Thursday, July 19, 2018

DPW Spotlight Interview: Susan Bjerke

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


From Susan's DPW Gallery:

I've been an artist since someone gave me crayons in the early years and told me not to write on the walls. I've done mixed media, watercolors, ceramics, mosaic art, sketching and encaustics. It wasn't until I was forced into retirement by the sale of my company where I worked to support my art supply habit that I found Pastels. I began researching pastels by looking at Youtube for artists good at what they do and willing to share how they do it. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I started painting years and years ago... before I could even walk, but truly began in earnest when my company, for whom I was a business analyst, sold themselves to a bigger company. I was casting around to fill my days in my forced retirement, putzing with my art supplies randomly until on December 22, 2017 I bought Carol Marine’s book, Daily Painting. I’ve been painting non-stop ever since. Carol saved me from trying to find another job or doing silly stuff for retirement.

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

Of course I did, I painted for a while when my kids were toddlers; entered shows and had some success, but not enough financially so, I did what a lot of us do, went to work. At least I could support my art supply habit (not to mention feeding children). I’ve kept my hand in at sketching and some painting, but never focused on art as a habit again until last year.

Cruise Sunset
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

Oh my gosh, what haven’t I played with? Ceramics, encaustics, oil pastels, watercolors, mosaics, printmaking, collage, mixed media, colored pencils, alcohol inks, and jewelry making. I have a love affair with all mediums especially with wild colors.

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

Right now, Pastel’s are my medium of choice. I love the way they are so immediate and so intimate. At the end of a painting session I feel as though my hands have been through Holi or the Hindu festival of color. The other thing that is cool about pastels is that you can re-do something you find wrong... days, weeks, years later. Nothing like watercolors where if you make a large mistake, it’s best to start over. Lots of these mediums have fallen away because of the need for studio space which is limited for me.

Off Ramp
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I’ve just purchased oils, canvases and brushes and they are sitting in my space staring at me... Daring me to start. I am intimidated by them since I haven’t painted in oils since High School. I’ll get it though, I figure it only takes a few hundred failures to master a medium.

Who or what inspires you most?

Well, I have to say Carol Marine is high on the list since I started painting non-stop after reading her book. I read or heard that a person must paint 500 paintings in order to be accomplished... so I have miles to go before reaching that goal. Finally other artists inspire me. I love John Singer Sargent (who doesn’t?) Wolf Kahn, Terri Ford, Marla Baggetta, Chuck Close, Degas... and on and on. I love taking another artist’s color palette and trying it on one of my paintings.

Monsoon Season
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Not putting on my artist’s apron and digging in.

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

I just do it. No excuses.

Near Yellowstone
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Having traveled the US for both work and pleasure I have thousands of photographs which spark the ideas. I also roam the house for still life objects that I may want to attempt to make 3D on the 2D paper... I like a challenge of water, metal... distance, color so I often use that to drive a painting. Sometimes I’m looking to invoke a feeling of calm or an eerie mood and it’s all dependent on my mood.

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

I think as long as you find the work entertaining, it will stay fresh. I love a constant challenge be it changing the native color to a more vibrant one, using black and white, trying to render shiny or waves. Most of us are so happy to have the ability, opportunity and desire to create and when you have that, I believe the work reflects that thrill.

Night Lights
(click to view)

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

Wow, everything! I am learning to blog (omg), use social media (I’m looking at you Instagram!) and marketing. Not to mention, just painting. I’ve got so much to learn... and the minute you stop learning, aren’t you dead?

What makes you happiest about your art?

Another everything answer! Isn’t it amazing that when you do watercolors, you work at keeping the whites the white of the paper and progress to darks. And isn’t it amazing that when you do pastels, you lay in the darks and layer to try to preserve the dark values you put in for shadows, dark trees and more. Art is the best head game in the world... a puzzle a day and I love the challenge. When you meet the challenge, you have another something you want to share with everyone.

Thanks, Susan!

© 2018 Sophie Marine

Friday, July 13, 2018

DPW Spotlight Interview: Heather Bennett

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 "Verdant and Sunshiny" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Heather's DPW Gallery:

Hello! I'm Heather Hingst Bennett...

Thank you for your interest in my work.

I am an artist with a background in web/graphic design. Most days you will find me at my easel in my home studio located in Omaha, Nebraska.

I consider myself to be a self-taught painter. I painted my first still life on August 27, 2009 (it's really bad). But I kept painting and painting and sold an apple painting for $1 on Ebay and that made me really happy, so I kept painting.

I use spontaneous brushwork and splashes of paint to create my still life paintings.

I hope my paintings look happy and carefree and make you smile.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I loved art classes in middle/high school and my art teacher at that time had a huge influence on me. After high school, I found myself studying graphic design and worked as a graphic designer/web designer and illustrator for many, many years.

I had always wanted to paint still life and I even had a box of treasures that I carried from one home to the next labeled "Still Life Props." I just had no idea how to get started. Then I started noticing the daily painters. They painted simple objects in a small format, sold the paintings on eBay... and I thought maybe I could do that!

I painted my first still life since high school on August 27, 2009. It was rough, but there was something about the process and the possibility of becoming a daily painter that made me keep going.

In January 2010, I had acquired a set of oil paints and I actually felt confident enough about what I was painting to sell the pieces on eBay. I didn't get very much but enough to keep buying the supplies to paint.

Verdant and Sunshiny
(click to view)

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? 

I have had many stops and starts. As of right now, I have painted 493 paintings in the 8 years I have been painting. I so regret not having the focus to just stick to painting. Even just for one year!

Earlier this year I read "The One Thing" by Gary W. Keller and Jay Papason and I'm on a 66 day habit building routine. I simply want to paint every day for 66 days. I'm on day 15 and my first day was with the painting "Weary, Cheeky, and Wise." Things got a little lax on the 4th of July and I didn't actually finish a painting that day, but I did paint.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with? 

The mediums I have experimented with are oil, watercolor, acrylic, encaustic, textile, colored pencil and torn paper collage.

I have experimented creating non-representational art in oil, acrylic, and textiles.

Mirthful
(click to view)

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


For the moment, the oils, watercolor, acrylic, and textiles have stuck.

Along with my painting I create non-representational art quilts. Somehow my non-representational work in oils and acrylic never seem to look finished but they are fun to create.

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring? 

I'm looking forward to exploring plein air painting. I took a class a few years ago, but I'm still really intimidated by the process.

Flowers for Hattie
(click to view)

Who or what inspires you most?

I'm currently combing my two loves, painting florals and reading. My floral paintings are named after passages I find in books I read. I'm calling the series "Posy and Prose." Many times the phrases I collect from the books I read inspire the flowers I paint and how I pose them, or what colors I use, etc.

What does procrastination look like for you? 

On particularly busy days I find it hard to start a painting because I'm afraid I won't have enough time to get "in the zone" to paint.

Frou Frou
(click to view)

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

I need to start painting by 8 am or earlier. The sooner in the morning the better, because I know I'm going to get interrupted. This is really important in the summer when my son is out of school and wants me to drive him places. Next summer he'll be sixteen so it won't be as much of a problem.

Lately I have been keeping track of how long each painting takes. So I can prove to myself, this really won't take you that long -- get painting!

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I have been on a flower painting binge for the past few years. What draws me to flowers is the wide variety of subject matter and colors. My goal is to paint them as simply as I can.

I also love to paint clothes. This stems from my high school days when I wanted to be a fashion illustrator and my first job out college as a garment flats illustrator for Cabela's. So, that's why you see an occasional garment in with the flowers.

Swimwear
click to view

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

I think what has kept my art fresh has been trying new mediums. Currently I feel like my time spent with watercolors has helped me develop my current style in acrylics.

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

For years I tried to emulate the artists I admire. Now I'm learning what works for me and coming up with my own process.

What makes you happiest about your art?

What makes me happiest about my art is sharing it.

Thanks, Heather!

© 2018 Sophie Marine

Friday, July 6, 2018

DPW Spotlight Interview: Belinda Bell

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings. To enter to win Belinda's painting, "#11 Abstract Flowers" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.


Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I took a tole painting class in the late 80s. I wasn't very good at it because I couldn't stay in the lines or use the assigned color for each shape. My pieces were always a bit out of control with wild colors and additional marks in the "traced" design. It was a learning curve for sure... I learned that tole painting was not for me. I have kept a tole painting piece from that period in my life so that when I need a bit of a chuckle and sweet reminder of how far I have come, I bring it out, and love on it.

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

I start and stop painting all the time. Life happens to be one of those things that throws curve balls your way when it feels the urge. In between the starts and stops of my artwork I gather experience and ideas that sometimes end up in my paintings. Even when I have a stop, and before I start, I still don't seem to get my dishes done.

#11 Abstract Flowers
(click to view)

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


What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I have played with pastels, oil, acrylic, encaustic material, plaster, colored pencil, charcoal, pen and ink, and water soluble pencils.

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

I have stayed with oils and acrylics with charcoal and pencils for drawing.

#18 Abstract Flowers
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

Exploration takes place on a daily basis for me with the materials at hand. Sometimes I free myself with finger and hand painting using acrylics.

Who or what inspires you most?

Inspiration comes from my BB Flower Farm, travel, and people. I get so darn excited about painting that I have to actually tell myself to breathe.

Looking North
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Procrastination for me are the dirty dishes in the sink on a regular basis... I can't be doing household duties in place of painting... my clients don't want my clean dishes to grace their walls.

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

I paint nearly everyday... I have to... it is something that is in my soul.

Farmer's Lament - Thistle
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Ideas for a painting are non-stop for me. They come to me at light speed which creates a struggle at times on which idea to choose. I will ask myself when I paint "what if?".

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

I keep my work fresh if I keep my sense of humor running through the brush. I often paint with my non-dominant hand so that my work is organic and quirky. I change subjects to paint so that it keeps me on my toes.

Dear John
(click to view)

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

I am learning to paint for the sake of creative expression. I often look for humor, quirkiness, and energy when I am painting so that my audience will have something to talk about while viewing my work. Whether the audience likes the work or not, if they are having a conversation either way regarding the work, then it has evoked emotion .... mission accomplished.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I am happiest about my art when I can intertwine quirky, color, and meaningfulness in a body of work.

Thanks, Belinda!

© 2018 Sophie Marine

Thursday, June 28, 2018

DPW Spotlight Interview: Marian Parsons

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

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I started doing decorative painting and murals as a business about 10 years ago, but my business quickly evolved into refinishing furniture, selling antiques, writing, and photography.  It was only recently that I decided to pursue fine art painting and I am hooked!  I still have so much to learn and so many areas where I need to grow.  I don’t claim to be a great artist, but I do claim to love it and commit to becoming the best I can be.

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

I just started selling my artwork in the fall of 2017, so I would say I’m just getting started!  My blog audience has been very encouraging and supportive and I have received a warm welcome from the art community as well.

Untitled
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I started with watercolor, but I fell in love with oils last fall.  I’m currently working on graphite sketches, watercolors, and oils.

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

I have not found a love to pastels as of yet!  Oil is definitely my favorite at this point.

No. 46 of #100oilstills
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I am very excited about exploring watercolor more.  I love and hate how hard it can be to control!  I hope to get a handle on it through lots of practice.

What does procrastination look like for you?

I’m a go-getter, so I don’t procrastinate very often!  When I do, I usually just pick something else to work on that is more exciting to me. 

No. 33 of #100oilstills Series
(click to view)

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

I have let my family know it’s important to me, so they are good about giving me the time I need in my studio.  I also fit it in whenever and wherever I can.  If all I can do is paint for 15 minutes, then I’ll set up an apple to paint (which is why I’ve painted so many apples!)  It is a commitment and I know I need to take it seriously or it will keep getting pushed to the back burner. 

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I’m inspired by nature, as I think many artists are, and I also love faces.  I find portraits very compelling, especially bringing old black and white photos to life.  I am definitely still passively searching for my style, though.  I can see my work evolving, but I don’t know where it’s going, yet. 

No 23 of the #100oilstills Series
(click to view)

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

When I feel like I’m stuck, I try painting or drawing something to me that I’ve avoided, because I think it’s beyond my skill.  Some of my favorite paintings and sketches are ones that were difficult for me.  It gives me confidence to keep pushing forward. 

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

I am focusing on the fundamentals of color, values, perspective, etc.  It’s easy for me to get frustrated with myself when a piece doesn’t turn out at all the way I envision and I know having a good grip on the fundamentals will really help to correct those mistakes in future paintings. 

No. 24 of the #100oilstills series
(click to view)

What makes you happiest about your art?

I love that it’s changed the way I look at the world.  My eye is constantly searching for shape, values, and colors and I find myself pondering those things as I study everyday objects or look out the window on a road trip.  And, I will admit, I love art supplies!  I enjoy shopping for and trying out new supplies almost as much as I like creating something!

Thanks, Marian!

© 2018 Sophie Marine

Thursday, June 14, 2018

DPW Spotlight Interview: Beth Hunt

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

From Beth's DPW Gallery:

My name is Beth Hunt and I am a self-taught artist originally from California where I sold my work for a number of years during my late twenties. I took an extended hiatus from my art for the last fifteen years in which I got married, moved to Washington, and became a mother (whew!). Now that my two sons are beyond needing my constant attention, I am happily back in my art studio with a renewed passion! My favorite mediums are chalk pastel and oil paint, but I also enjoy using colored pencil and watercolor on occasion. While breathtaking landscapes do inspire me, I am also captivated by the little things... the quiet, easily overlooked beauty of the every day. It is my hope that you will enjoy these images as much as I love to paint them!

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I have always loved to paint and draw and had an aptitude for it that my parents recognized and supported at an early age.  I definitely got more serious about art in high school and discovered pastels which I loved right away.  During college, I majored in Biology, but continued to draw when I had the time and even completed a booklet of scientific drawings for the Mammalogy department for my senior project.

Forest Sream
(click to view)

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

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

After graduation, I began to experiment with oil paint and quickly found my way into a reputable gallery where I showed my work until I had my first child.  At that point, I took an extended hiatus (fifteen years!) from painting and only in the past few years began to find my way back into my studio.  It's funny, but even though I didn't paint all that time, I was still keenly observing everything with "artist's eyes".  Each time I saw something that inspired me, I would think about how I would go about painting it.  I believe that this intense observation combined with the strong desire to create has served me well.  I am now back in my studio with fifteen years worth of pent-up creative energy!

Road to the Mountains
(click to view)

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?  Which one have "stuck", which ones have fallen away, and which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I began using chalk pastels in high school and I still enjoy them just as much as I did then.  Oil paints came later and I fell in love with the ability to mix my own colors as well as their wonderful buttery texture and also the durability of the finished work.  When you've dealt with nothing but pastels, having a finished piece that you aren't terrified to touch is really a relief... especially when you have kids and a snoopy cat around your studio!  I also enjoy colored pencils and have completed several highly realistic, detailed pieces with this medium, but each drawing takes a very long time.  I prefer a medium in which I can express myself more freely.

As far as genres are concerned, I have done portraiture, figurative work, and realistic animal portraits in pastel and colored pencil.  While showing in the aforementioned gallery, I concentrated on oils to paint pastoral scenes as well as animal portraits that showed my sense of humor.  I  still love pastoral imagery, but have definitely embraced the natural landscape and still life genres which I am enjoying immensely.  I do, however, look forward to including more of my sense of humor in upcoming pieces.  I love to laugh and nothing gives me more pleasure than to have one of my paintings make someone smile.

In the Flow
(click to view)

Who or what inspires you most?

Without a doubt, the two biggest inspirations for me are the natural world and the beauty of the simple, everyday things in life... the way the light catches your cup of tea or that "pesky" dandelion growing in your lawn.

What does procrastination look like for you?

It looks like a good book... or housecleaning... or making an extravagant meal... or going for a drive... or going for a hike... etc., etc., etc!  Procrastination?  What's that?


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

I make sure that when it is a "painting day"(at least four days per week), I treat it like a job.  I make myself a tea and get into my studio by 9 or 10AM, take a lunch break around 1PM, and continue to work until around 3:30 (this is when I pick up my kids from school).  Sometimes I will work later if I'm not to a good stopping point.  I also try not to answer the phone during these hours.  If I know that I am pressed for time and won't be able to complete an entire painting that day, I set a reasonable goal for myself and make sure that I reach it.  These smaller goals can be setting up a still life, taking a reference photo, completing a value study, mixing my paint for the next day, etc.

Shy Iced Tea
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

This is a tough question because I get them from anywhere and everywhere.  Sometimes I see something beautiful outside and I quickly snap a photo, sometimes I will think of a still life because I like the concept, colors, or subject matter in the idea, and other times it's just a surprise.  For example, my dog does something silly and I get a great photo or I am looking through my father-in-law's photographs (he is a wonderful photographer) and see one that I just have to paint (with his permission, of course).

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

I only paint what I truly WANT to paint.  I think that is the real key.  I believe that many times, artists get caught up in what they think will sell instead of what gets them excited.  That will kill inspiration every time because if you do this, you aren't really inspired to begin with.  I also make sure that if I have been in the studio a lot and need a day or two to recharge, I do it!

Canyon on the Palouse
(click to view)

What do you feel you are learning right now as an artist?  What makes you happiest about your art?

Right now I am working on loosening up and letting things be.  I know that I am capable of doing realism, but I am thoroughly enjoying the Zen art of allowing my work to be a bit more rough and concentrating on value and color more than detail.  In the past, when doing very realistic, detailed work, I would actually catch myself holding my breath while I painted!  I feel so much more free and playful now that I am loosening up and I think it shows in my art.

Thanks, Beth!

© 2018 Sophie Marine

Thursday, June 7, 2018

DPW Spotlight Interview: Catherine Harley

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

From Catherine's DPW Gallery:

I'm a french artist, married to the best Scottish guy, and we have 3 grown up kids. We live in France, but we spend lots of time in the UK where most of our family and friends are. I get my inspiration from these two different cultures, don't ask me to make a choice, it's impossible!

I studied art (restoration and conservation), then I became a copist in museums, and I started teaching 1997.

It took me lots of time to forget all the strict rules of classic painting, and I'm still working on gaining more freedom in my painting today. Painting is more than a passion, it' s a part of myself. It's vital. I discovered the daily painting recently, and I loved all the concept. Joining a big art community and sharing!

Catherine's Art Workshops in France

Tell us a bit how you first started painting.

I come from a family of musicians, so of course I learned music. Everyday going to school, I was passing by an art studio with art classes and the  students’ paintings were hanging in the window. I was admiring their paintings. One day, I found the strength to tell my parents that I wanted to stop music. They said, "you can not live without a passion! Find one," and I instantly shared my dream of joining an art class.

I remember the excitement of the discovery of infinite possibilities with art, and also falling in love with oil painting.

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

Oh yes! Lots of them! As we all know, life is full of surprises, good or bad, and you have to compose with it. I was less productive when my children where young, because they became my priority.

They are now older, becoming young adults, which allows me to concentrate more on my work. I find that these stops were really beneficial to my work. I was not painting, but I was thinking and preparing in my mind what would be my next work.

I now see these stop moments in a very positive way. Recently, I had to stop because of health issues and heavy treatments. When I held the brushes in my hand again, my motivation and ideas were really clear. So if the stops allow you to go straight where you want to when it’s time, you are not wasting your time, maybe even gaining some! Who knows?

Purple Flower Abstraction
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I have been playing a bit with most mediums (egg tempera, pastel, watercolor, acrylic, pastel…) It's fun to go from one technique to the other, as it allows me to never be bored. Some of them were really challenging, and I learned a lot from it, like trying to work with soft pastels in superpositions without blurring or using egg tempera and work in layers. I also love to play with all the mediums in acrylics, the textures and effects are incredible. Painting is like a big playground with lots of toys, you want to try them all!

It is the same for the subjects, anything is potentially exciting. A portrait is a landscape in some ways, and a landscape is abstract in some other ways. Any genres will be interesting to paint, it just depends on how you look at it.

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

Oil painting is for sure my mother tongue, but I also love charcoal for its abilities to create textures and values by "adding" and "removing" almost like paint. Gouache is a favorite, I love the velvety  finish and matte aspect. You can dilute it, play with water or apply rich thick paint like I would do with oil. I usually use gouache for quick studies that will be painted next with oil or acrylics on a bigger format.

I don’t use much watercolor, I find that this medium needs a lot of practice, and I don’t have enough sensations compared to oil. But of course, this is really personal.

Floral Effacement
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring? 

I would like to explore some new techniques like collages and mixed medias. I have tried mosaics recently, and I loved it! I tried to adapt it to my work, and the result was interesting enough to make me want to pursue in that direction. The problem is that there are so many things to do! And if I don’t make choices, I will start to scatter.

Who or what inspires you most? 

Lots of great artists, like Sorolla, Berthe Morisot, Mary Cassan, Freud, but also many contemporary artists like Alex Kanevsky, Fran├žois Bard, Laurent Dauptain, Niels Smits Van Burgst, Jeremy Mann, and many more. All these artists are amazing teachers and constantly inspire me. Being a figurative painter, my inspiration comes from the emotions connected to what I see. Mainly nature and people, because there is movement, and always something to catch your attention.

The fragility of things and life inspires me.

Three Sisters
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you? 

Choosing to do what I like first always, which makes me go through really stressful periods when I have to deal with all the things that have to be done all at once! And it seems that I am not learning from it. Painting and family comes first, and I have to admit I am a procrastination queen when it is anything to do with administration, papers and numbers. Anyone feeling the same way?

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

I am trying to make it part of my weekly schedule. Two days for painting, two days teaching, one day for all the rest (groceries, cleaning…) and weekend with my loved ones. It is of course not always as organized as I wished, but it kind of works for me. I try to keep two days painting to myself, with nothing interfering in the middle. The hardest part is to protect these two days completely in my agenda; no appointments, no meeting friends during the day, etc… We all know how precious time is!

Contrasted Floral Abstraction
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings? 

During the creative process, I search for subjects, ideas and composition. I use my own photographs, but also the ones that you can find on the internet. They are an endless sources of inspiration. I can select some elements, and make my own composition. I spend lots of time on my computer, looking at photos, composing, reframing, searching, building. All this time is part of the construction of the painting.

I take a lot of pictures, and save thousands of them that will be used maybe one day on a painting. I am building my own bank of pictures, that I can use, or mix with pictures I find on the internet. I find this "research part" as exciting as the "painting part". With the years of practice, I have learned that it’s important to think about what you want to show, and not just do one more painting.

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

I usually do a series of paintings, but sometimes when I feel it’s just a production, and that I am not having fun anymore, I change technique or format.

After painting a big format that will take time and energy, I might paint some really small ones as it is a completely different approach. Changing technique works really well for me too, I draw when I don’t feel like painting, and usually the urge of color comes back quickly!

When none of this works, I will call an artist friend who will find the words to put me back on track by giving a constructive critique on my work. Actually, I do that really often! It’s so helpful when you are stuck, and it’s really interesting to hear someone’s (you trust) point of view. Sometimes I disagree, and it helps me assume my choices, and sometimes the solutions they are offering are excellent, and it helps me evolve in a more open minded way.

Fuchsia Floral Abstraction
(click to view)

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

Painting has been a way of living for so many years, and I am so grateful to have been able to do this. I have been learning so many things through that, especially humility! I feel that the more I learn, the less I know.

At this moment, I am learning to simplify and deconstruct. Trying to go out of my comfort zone without going in a foreign zone. All these new problems make the research even more exciting. Taking more time to think about what do I want to paint, and why, and what is the story I want to tell. Like any other artist, we are telling stories.

What makes you happiest about your art?

Lots of things! Reaching (sometimes) what I had in mind on my painting. Exploring with colors and textures is such an exciting thing to do whatever the result is!

Meeting people through my art is magical, and always interesting to understand their vision.

Sharing my knowledge with students is a real source of joy and satisfaction.

Traveling to exhibit my work or do workshops is always exciting.

Thanks, Catherine!

© 2018 Sophie Marine

Thursday, May 31, 2018

DPW Spotlight Interview: Frankie Gollub

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

From Frankie's DPW Gallery:

Frankie Gollub was born in Landstuhl, Germany. Inspired by Civil War history, he began to draw and paint constantly at the age of 12. Frankie's appreciation of military service and his own father's service in the U.S. Army encouraged him to join the Army National Guard in 2000. He served 6 years with Headquarters Battery, 2/111th Field Artillery at Petersburg, VA. Frankie studied at Richard Bland College where he decided to pursue a career in painting. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting. 

I began painting when I was 12 years old. I started painting with acrylics, mostly Bob Ross landscapes and Civil War battle scenes. I few years later I started oil painting and I was hooked. I continued to paint landscapes and Civil War soldiers.

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

During my last two years in art school I decided I wanted to pursue a career in classical archaeology, focusing on Ancient Rome. During my post back studies of Greek and Latin at University of Washington I decided to pursue a career in Fine Art again. It was a slow start from 2013 through 2014 as I returned to painting. The real momentum began in 2015 as I picked up three commissions.

March Afternoon, Seattle
(click to view)

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


What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I have painted in egg tempera, casein, gouache, acrylics, watercolors, and oil colors. During art school I was painting large multi-figure paintings set in contemporary interior spaces, exploring the dynamics between men and women in a relationship and cohabitation. In recent years I have painted animal portraits inspired by 17th Century Dutch painting, still lifes, and landscapes. The landscape paintings are either Hudson River school style or tonalist.

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

Landscape painting has really captured my interest, especially since I live in the Pacific Northwest where many wonderful vistas are close by Seattle where I live. I practice plein air painting to better understand landscape painting, hone my landscape painting skills, and gather studies to turn into larger studio paintings. I also really love painting still lifes and I have a number of replicas which are used for 17th Century Dutch style still life painting. I also have little props like an anole lizard and beetles that I add to still lifes of donuts and cupcakes. In addition I have crayfish and a crab in my freezer which I use as props.

(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I haven't painted the human figure for years but I do want to get back into that. Recently I have started painting portraits again, focusing on self-portraits. In landscape painting I enjoy the tonalist style and it's an area I plan to continue exploring.

Who or what inspires you most?

I find inspiration in art from the 15th Century through the 19th Century. I am particularly fond of 17th Century Dutch painting but I also love 19th Painters such as JMW Turner, the Hudson River School painters, and the American tonalists. Living in the Pacific Northwest inspires me everyday, viewing the various mountain ranges and evergreens.

Mt. Rainier
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

For me procrastination involves drinking coffee while looking at paintings on the internet. Often I'm reading artist's blogs or reading about painting technique. I have an obsession with painting materials such as pigments and mediums and I do a lot of research online. My library of art books can also be distracting. But I feel that all of my research does contribute to my practice as a painter. I also like to make music through Logic on my Macbook, inspired by 80's new wave, funk, and R & B. That in itself can be time consuming and take away from painting.

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

I try to keep my research limited to the time I'm eating breakfast. Then when I'm done I go paint. I do try to maintain a daily routine in which I make time for painting.

Song Dynasty Coins and Vermillion Pigment
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

The art books in my library are a huge source of inspiration. Galleries and museums are another source. With still life I find inspiration through my props. That often takes 30 minutes to an an hour to set up the still life getting the composition and lighting right. For landscape painting I use my plein air studies as part of my creative process. That is combined with lighting and skies I have seen, especially late in the afternoon before sunset.

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

I paint a variety of genres like still lifes, animal portraits, and landscapes. I often rotate through these and I usually have several projects going at once. In addition to my larger studio paintings I like painting smaller works ranging from 5 x 7 through 11 x 14. I consider these my studies and experiments. I also like to experiment with different oil mediums that have been used since the 16th Century. I especially like the 19th Century Copal resin mediums.

Sunrise over Rattlesnake Ledge
(click to view)

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

As an artist I am always learning whether it be about landscape painting, still lifes, or portraits. I teach art from preschoolers through adults at an art studio in Bellevue, WA. I've always felt that most of my learning as an artist has happened while teaching others. In terms of landscape painting, it is through studying my favorite painters and practicing plein air, combined with studio painting that has helped me tremendously.

What makes you happiest about your art?

Being able to share my vision with the world and seeing the joy it brings people has made painting rewarding. My painter friends have been inspired by my landscape paintings and they have started plein air painting, often joining me in the field to paint. I am always happy to share my knowledge with others and I enjoy the conversations we have about painting. I have started many friendships in recent years through painting alone and I couldn't be happier.

Thanks, Frankie!

© 2018 Sophie Marine

Thursday, May 24, 2018

DPW Spotlight Interview: Mario Parga

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

From Mario's DPW Gallery:

Painting in the contemporary and classical realism styles, English artist Mario Parga has painted professionally for over thirty years.

Throughout his painting career, Mario has painted numerous high profile portraits for private collections around the world, painted murals (including all the murals at Chingle Hall, England, built in 1260AD, as featured on a BBC documentary), exhibited with the Royal Institute of Oil Painters at the Pall Mall Galleries of London and had one of his Old Master copies auctioned by internationally renowned fine-art auctioneers Bonhams of London. His paintings have also been featured on the American television network PBS. Mario's fantastical/surrealism genre paintings are represented by Morpheus Fine Art in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Mario's studio is located in the Emerald Coast, Florida, where he resides with his wife and daughter. (click to view gallery)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting:

I started painting at the age of four and began painting with oils when I was nine. I was always drawing as a child, I never stopped, and felt the need to move to oil paint after a few years of water based paint.

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

Yes, over the years I've had a few, but the stops were very short lived as I've been a professional artist for thirty-one years and rely on painting sales. I'm sometimes lazy, as I think we all can be, and sometimes it's just nice to take a rest from the easel. I always feel the need to paint though, even if it's something for myself. I think I've painted fairly consistently for the last ten years or so.

At Last Light
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

The two mediums I've always used are oil paint (my main medium) and watercolor (mostly for preparatory sketches). I've always been a realist painter, painting in either the classical or contemporary realism genres. I paint pretty much everything from the fantastical to more traditional landscape/seascape/figurative works, and I enjoy painting birds and some wildlife. I'm primarily a portrait painter, painting portraits in the traditional way with layered paint and some glazing, and I've also painted numerous Old Master copies for clients over the years too.

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

I would say the above have stuck with me for most of my life to date, there was a phase when I enjoyed painting still lifes and trompe l'oeils, but these have become fewer over the years.

Lullaby for Skye
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

As well as enjoying painting fantastical pieces, I've currently got two very detailed larger pirate themed paintings on the go. I've always loved painting the ocean, so combining large sail ships with figurative/historical work is very interesting to me and enjoyable to paint.

Who or what inspires you most?

Nature. There's nothing more beautiful than nature, and if I had to pick a specific subject I'd probably choose the ocean. I spend a lot of time with my camera photographing the ocean and collecting reference pictures, from dawn to dusk shots and from calm to stormy waters. The way light reflects off water is beautiful, and sunlight on a stormy day over the ocean is simply awesome. Living on the Emerald Coast here in Florida, I'm lucky to get to see it all.

Captain Fraser's Folly
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Ah... procrastination... Yes, I'm very guilty of it, sometimes for days on end. Sometimes I suffer from what I call 'The Dilemma of What to Paint', and can sit around for days procrastinating and dismissing every idea that comes to me. I think all artists procrastinate to some degree, though some more than others...

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

That's a good question, and the way I make time for my art is to treat it like a job and discipline myself to start painting at a certain time each day (usually 10am works best for me) and put in as many hours as possible depending on what I'm working on and how finished/unfinished it is. I usually have three paintings on the go on three different easels so I can allow for drying times between paint layers or paint whichever one I'm in the mood for at any particular time. Although I paint Monday to Friday, I often paint at the weekends also and give myself a day off during the week.

Anna's Hummingbird
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

It depends really, sometimes an idea will pop into my head, or I'll see something outside or on TV that inspires me or triggers an idea. I also take a lot of photographs and always have a DSLR with me (as well as the camera on my cell phone) as I like to refer to them at later dates.

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

I don't think I have a particular technique that helps me with this, I just tend to paint things that I myself like and enjoy painting. I think the moment artists start painting subject matter for the sake of it or because we think it may be more commercial is when our work becomes stagnant and tired. I would always advise to paint what you truly want to paint as it will definitely show in your work.

Sea of Green
(click to view)

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

I don't think I'm learning any new techniques, I've been painting for too long, but I think I've got more patience now and perhaps plan ahead with a larger painting more than I did before.

What makes you happiest about your art?

That's easy; when a client truly loves the painting. It's very touching to see reactions when portraits are revealed for the first time, or when someone is so taken with a painting they tell me how much they enjoy looking at it. I'm lucky enough to have a few collectors who own several of my works, I always like painting for them because I know they really appreciate my art.

Thanks, Mario!

© 2018 Sophie Marine

Friday, May 18, 2018

DPW Spotlight Interview: Patti Tapper

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

From Patti's DPW Gallery:

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

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting. 

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

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

My Mother's Pastry Cutter
(click to view)

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

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

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

Spring
(click to view)

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

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

Through the Glass
(click to view)

Who or what inspires you most?

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

Pomegranate with Muffin Tin
(click to view)

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

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

Still Life with Red Cup
(click to view)

What makes you happiest about your art?

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

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

Thanks, Patti!

© 2018 Sophie Marine