Thursday, February 11, 2016

DPW Spotlight Interview: Gary Bruton

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

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

From Gary's DPW Gallery Page:

Landscapes, still lifes, and birds are my usual muses. The way light attaches to objects is what initially gets my attention. Then I begin to look at the form and colors and composition. When painting, I try to recognize what first sparked my interest in the subject and convey that on to the canvas. For still life and landscapes, I prefer to paint from life. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting?

Painting for me was a natural transition from drawing.  When I was in my early teens, I discovered my mother's tole painting oils and supplies in our basement.  Using reference photos, I began to paint birds, landscapes and occasionally reproductions of other artists.  I then began to experiment with watercolors, using dry-brush and doing very detailed paintings, mostly of birds.

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

I had several starts and stops.  Throughout high school, I dabbled off and on with oils and watercolor and continued to do so in college.  While in college, I took a watercolor class and an oil painting portrait class, but my major was psychology, so I devoted varying amounts of time to art while in undergraduate and graduate school.  This on-and-off continued after college, but as my career as a psychologist became more time consuming I painted less and less. That all changed Labor Day weekend of 2012.  I got the urge to paint and pulled out my acrylics and did an 8"x10" landscape from imagination.  That weekend I did a couple of other smaller pieces.  I sort of made a resolution to myself that I would try and do some artwork daily, even if it was just drawing an apple sitting on a table.  It was around this time that I found DailyPaintworks.com.  The "philosophy" to paint small and paint daily as a method to quickly grow as an artist resonated with me.  I soon enrolled in a plein air painting class, and I haven't looked back.      

Western Skies
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

As I mentioned, oil and watercolor are what I really cut my teeth on.  With watercolor, I started with drybrush, but in the class I learned to do more wet-into-wet and go with the looser more spontaneous (and anxiety provoking) side of that medium.  Then I tried chalk and oil pastels and acrylics later on.  As far as genres, I've done very realistic, abstract and currently a looser realism.

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

All that has really stuck are oils and to a lesser extent acrylics.  I feel that rather than to try and develop mastery of several media, I have more than my hands full with oils.  The ease of blending, the texture and richness of oils keep me coming back.  I do especially like the depth of color that can be achieved with acrylics, so I still occasionally paint with them.  Also, acrylics seem to just lend themselves to abstract/nonrepresentational art in my opinion. So on the occasion I paint abstracts, I generally choose acrylics.  At least for my abstracts, pure color and less mixing is customary, and acrylics are great for painting in that style.

Wren on Snow
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I hope to just continue to grow with oils primarily and acrylics to a lesser degree.  There really is a lifetime of learning to do with any medium.  As far as genres or styles, I would like to continue to paint realistically and incorporate more looseness, but precise looseness.
 
Who or what inspires you most?

Not to sound cliche, but nature.  Definitely nature far more than anything else.  There is an endless supply of inspiration in nature.  I think every time I look at a tree or the sky or a bird my mind begins to attend to the the highlights as they contrast with the shadows and all the subtleties in between in color and value.  That said, the work of other artists inspires me a great deal as well.  Seeing paintings where another artist successfully created a suggestion with an economy of brushstrokes absolutely inspires me.  

Agave
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Procrastination looks like me holding a garden hose and spray nozzle and cleaning off my patio, me vacuuming or taking out the trash.  Chores seem to be my go-to distractions when I "should" be painting but I'm resisting it.  At least I tend to get something accomplished, even if it's not a painting.

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

I very consciously schedule painting time.  I have a general idea of my schedule for the week and have several two or three hour spaces each week dedicated to painting.  I tend to be pretty disciplined that way, and when it is designated painting time, I paint.  Sometimes I need to do a little psyching myself into it.  Remembering once I start painting, literally two minutes in, I'm going to completely be in the zone and loving it.  That never fails me.  When I start painting, everything else falls away.  My focus is only on the painting.  Painting is a very meditative endeavor.

I See a Squirrel
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Lately I've been painting a lot of birds.  And for birds, I will look at either Morguefile or PaintMyPhoto and just let something catch my eye.  For landscapes and still life paintings, ideas pop in my head all the time.  I will go to the market and see an eggplant and just want to capture that deep rich purple.  Or I'll be driving along and notice the way the clouds and mountains so beautifully compliment one another.  Also at the grocery store bunches of flowers always give me ideas for paintings.  Sometimes I'll experiment a little with compositions.  Looking at the flowers, turning the vase around or rearranging the fruit and then looking at the subject through the frame of my phone camera.  Then once l have the composition the way I want it, I'll paint from life.    

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

Things I use to keep my artwork fresh include the self-instruction, "keep it loose."  "Just suggest it," in reference to some object in the painting.  Something a teacher told me a long time ago that has stayed with me is, "paint with as large a brush as you can, for as long as you can."  He would tell the class, "don't noodle it," meaning don't overwork the subject.  Those little adages go a long way toward keeping a painting spontaneous.  The other thing I would have to say is working from life. In working from life, it's easy to keep a painting fresh and alive because of the play of light and the three dimensional depth.  Another technique, if you will, that I sometimes use is to allow no more than one hour to complete a small painting.  With that time limitation, I can't deliberate too long and that quickness of brush work translates to a painting that is fresh and vibrant.  The energy of the brushwork always carries through to the finished piece.  Along with those things, keeping a limited palette with a few colors and using only one brush or at most two or three for the entire painting. A nice flat or bright brush can achieve almost everything you want to accomplish, and staying with one brush further reduces the thinking/deciding process and allows me to stay in the intuitive, right-brain mode that results in the most satisfying paintings.

Placid
(click to view)

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

I think I am getting more and more comfortable trusting my intuition and just putting the brushstroke down and seeing what happens.  Another saying, and this is me paraphrasing, but something to the effect of "creativity is a series of mistakes and art is knowing which mistakes to keep."  I'm learning to trust my gut rather than think it out too much.  Painting daily really helps with that process.  The brushstrokes become much more second nature.  What used to require conscious effort now just happens automatically.  I have a long way to go, and grow, in that direction.  Another thing about painting that makes it so fun is no matter how much you grow as an artist, there is always a lot more growing to do.

What makes you happiest about your art?

A few things come to mind.  First the process of painting itself.  Being in the flow and watching a painting develop is exhilarating.  Second, to look at a piece that has turned out well and having a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment makes me happy.  And lastly, when someone else appreciates my artwork, that's just icing on the cake.

Thanks, Gary!

© 2016 Sophie Marine

Thursday, February 4, 2016

DPW Spotlight Interview: Jeanne Bruneau

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

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

From Jeanne's DPW Gallery Page:

Jeanne holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Moore College of Art & Design. Following graduation, she pursued a career in graphic design and marketing. While she primarily uses design software to facilitate her work, she always keeps paper and pencil handy to draw quick thumbnail sketches when exploring concepts. Jeanne's ability to sketch and compose designs quickly provided her with the foundation necessary for her transition to and current passion for plein air pastel and oil landscape painting. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

After spending so much time working on computers for my job in marketing, around fifteen years ago, I took a few watercolor and pastel classes at a local art center and got hooked on making art as an alternative to the rigidity of my work at the time, designing catalogs. Once I went outside to paint plein air, making art became a real passion.

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

I work full-time so there are periods when life gets in the way, especially in the winter, when I have a hard time getting motivated in the studio. That's when I resolve to try a new medium or technique.

Blue Beetle
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I thoroughly enjoy plein air painting in oil or pastel. Painting from life—learning to observe and translate to canvas—has been invaluable in advancing my painting skills. I've been playing with acrylics, too, just having fun with bold color.

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

While I love the immediacy of pastel, I'm concentrating now on oil painting because of the relative ease of framing during plein air events.

Santiago Flower Market
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

In oils, my goal is working larger than 16" x 20"; in acrylic, still need to learn their unique properties to use for the best advantage.

Who or what inspires you most?

First, my sister, Patricia Bucko, a self-taught artist whose work is full of whimsy and joy. Then there are artists I follow on Facebook, mostly painting in an Impressionist style, many plein air painters. The common thread is their ability to capture light and shadow and bold color and brushwork.

Blue Velvet
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Generally, I procrastinate over upcoming show deadlines, causing myself unnecessary anxiety and stress. But it all manages to get done somehow.

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

Setting a goal to enter an upcoming show or plein air event, or participating in online challenges is a motivator though the goals need to be realistic—you can't do every event that comes your way. Plus, having a home studio set up even if I can only paint for a half-hour before work.

Brunch at Campbell's Place
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

In plein air, I'm attracted to contrast, color, and patterns, and aim to include a strong focal point.

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

I'm always studying other artists' techniques to determine how they might improve my work. Playing with toned backgrounds, experimenting with varying the paint thickness with painting mediums, square vs. rectangle formats, and choosing a variety of locations such as urban scenes.

Winter's Retreat
(click to view)

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

Still learning to 'see' and correctly capture values. When I mull over failed paintings, they generally lack a good value structure.

What makes you happiest about your art?

Besides the meditation-like feeling I get when painting for a few hours feels like minutes, if a subject I paint connects with someone, that gives me a thrill. I painted a little foot bridge in a local park; a woman saw it and told me her son's Scout troop had built the bridge many years ago -- so she bought it for him. Connections like that, even if they don't lead to sales, are very satisfying!

Thanks, Jeanne!


© 2016 Sophie Marine

Thursday, January 28, 2016

DPW Spotlight Interview: Doug Carter


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

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

From Doug's DPW Gallery Page:

Started drawing and painting at a young age; had my mom's artistic touch and her encouragement. Sadly, stopped painting as a teenager because, "it wasn't cool." Started painting later in life again when my wife signed me up for lessons with a local artist. Fell in love with art all over again and have never stopped or looked back. People ask me. What do you like best about painting? I always respond with the same, "it's very therapeutic to me." (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting?

I first started painting at a very young age. The problem was I didn't finish many because I didn't know what I was doing. I did, however, do a lot of drawing from other art and also from real life and outdoors. I feel when I really started painting was when my wife surprised me one birthday with art lessons with a very talented local artist. It was then that I learned all the techniques needed to make a good painting. I have been painting ever since and enjoyed every minute of it.

Forest Sky
(click to view)

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

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

Painting was always a passion and a hobby for me as a teenager. I am self taught and never went to art school as a career. To be honest, I never considered it a career until later in life when I started selling art regularly. At that point I did take my art career more seriously and took various workshops with other artists like Chong Quang. Not only is he an excellent teacher, he's a very great artist; he inspired the class with the business of selling art and was very instrumental in pointing me in the right direction. 

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I have painted in watercolors and acrylics. I have even taken a worship with watercolor artist Joseph Zbukvic. What a very talented artist! I learned a great deal from that experience.  I enjoy trying other mediums because you can always learn from them. However, I feel I am the most comfortable with oil paints. 

Upward
(click to view)

Which one has stuck and which one has fallen away?

I feel like oil painting has stuck with me because of the challenge of the medium, the reward and the frustration of finally conquering it. I sometimes paint with acrylics to do quick canvas toning and color studies for reference. I personally don't care for the blending ability of acrylic colors nor the darkening of the color once dry. 

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I would like, if time permits, to explore watercolor painting further as well. 

Dumped
(click to view)

Who or what inspires you most?

I get a lot of inspiration from other artists and their artwork. You can really learn a lot from looking through the eyes of other artists and what they see. I'm also inspired by creation in nature and the world around us. I get inspiration by how the light hits a certain object, reflects off of it and how it affects the things around it. I especially enjoy painting sunrises and sunsets because they only last for a short time. I feel like it's a gift from God, just for us, for that very day. I even have one painting named "God's Paintbrush" of the sunset. 

What does procrastination look like for you?

Life's distractions and sometimes frustrating situations will cause dry spells. I feel like inspiration is the thing that breaks procrastination and sometimes you just have to start. Sometimes you just have to find a way to break it by getting around other artists and there encouragement.

Merry Christmas
(click to view)

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

There is a group of wonderful artists that get together every Saturday to paint. I have found this to be the most effective way to find time to paint on a regular basis. It also helps to have a separate room in your home I call my studio for painting anytime I can.

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your painting?

I do a lot of local traveling. I find myself taking a lot of pictures of scenes that catch my eye. I find it's usually the light and the contrast of objects that attract my attention along with things that are unique: old objects, cars, trucks forgotten buildings, barns and streams. 


Coasting
(click to view)

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

One thing that has always impressed me about oil painting is the fact that the technique of a good painting up close is the mastery of brush strokes and color combination. How a few strokes and a flick of the wrist could be so powerful when you see the painting as a whole. This is what I have always strived for with mixing colors and thoughtful application of the brush to achieve fresh results. One way I avoid burn out is by changing the subject matter from, say, a seascape to a still life. Basically, paint something completely different than what you're currently painting.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I would say it's the positive feedback from viewers, collectors and fellow artists. I'm always fascinated to hear what other people say and see in my art. Also, listening to them talk about it and how it makes them feel. And that brings me to what makes me the happiest about my art, to see God's hand in my work because I know it's a gift from him.

Thanks, Doug!

© 2016 Sophie Marine

Thursday, January 21, 2016

DPW Spotlight Interview: Bethany Fields

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

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

From Bethany's DPW Gallery Page:

Bethany is an award-winning emerging artist working primarily in soft pastels. She studied color and lighting design theory while attending University and after graduating, worked as a designer and on-air talent in Burbank, CA for Plastic Cow Productions, focusing on layout, photography, and design work for their internet DIY network, CraftTVWeekly. Bethany's photography and designs have been published in numerous national magazines including Country Living Magazine. Her creations have also been seen in the book Stitched Jewels (Lark Books). (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

Art has always spoken to me and been a part of my life, albeit in many different forms. Both my grandmothers were artists and when I slept over as a child, paints and markers, crayons and pencils were always in abundance. My sister and cousin and I would sit and paint little rocks and play with stickers. We would carve on wood with nails, shape wire, play with yarn, and trace Peanuts characters with my Grandma’s projector. We grew up playing with art and we probably wasted tons of paint. Nevertheless, art supplies kept appearing and we kept creating. My parents were equally encouraging. I always had a camera in my hand, snapping pics of squirrels and clouds. They encouraged many different artistic attempts. I had ballet, tap, twirling, piano, guitar, oboe, and voice lessons. I was involved in school musicals and plays and my mother spent many a night sewing me costumes.

As I grew, my artistic tendencies crept solidly towards singing, dancing, and acting and in college I earned my BFA in Acting & Directing from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. I had huge aspirations to be a broadway star and felt called to the stage and the spotlight. I still loved to create but felt it was more of a hobby and my acting studies dominated my time and effort. I was comfortably “crafty,” visiting local arts and crafts stores all the time... I have a penchant for learning and am very visual. If I could watch someone do something, I could usually do it. I loved to decoupage bottles and boxes, make ornaments for my family and friends, doodle in sketch books, and glue millions of dried flowers all over everything. It’s funny now to think of the little things I made, but my hands were always busy. I was still very dedicated to my acting, involved in theatre at the local, regional, and professional level, and didn’t realize all of it was training me for a future in fine art. As an actor, you must learn stage lighting and color. As a theatre student, you take classes in set and prop design, costuming, and lighting. You learn much about the color wheel and how light affects shape and mood. I wouldn’t use this information as a dedicated painter for about eight years, but I carried the knowledge with me.

Prairie Snow
(click to view)

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

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

Meeting my husband and having three children changed and molded my artistic dreams. Broadway couldn’t have me anymore! My life evolved into caring for my children and as a young mother, I found a void of artistry in my life. Diapers, play dates, juice cups, and Bob the Builder dominated my everyday. I had begun a photography business after working professionally as the on-air talent, host, and designer for Plastic Cow Productions, in Burbank, CA, working in the scrapbooking and jewelry industry on a craft DIY web show. I loved scrapbooking and taking photos of my children and expanded my business to take photos for other families. I had also designed a line of children’s jewelry and began selling it on Etsy.com. Through Etsy, I purchased my very first original pastel from an artist in Jerusalem. I was captivated by it. The rich texture and color were exquisite and I thought, maybe I should try that... remember? I can learn anything! I’m crafty.

In 2007, I bought a set of Nupastels and my first works were on a brown paper bag. I sketched apples and bananas and tried to remember how to model with value via my lighting design teachings from University. I bought Bill Creevy’s book “The Pastel Book” and also found the web forum at wetcanvas.com and joined the pastel forum and read and painted and read some more. I loved it but my children were one, three, and seven. It was so hard to devote time when I was pulled and caring for young little ones. I decided to put my pastels away and wouldn’t pick them up again until 2014.

That summer, we had some personal issues in our family that left me feeling drained and depressed. I am a busybee and I found myself distinctly un-busy. This affected my mood and happiness and therefore, our family and my children. I remembered my little box of pastels in the closet and lo and behold, there they were, still bright and happy and just waiting for me to pick them up again. I resolved to be a “daily painter” - working on small little 5x5s as much as possible and posting them on Instagram (@bfields). It was a daily escape from having to feel any emotions other than the joy of working with my hands, thinking of color and value, light and pattern. My children were older (thirteen, ten and seven) and I could do these small paintings while they were at school. I sought out and joined my local pastel society (Lone Star Pastel Society) and quickly met several artistic souls that encouraged and inspired me. Our society had a show at the end of 2014 and I was approached to be in two more shows at the time in other galleries. I was so encouraged and haven’t stopped since.

The Glory
(click to view)

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I’ve been painting seriously for about a year and a half, so I am all about experimenting. I haven’t taken any strict art classes or workshops but do love to study art in books and magazines such as the Pastel Journal. I have played with acrylic abstracts and have also painted with water miscible oils. I’m hoping in 2016 to work in traditional oils. I still have a photography business and work mainly with families and children. I consider myself lucky in that photography has taught me much about composition and framing... something that helps with my paintings.

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

Pastel is my favorite medium. It’s so immediate. Time-wise, I don’t have to wait for it to dry. The tactile qualities of the pastel sticks and paper are very soothing. I want to get my hands involved. I am still a professional photographer; I’ve photographed babies, weddings, airplanes, cars, children, families, etc. I’m moving away from it being my main source of income... I’m spending much more time in my “studio” (ahem, guest bedroom) and less time out on location. I am not pursuing theatre professionally though I am very involved in our local community theatre (Amarillo Little Theatre). It is one of the oldest community theatres in the United States and the productions are amazingly top-notched, well produced, and bursting with talent.

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I would love to paint more with oils. I love their rich quality. I am impatient and don’t like unfinished projects looming over me so it will be challenging to my personality. It will take a lot of diligence and dedication but I am excited to learn!

Miss Havisham's Roses
(click to view)

Who or what inspires you most?

The most cliche answer is always “nature.” This doesn’t make it untrue. I live in the Texas Panhandle, probably one of the more flat, treeless places you could live. I am sometimes vividly jealous of artists who live in areas with beautiful hills, trees, valleys, and streams. What they don’t have are my expansive and amazing Texas skies and endless land stretching as far as the eye can see. We have unrivaled sunrises, clouds, storms, and sunsets. Watching a thunderhead roll across the 360 degree landscape is breathtaking and awe-inspiring. I am always exclaiming and gasping for my children to, “Look at the color of the sky! Look out the window! Look, look how beautiful!” They probably roll their eyes, but I hope they do notice. We are so blessed with abundant beauty if we only look to see.

What does procrastination look like for you?

I deplore procrastination. I wake up, take my children to school, drink a couple of cups of coffee in the quiet of the morning, I’ll look at my email or check Facebook. I really dislike how much social media takes away from the day. I’m trying to be very intentional about not getting lost on the internet. I love to read, research, and study so can get quickly sucked into surfing the internet. It’s all good intentions - checking out a new artist I’ve discovered, reading articles, or researching new materials. However, sometimes all of this research is an avoidance of what needs to be done, which is paint.

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

I don’t have a studio so I either go to my dining room to paint or my guest bedroom. Whatever works! I still love to paint small... the largest I’ve done to date is around a 16x20. Most of my paintings are 9x12 or smaller. I paint daily as much as possible. I’ll make sure that my paper is prepared the day before so I don’t have to wait around in the morning for underpaintings to dry, etc. I purchase all my supplies online as the closest art store that carries pastel supplies is in Santa Fe, NM and try to make sure that my inventory of colors and papers isn’t running low.

Texas Sky
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Most of my work is from reference photos. I want to explore more plein air but it is very difficult to be a stay at home mom with young kids and do this. I don’t like going and standing in a field by myself and our landscape can be fairly brutal. We have high winds and very exposed locations... it’s usually either hot and very windy or cold and very windy... we recently had wind gusts up to 80mph... hard to paint in that! I drive around a lot and am not afraid to go down an unexplored road to see if there is a shot I like. I have hundreds of thousands of photos being a professional photographer. However, I am not naive to the limitations of a photograph. I am constantly observing nature when I am shuttling my kids to ballet, or swimming, or football practice. I have a pretty good memory but nothing beats being at a location painting in the moment. Another goal for 2016! I’ve just joined a local plein air group and am hoping to go out with them... having comrades along is encouraging.

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

Since I’ve never been taught how to paint, I’m all about trying new techniques. No one ever told me the “rules”of pastel so I didn’t learn any! I’ll think of an idea, wonder how it will work, and try it. It’s intimidating to think every work must be an improvement from the last or a complete success. When you realize and truly grasp that it’s just paper, it’s very freeing. Lately, I have been experimenting with various underpainting techniques. I am also working on less fussing with small details. I tend to love more impressionistic, slightly abstracted landscapes. I also gravitate towards saturated color and values. I want my paintings to be happy because they make me so happy while I’m painting them. I don’t believe that the only true art is gritty and dark. I don’t want my paintings to speak sadness, despair, or any of the en vogue emo-like trends. I don’t think it’s popular right now to paint in beauty. It’s either perceived as cheesy or naive to the world’s suffering. Personally, I believe beauty is an overcoming of the darkness. It’s the ultimate victory over despair and pain, loneliness and suffering. I want my art to say the same thing I tell my children... “Look! Look how beautiful!”

In the Light
(click to view)

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

That I have so much more to learn. Who was it that said, “The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize, the less I know?” This would probably discourage some, but I am a dedicated learner. I am excited every day to wake up and create something beautiful that day. Yes, sometimes I’m frustrated. I have a vision and when that vision doesn’t translate on my support... UGH! These instances are strengthening though... pushing me to solve the problem, figure out what went wrong (what went right?)... how can I fix it? I am also learning to be more confident. Don’t stop in the “ugly phase” - keep going and you may surprise yourself.

What makes you happiest about your art?

That I have the blessings to be able to do it. Living in a privileged country and being a stay-at-home mother who has the time and freedom to devote to something the World wants to say is frivolous. I get to play with art during the day and people actually want it! It’s still new and exciting to me. I have many goals and I hope many adventures and experiences to come. I always said I was crafty and it was a big deal emotionally to finally call myself an artist. I was afraid and ashamed I didn’t live up to the word.

I’ve had many creative and artistic endeavors. Some say you must choose *one* and if you jump to another interest? You’re just flaky and noncommittal. “You don’t have what it takes.” I don’t believe this. I love the arts... all of them! I am so thankful to have had art in my life from a very young age. It was pivotal in my growth and development. It was always the path to take and every turn led me to this moment. Whether I was singing or dancing, acting, playing an instrument, photographing my children, memory-keeping, designing jewelry, writing or painting, my art path was always a woven tapestry. Teaching my children and the next generation is important to me. We paint on rocks, sing and dance, play with stickers and pretty paper. We string beads and paint on canvas, take photos, and tell stories... just like I did when I was little. We look around at the world... at the shadows, and the colors, and the beauty. Whatever path they choose and whatever turns they take, I hope they will take the time for art and to always... “Look how beautiful!”

Thanks, Bethany!

© 2016 Sophie Marine

Thursday, January 14, 2016

DPW Spotlight Interview: Marie Fox

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

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

From Marie's DPW Gallery Page:

Painting is my passion. I’m wild about the act of painting and the subject of the female figure. Now I paint about strong women. In Greek mythology, women were as powerful as men. They were gods. I like to think, and my collectors seem to, that my painted women are their descendants. (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 knew I loved art when I chose to major in Art History at college. After moving to California, I became an artist by pursuing my passion to make things - by sewing hand-dyed silk into clothing, sculpting marble and creating pottery. All the while I was earning a living as a museum Art Conservator. A decade later, I felt a strong need to return home in New England where I was soon inspired to tell stories of my childhood in a folk art painting style. My career soared when the White House commissioned two paintings, and The Today Show, Country Living Magazine, Panasonic and Toyota featured my work. As a folk artist, I sold many paintings and over sixty thousand prints internationally.

Beach Nap
(click to view)

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

So why did my tiny folk art farm women grow big and swap out their gingham dresses for spandex bikinis to become the women I paint now? I simply knew that I no longer needed to explore the past and could pursue my lifelong love of the human figure. I’d drawn figures but never painted them until seven years ago. I’m passionate about the architecture of the human form and specifically the curves and angles of the female body. So painting strong women is now my heart’s desire, as was folk art earlier in my life.

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

I love both oil and acrylic, but now use the latter because it’s virtually odorless and dries fast. After my folk art period and before my current women, I created many still life paintings in oil. I’m convinced that all those studies of pears and apples trained me quite nicely for the rendering of female shapes!

Untitled
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I find that I sometimes make art that looks or feels as if I’ve done it before. Of course, each piece is exciting to me as I paint it, but I may feel that the outcome is not new, or unexpected in a good way. Now, I have a strong desire to push into new territory and am eager to explore that place, wherever or whatever it is.

Who or what inspires you most?

Matisse and Picasso are certainly at the top of my list, the first because of his lyrical line and the second for the sculptural feel of his figures. Both were prolific and experimental, and I love their push into abstraction. In college I also admired Early Italian Renaissance artists such as Masaccio and Piero della Francesca.

Face of Woman
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

It looks like unanswered emails and a neglected garden. The room in my house that knows me best is my studio.

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

I tend to daily tasks in the morning so I can paint the rest of the day.  A half hour into my time in the studio, I feel like Alice who's fallen down her rabbit hole into a magical place outside of time.

Orange Barrette
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Mostly by looking at photos of art models to find a pose that inspires me.

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

It’s a curious thing, but when I tell myself to paint for myself alone, I often come up with something new or intriguing. However, if I think of creating art just to sell or for others to admire, I stay stuck in what I’ve been doing.

Daydreams
(click to view)

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

As a figurative artist, I need to know anatomy, so I take classes and study it in books and online. I find that a better understanding of the structure of the human body is liberating. The slowly acquired knowledge allows me to be more inventive and expressive with my painted figures.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I absolutely love the process of making art, frustrating as it is. I know I’m privileged to be able to do what I most enjoy doing. It’s also an honor to have people admire my work and collectors purchase it. That makes me happy!


Thanks, Marie!


© 2016 Sophie Marine

Thursday, January 7, 2016

DPW Interview: Gina Pater

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

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

From Gina's DPW Gallery Page:

Hi! My name is Gina Pater and I've been an online artist for the past seven years. I love being able to try and portray God's beautiful creation through paintings of landscapes and other types of subjects. I am not particular to one subject but enjoy a variety as well as the style of paintings I do. Thanks so much for taking the time to view my work and always feel free to contact me with any questions! (click to view gallery)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I have always been involved with art in some form for my entire life.  As a kid and teenager, I would spend hours in my room drawing various subjects over and over.  I remember the art courses in high school playing an important part, as it allowed me to explore a variety of mediums and techniques.  In 2005, I began painting murals in people's homes and it expanded from there!

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

I did have various stops and starts in my career.  I am married with two kids, and they always take first priority in my life.  They are currently fifteen and twelve and in school full time, but during their summer break when they are home from school, I always put my brushes down to take that time with them.

My painting career had been swinging by through the past few years, but a year and a half ago, my husband was struck with viral encephalitis, which is a swelling of the brain, and relative to the patient and treatment, the permanent results can vary dramatically.  It can take anywhere from six months to two years to recover from.  So for approximately a year, I put my brushes away and my family was my only priority at that time. Through much prayer and by God's grace alone my husband healed and it was a valuable experience for us all.  It was only this past fall I got my brushes back out and started again, and was amazed at how therapeutic the painting and artistic process is!

Little Clock
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I have an appreciation for all mediums, from the simplicity and beauty of a simple pen and ink piece, all the way to the variety and texture of thick oils and other mediums. Personally, I had began with basic pencil and pen sketches, moved to acrylic, and later oils.  I laugh when I still think of when I started oils, I was so amazed and completely frustrated at the drying time!  (Obviously having patience is not one of my strong points, haha!)  But because I wanted to conquer oils, I stuck with them over and over and ended up falling in love with the texture, vibrancy and process.  Oil is now my medium of choice for most of my work and probably always will be!

As for genres, way back when, most of my pencil and pen sketches were of people.  I loved the variety and expression you could portray in a personal subject.  When I began painting and still to this day, my love for a variety of genres from landscapes, still life and abstracts might almost be my downfall, I want to work in them all.  The challenge of portraying realism in still life is so intriguing to me, trying to convey the beauty in a landscape is always fun, but most recently, allowing myself the freedom to work in abstracts has been really enjoyable and allowed me to loosen up in my technique.

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

I think oils and acrylics will always be my mediums of choice, depending on the subject and technique I'm working on at the moment, and the beauty and vibrancy you get from bolder colors is just naturally part of my work.  I tend to get bored way too quickly, so I will most likely keep working on still life subjects and continue to explore abstracts, as they both challenge me in different ways.

Blue Agate
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring? 

I look forward to exploring abstracts, but will most likely maintain some work in realism as well.  Both present challenges and beauty that I love working with, and due to my annoyingly curious nature (there was never a Christmas present I didn't peek at), I'm sure somewhere down the road I'll be pulled into other areas as well!

Who or what inspires you most?

I'm amazed at the variety of areas inspiration comes from!  I'm always amazed at how many amazing artists there are out there, and the variety of their subject matter and techniques.  Also, the deep colors and vibrancy in sunsets and the sky, the age and "feel" of vintage objects, not knowing what they've seen or been through, as well as deeper meanings behind the subject matters I choose, for example, the clocks I've done.  I look at them and not only see a symmetry in them that I like, but also what they represent: time which is limited, sometimes repetitive, never retrievable and unknown in what it holds.  And sometimes I just choose a subject either for it's simplicity, color combinations, humor, or sometimes just because!

Bowl of Pears
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Ahhh, procrastination... I'll get back to you on that... kidding!  I would get nothing done without coffee, chocolate and diet coke.  Procrastination is an ever evolving, always there, monkey on your back that just keeps hanging on; at least for me!  Sometimes I'd rather even CLEAN THE HOUSE rather than paint... BLAH!!  Personally, I really feel my procrastination is fueled from fear.  Fear of failure, fear of not being able to portray what I'm trying to, fear of criticism.  But if I choose not to paint and create because of that fear, I still fail.  And that type of failure, to me, is unacceptable. If I'm going to fail, I'm at least going to fail trying.

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

For me, scheduling and force do NOT work.  I need to be inspired, to feel the desire, to want to create it.  Or else it just comes forced, because I 'have to'.  And I think sometimes that force can take out some of the beauty and emotion from your work.  So I basically paint when I feel it; when I'm inspired by something and need to get it on canvas.

Cabin #3
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Purely by chance.  It's a glance at an object that stirs something in my soul, a sunset or sunrise that entices you to capture the colors, the clouds floating over the sky that makes you realize how far they've come and how small you really are in this world.

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

As much as I love realism and working to get your piece as close to the real thing as possible, I'm finding freedom in abstracts and allowing everything else to dictate the process instead of focusing on exact details.  Sometimes I get sick of working in acrylics and oils, so I pull out something else, and although I might not list it or make it available for sale, I do mess around with other mediums just for fun.

The Clock is Ticking
(click to view)

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

At this point, especially as an online artist, I feel like it's an ever-evolving beast in keeping up with the online world in trying to market yourself and your work.  It is fantastic that you're able to get yourself out there worldwide, but within that ability, if you are really working towards making art a career, you have to keep up with who, what, where and how artwork is being sold, as well as what type of work is going at the moment.  And also just being confident and comfortable in yourself and your work.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I think what makes me happiest about art is the satisfaction in being able to turn a blank white canvas into something that a client wants and loves to hang on their wall. Being able to portray feelings, images, and colors that evoke different responses in others is extremely satisfying.  And knowing I can create something they hopefully will see and love for years to come is very valuable to me, as well as doing my best to keep it affordable. There's something very special about having an original painting on your wall vs. a print, so I do my best to keep my prices at an affordable point.

Thanks, Gina!

© 2016 Sophie Marine

Thursday, December 31, 2015

DPW Spotlight Interview: Olga Wagner

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

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

From Olga's DPW Gallery Page:

Olga Wagner, is a North Carolina based artist whose work is held in private collections all over the world. She attributes her talent and exposure to different mediums to her parents, Jan and Iraida, who early on instilled in her love for classical art. Before settling in the United States in 1986, Olga's family lived in many countries where classical art was highly treasured and promoted, including Russia, Poland, and Germany. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I was born in Soviet Union and grew up in Poland and West Germany, where art education was and still is highly valued. Most of my classes had emphasis on drawing ability and thus my early art specialty leaned towards graphite and colored pencil work.


Original Contemporary Cow
(click to view)

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

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

Yes, from high school through the beginnings of my career, I gave up on art in order to study and grow in the field of engineering. I finished college and relocated to North Carolina when I took a job in telecommunication field. In 2007, after a loss of one of my beloved cats (Mr. Bigglesworth), I took to graphite pencils to create his portrait and my art career got jump start.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I have experimented with pencils, pastels, acrylics and oils and have done everything from realism to abstract work.

Contemporary Owl
(click to view)

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

Even though I still have a soft spot in my heart for graphite pencils, most of my work now is done in oils. I just love the buttery feel of the paint and the way that I can massage the paint on the canvas. Also, the color selection is just amazing.

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

Right now, I am happy to stick with oils, but I am always looking to explore new surfaces or texture options.

Handsome Rooster
(click to view)

Who or what inspires you most?

As you can tell from my work, I am inspired by animals. Having volunteered for years in a no-kill cats shelter, I have met so many wonderful cats and kittens with their own stories and all looking for some love in this world.  I am moved by their loving, generous nature and try and reflect those emotions through my paintings.

What does procrastination look like for you?

Sitting down on the couch after coming home from work is a big no-no for me. Once I am down, it is hard for me to get motivated to get into my studio.


Original Contemporary Tabby Cat Kitten
(click to view)

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

I normally have the gessoed boards and/or canvases ready to go on the easel for the next day. In addition to that, I have my palette ready to go with the tubes of paint within easy reach.

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I have a vast collection of animal photos. In addition, I keep up with the photos of adoptable animals that are posted by local shelter. If the eyes talk to me, it is guaranteed that I will paint that animal.

Original Contemporary White Cow
(click to view)

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

I LOVE trying new colors. You never know which color will ultimately end up as part of my favorites. In addition, I love experimenting with different techniques. Anything from textured ground to palette knife work.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I love playing with colors and I love getting messy!  It makes me feel like a kid in a candy store.

Thanks, Olga!

© 2015 Sophie Marine

Thursday, December 24, 2015

DPW Spotlight Interview: Rachel Dowd

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, "Blooms #5" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Rachel's DPW Gallery Page:

I've always been an artistic type. My mom has tons of stories of the artsy messes I made as a kid. Truth is, I love all kinds of art. Sewing, drawing, painting, crafting, decorating, pottery, you name it. I've just recently discovered oils and I LOVE it! I don't know why I was so afraid of them all this time. All the solvents and chemicals and non-water soluableness made me put it off for way too long. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I’ve always had an artistic “bent” ever since I can remember, but I didn’t start painting seriously until 2013.  I haven’t been painting that long at all, but I feel like I’ve finally found what my soul has been searching for all these years.  I am soaking it up!  I really felt empowered to start painting seriously after I read Carol Marine’s book “Daily Painting”.  I felt like it was ok if I didn’t paint large paintings, and it was ok if I messed up, and it was ok to experiment and try new techniques.  All I had to do was just keep on keeping on and my talent will progress.  Her book really helped me let go of those last few hangups in my mind that were preventing me from giving it my all.

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

When I started painting, I used watercolors.  The luminosity of watercolor is what attracted me to it, but I found I had to plan too much to make my watercolors look the way I wanted.  There was no spontaneity in it for me.  So I dropped painting for a few years.  It was hard to pick up anything artistic after that while our family was growing and three beautiful little girls came into my life.  In 2013 I decided to get serious with painting and I decided to try acrylics.  Mostly because they were cheaper and cleaner to use, but I found myself getting more and more frustrated with them.  I couldn’t make them do what I wanted and they dried way too fast.  So out of frustration, I stopped painting for a while until I finally took the plunge and got into oils.  Oils to me were like a breath of fresh air.  I’ve been painting non stop ever since.  Although, being a mother and homeschooling definitely causes temporary stops every now and then.  I always come running back.

Blooms #5
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I think I’ve experimented with nearly every medium since I was a child.  Pastels, colored pencils, pencil drawing, watercolor, acrylics, oils, you name it.

My genre of choice right now is florals.  I can’t get enough of them.  I also have interests in landscapes and portraits too, but that will come in time.

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

All have fallen away, except for the oils.  Love them oils.  Sometimes I’ll take one of my sketchbooks on an outing and sketch in pen and watercolor, but not very often.  And I never get tired of flowers.  I’m waiting for the day that I decide that I’m ready to try something different, but it hasn’t come yet.  Until then, I will be happy painting flowers indefinitely.

Genuine Friendship
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

Lately, I’ve been intrigued with water soluble wax pastels.  I’d really like to try those out, mostly just for fun. I like the idea of a solid stick of color melting into a painting.  I’m not sure if that’s how they really work, but I like the idea.

I really want to start working on portraits, but that is a little too intimidating right now.  I used to draw portraits all the time and loved it, but painting them is a whole different skill altogether. Someday...

Who or what inspires you most?

Some of my favorite artists are Dreama Tolle Perry, Erin Fitzhugh Gregory, Erin Hansen, David Mensing, and Emily Jeffords. John Singer Sargent and Joaquin Sorolla have a special place in my heart too.

Color and light seem to inspire me the most, especially high contrasting light.  The soft evening light and the way it makes everything glow stops me in my tracks.  I love impressionism and it never fails to amaze me how a few well placed brushstrokes can register in someone’s mind as a specific object. Our brains are incredible! Impressionism also allows each person’s imagination to “fill in the blanks” and see what their heart wants to see.

Obviously, I love flowers.  They are, without fail, happy and joyful and they just lift the spirit.  I think each flower has a unique personality and I love capturing that in my paintings.  My hope is that the joyfulness in my floral paintings is able to encourage someone and lift their mood, if even for a moment.  

Color is in Everything
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Procrastination for me is usually a half-finished painting on my easel that will sit there for a week because I’m stuck somewhere on it and I’m scared that I’ll ruin it.  Eventually the need to paint overrides my fear and I’ll finally finish it.  I’m usually very relieved and happy with the finished product and kicking myself for not finishing it sooner. Or glad it’s over and I can move on to something new.

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

Well, being a wife and a mother to three children always takes first priority, but I’m learning more and more lately, that my art takes a close second, so I try my best to make time for it.  I’m a better mother and person in general when I make time to paint.  I am calmer and happier and more emotionally present with the people who need me.

Blooms #6
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I paint whatever “speaks” to me.  The shimmer of gold, the color of light filtering through a rose petal, the sweeping lines of stray leaves and branches, or the glow of white hydrangeas in the sun. I try to never paint something just because I think everyone would like it.  Those paintings don’t have “life”.  If I stay true to what I’m led to paint, even if it’s not my best painting ever, it is still alive and saturated with emotion.  I love that.

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

The more I paint, the more I try to loosen up and show some energy in the brushstrokes.  I try to make the painting and the brushstrokes themselves both equally beautiful.  It totally thrills me when I take a chance and drag my brush across an area of the painting and it just works!  If a painting looks too stiff and detailed to me, then I perform “art cpr” and swipe my brush across the whole thing.  I can almost hear it take a breath!

I don’t normally experience burnout.  If I do, I know I’m doing something wrong.  Usually the culprit is that I’m not painting for myself anymore and it’s become a chore.  When that happens, I throw all my unnecessary concerns out the window and look for something that is begging me to be painted - no matter what it is - even if it’s not flowers!

A Riot of Desert Color
(click to view)

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

I am learning to enjoy the process of painting. Letting go of my fears and just having fun with it.

What makes you happiest about your art?

When I’m painting I feel like everything around me just falls away.  All my cares and worries disappear and for a short time, all is well and perfect.  It’s better than a massage!  Happy accidents are great too!

Thanks, Rachel!

© 2015 Sophie Marine