I had space for painting, it's because I was closer to the finish of the design and installation of the gardens in our current home. My priorities in life are changing and I was suddenly looking for new avenues of creation. What I found over time is that I transferred my love of gardens and nature to the canvas.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

When I recently began painting in earnest, I started with watercolor. Following that, I went through an Acrylic phase. In April of 2014, I was introduced to soft pastels and quite literally, I haven't put them down since! I love the tactile nature of pastel painting. The immediacy of the medium and ease of set up and stopping is very alluring, especially when outside commitments call. I also have to admit I seriously enjoy the immediate gratification!

Though I initially returned to my college roots painting portraits, I later found a passion for transferring flora and fauna to the canvas and paper.  One may notice I deliberately use the word "flora". I'm very intrigued with cactus. Living in Texas, we have quite a few. I like the resilient nature of cactus and the seemingly endless varieties of agave particularly. I have quite a few in my own gardens. My favorite is "Mr Ripple".

Breakfast: Saguaro Side Up
(click to view)

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

I'm somewhat reticent to say that I'm so enamored with pastels that I've not picked up a brush to do an entire painting in almost 2 years. I am beginning to feel watercolors calling me again though.

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

Most recently, since I've been hearing the watercolors calling, I'm considering doing more pastels on watercolor paper vs sanded/textured papers. Or maybe, watercolor and homemade texture/ground. I'm also interested in layering print or printed image with pastels. I know...pastels pastels pastels...can't get enough of them!

Aloe at Sunset
(click to view)

Who or what inspires you most?

I am always most inspired by the art of nature. I am drawn to pattern in vegetation and animals. Finding inspiration in a combination of the two is even better.  I fell in love with Georgia O'Keefe's work when I was very young. I never thought I would be one to paint "florals". I was quite surprised when painting flora became a passion.

What does procrastination look like for you?

I'm a really driven person (or perhaps it's really a nice way to say obsessive). Once I start doing something I'm passionate about, I do it wholeheartedly. Procrastination with my art usually follows a difficult painting session, or precedes an anticipated challenging session. It's kind of like I have to let go of the negative energy about the past or the future and live in the now. I'll clean, garden, exercise, visit family and friends and generally avoid the easel. I find sometimes this self imposed break is needed. Sometimes, it just looks like doing art related business work - paperwork, reading, studying. So it procrastination or mindfulness - - or self delusion that there is actually a difference in this case?

Days End Marathon
(click to view)

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

My art time is sacred. I get very grumpy when I don't get to have time to devote to my artwork. I have to plan out my "other activities" to ensure that I can ideally get some uninterrupted weekend time. If that doesn't work, then it's evenings during the week. If I'm traveling on business, a sketch book and small pastel set go with me. I always have my tablet when I travel on business, so sometimes it's about scrolling through my images finding new ideas and jotting them down.

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

For my flora paintings, I have a large cache of digital images from visits to various public gardens, parks, and from my own gardens. I also frequent the local retail botanical nurseries with my camera. I periodically scroll through these images and save off those I'm particularly interested in. I'll crop them at different places and/or pick out pieces of images to put together by composing in thumbnail sketches. I generally tend to work in a series - for example xeric/cactus, water gardens, or animals in these settings. What images are not interesting to me today, may be interesting in a few months, so I keep the lot.

Rusty Spurs
(click to view)

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

It is most important to my art that I spend time outdoors. Since my primary focus is nature, being in nature keeps me stay in touch with my muse. I also think yoga is a big help to being able to access my creative mind. From a more business or traditional sense, I find it very important to stay engaged with my local art groups and take workshops to keep me percolating with ideas. Watching videos, trolling Pinterest, and reading art publications helps too.

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

As more opportunities come my way, it's about taking risk and overcoming my fears that I'm "not enough". I think we all sometimes feel we're "not enough", so if we all feel that way, then what do we have to lose?

What makes you happiest about your art? The simple act of creating a thing of beauty is the way I find gratitude and peace. If my work makes someone smile or brings them a bit of joy, I'm over the moon.

Thanks, Anna Lisa!

© 2015 Sophie Catalina Marine

Thursday, August 13, 2015

DPW Spotlight Interview: Angela Ooghe

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

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

From Angela's DPW Gallery Page: 

I am an artist living in Miami. I strive to paint expressively, using compositions of bold shapes, strong lines, and the relationship of areas formed by light and darkness. I use these elements to form images that depict common visual experiences in new and interesting ways.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I have dabbled in painting for as long as I can remember, but I became serious in 2005.  I was living in New Orleans, and had to evacuate for Hurricane Katrina.  I spent a lot of time in a motel, both stressed and bored, and began painting portraits of other evacuees to pass the time.  When I was finally able to return to New Orleans, I found that I had fallen into the habit of painting as a way of keeping my bearings in the aftermath of the storm.

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

No, I started painting in earnest rather late, but I've painted continuously since then.

Nude on Red
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I've experimented with many things.  I've worked with oils, acrylic, watercolor, pastel, ink, various printmaking techniques, and many drawing mediums. I've painted portraits, still lives, figures, landscapes, still lifes, and abstracts.

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

I primarily paint in oils, and sketch studies for paintings in charcoal.  But I haven't ruled anything out, and I'll often return to a medium or subject that I haven't explored in a while.

Swimmer
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I would like to do more printmaking in the future. I find that the restrictions that force me to plan far ahead are completely unlike my usual alla prima technique, and therefore refreshing.

Who or what inspires you most?

I'm inspired by studying the paintings of great artists.  I also find inspiration in my subjects, especially the human form.

Yellow Chair
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

I don't really procrastinate when it comes to painting.  It's something I look forward to every day.

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

I paint full time, so it's usually all my other activities that I need to make time for.  I like to paint in natural light, so I try to work my schedule around maximizing that.  In Miami in the summer, that means getting work done before the afternoon thunderstorms darken the room.

Girl in Pink Robe
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I honestly don't know.  I'm inspired by new techniques, people I see, things I see on the street, or the smallest detail of any of these. From all these, and sketches, photos, and other references to them, an idea for a painting somehow forms in my head. I then try to get it down on the canvas.  Often, the idea will change as I'm painting it, and I wind up with something else.

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

I will often explore new media, tools, and techniques that will help me express what I want to put on the canvas. Each change requires mastering a new subject, so I'm continually challenged by the work. I'm often encouraged when I find an aspect of each new skill that advances what I'm striving to express.

Rachel 2
(click to view)

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

Lately, I've been working on taking a holistic approach to each work, and focusing on the overall impression of the painting, rather than obsessing over every detail equally.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I'm happiest when I look at a finished painting, and it works.

Thanks, Angela!

© 2015 Sophie Catalina Marine

Thursday, August 6, 2015

DPW Spotlight Interview: Rachel Thompson

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

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

From Rachel's DPW Gallery Page: 

Creating art is as much an adventure as it is healing. Primarily self-taught, I take each opportunity to paint as a way to appreciate life and not to take myself too seriously. I have had the fortune to transition from painting for fun to painting full time in 2013.

My favorite things: dancing, long talks over coffee, hiking, cooking, laughing and spending time with my loved ones. (click to view bio)

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

Being recognized for my artistic abilities throughout grade school was a pretty common occurrence. However, I knew no artists, personally, and in my particular school community in the deep South, artistic talent was almost seen as a weird growth or mutation - sure, it's fascinating for others to look at, but after that most don't really know what to do with it. So, I let the compliments roll off my shoulders and focused on what I thought really mattered: the three R's, athletics, and trying to convince my brothers to let me join in on their adventures.

However, after school hours, I was able to experiment and play with art supplies to great lengths. I was, more or less, my mother's shadow. She was in charge of the children's ministry at my parent's church. I loved to be with her more than I loved playing on my own, so I stuck close and watched. When I was old enough to help, I did. My mother's trust in my artist abilities at those early ages still astounds me. I remember painting and designing 4'x5' signs. Painting life size lions and designing coloring pages for use in her ministry. This was my first glimpse of how art could be used to benefit others, and it was intoxicating to feel like I could contribute in a significant way.

Blue
(click to view)


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

I considered going to an art school after high school, but once again, I persuaded myself that it wasn't a viable option. I was rather good at school, so I didn't abhor the idea of having a more pragmatic career, especially when I congratulated myself on being so "responsible" with my future.

I do not regret my path, or the liberal arts education in English (major), Teaching and Psychology (minors) that I received. The life lessons were invaluable. Besides taking one art class, I didn't touch art for those 4-5 years. Sure, I would gaze fondly at the decorated walls as I walked to class. But, for the majority, I was too busy exercising my other academic and extracurricular muscles. My husband had no idea I had any artistic ability until we were in our second year of marriage. It was a fun surprise.

He was on a challenging military career path, which left me time and resources to work an internship at a local counseling center while applying to grad schools with hopes to become a Marriage and Family Therapist. Finding free time on my hands, I decided to pick up a paint brush and try my hand at recreating some of our wedding photos in oil. I was shocked and pleased at how my eye and skill had developed despite the long absence of creating. Imagine my husbands shock. He didn't even know I could sketch a stick figure. Online, I came across the daily painting movement and decided to try my hand at it for a while to practice my drawing skills, using acrylics for their quick drying capabilities.

Peacock
(click to view)

I shared my daily creations on Facebook and they started selling. After taking a hard look at my life and what I really wanted for myself, my family, and my future, I decided to put grad school on the back burner and keep pursuing the journey art was taking me on. This was in 2012. Since this decision, there have definitely been stops and starts along the way for reasons such as cross country moves, deployments, illnesses, and just plain lapses in discipline. The transition from treating art as a hobby to seeing it as a profession and something I do even when I don't feel inspired, was a difficult challenge. There are always things clamoring for my attention, tempting me to focus on a different responsibility. To be fair, the pendulum has always swung back to art, but the key for me now is to keep it consistent instead of swaying with my inclinations. I have a relationship with art. It is as much a commitment now as it is a passion.

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

I have experimented with most traditional mediums. I have been reserved with my experimentation with watercolor and mixed media, probably for the same reason I have an aversion to baking. Yes.  I have a bit of an irrational fear of baking. In my mind, baking resembles chemistry and one small initial error in measurement can wreck the entire "batch".  The errors are hard to undue.  So, I tend to gravitate toward mediums where I have room to make mistakes and plenty of them.  Pastels are another beast. I love how they look and would be very interesting in exploring more but the texture of chalk makes my skin crawl. I have a hard time even listening to someone use it on chalk boards or sidewalks. It's a quirk I don't know how to change.  If I'm being honest, with the exception of pastels, my hesitancy with other mediums probably stems from my ignorance of them. I did enjoy india ink and charcoal. I'm a hand smearer, so I ended up inadvertently ruining most of my charcoal work. When I'm creating art, I have very little situation awareness. I've found a friend in acrylics. It meets my needs and quirks quite nicely for the moment.  So for now, I'm sticking with them.

Gypsy
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I would love to get back into oils. While I enjoy painting from photographs, I am very drawn to plain air. I have not transitioned to the stage of painting what is literally around me in my real life. I can foresee myself wanting to in the future, but for the present, art is a way for me to engage my imagination and appreciate things, places, and elements that I don't have the privilege to interact with on a daily basis. That is not to say that I don't appreciate what is before me, but I would rather interact with my surroundings than document them. However, there are days when I walk by a scenic view or see the most delicious pear growing on tree by the sidewalk and I wish I had my paints and easel with me.

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

When my art has lost its "fresh" factor, I ask myself why. Most days, it's due to lost perspective, and I'm no longer creating for the right reasons. The administrative side of being an artist is much the same as an entrepreneur's. Possessing no natural gifting in this area, I tend to laden my shoulders with hefty amounts of pressure and unrealistic expectations to be "successful". I've had to continually define and redefine what a "successful" artist means to me. Apart from getting my head on straight again, there are three techniques I employ to get me excited and inspired. The first thing I do is make sure that I am exercising, eating right, drinking enough water, and getting enough sleep. The second thing I turn to, if I am at a loss for what to create, is to pick a person in my life, and make something as a gift for them. When I think of other people, dozens of ideas spring to mind of their tastes and perspectives on life. I love using my art to strengthen relationships and bless their life. It fuels me. The third technique I use is to finish unresolved paintings. When there are too many loose end paintings lying around, I'm quickly discouraged. Seeing a completed painting always inspires me to create the next.

Reflected Sails
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

I wish, with all my might, that I was one of those people who didn't have a problem with procrastination. I'm quite envious of them. Discipline has always been difficult. I could easily sit back and waste my day away sipping on coffee while conversing with a friend. The true culprit of my procrastination, ironically, is planning. I love to plan and organize. I love to think of big picture concepts and then work out all of the outliers. I get caught up in my head, and before you know it, the morning is gone, I'm still in my comfy clothes, and I have nothing to show but a long and detailed Pages document outlining the rest of my life. I've learned to turn off my brain, shut down my emotions, and just paint. No excuses. No thinking. No justifying. Just do it. At the end of the day, I'm always happy when I have painted.

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

The simple answer: I paint what I think is fun. I paint what I like to look at. I paint what brings me life.

Along my artistic journey, Morguefile.com, has been one of my go-to friends. I was first introduced to the site at the beginning of my one art course in college, and I've been hooked since. I've made strides to improve my own photography skills since I believe this is the direction I'll explore later with my painting references, but for now, I am painting images that speak to me. I love the challenge each image presents and its potential. I am particularly drawn to animals since they are alien yet relatable. It is a dichotomy that I find fascinating. But I don't limit myself just yet to any particular subject matter.

Thor
(click to view)

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

What am I NOT trying to learn? I'm currently enrolled  in virtualartacademy.com and taking their online courses. Wow---I highly recommend them to anyone wanting to learn about creating art. They are in-depth, thorough, well constructed, clear, and challenging, but in a good way. I'm learning a lot of the things I missed out on by not attending an art school. It is perfect for my situation.   Specifically, Notan structure (composition of tonal masses) has been something I'm now paying more attention to in my own work. Apart from actual art concepts and techniques, I'm learning social media, marketing, but most importantly, I'm learning discipline. I'm learning to keep my priorities balanced and in the correct order with the hope that I will appreciate where I am, where I came from, and where I am going.

What makes you happy about painting?

Seeing the finished painting is a great moment. Sometimes, I can't fathom how the painting journeyed from start to finish. I only have a vague idea of what I would like the painting to look like at the beginning, and the finished piece is always different to some degree. I appreciate the difference because even though the painting stemmed from me, it also has an identity apart from me. The actual act of creating is also wonderful. The world fades away and all that exists is the paint and creation. Creating helps me grow because it challenges me and brings forth so many different aspects and insights to solve the problems on the canvas before me. I love the intuitive nature of this problem solving process. Is it exhausting? It can be, but it is fulfilling. However, I would have to say that what brings me the most joy is seeing other people appreciate my work and display it in their home. I'm vulnerable in my art. To be able to share my vulnerability in a tangible way and have it play a role in someone else's life brings me the greatest sense of satisfaction.

Tanzanian Runaway
(click to view)


Thanks, Rachel!

© 2015 Sophie Catalina Marine

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