Thursday, July 19, 2012

DPW Spotlight Interview: Mariko Irie

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

To enter to win Mariko Irie's painting, Sunny Sunset Cliff, go to DailyPaintworks.com and click on the Spotlight Giveaway button in the top-left corner of the website.

From Mariko Irie's DPW gallery page:
Mariko Irie, a lifelong painter, was born and raised in Tokyo and currently resides in Santa Rosa, California. She has been in numerous solo and group shows and her work is collected privately and publicly throughout the U.S., Japan, England, Germany and Canada, including the Miasa Governor in Japan. She has been exhibiting in galleries for the past 22 years.
Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

My mother watched me enjoying painting when I was in preschool and took me to a painting class when I was an elementary school. Up through high school, my media was oil pastel, which is very common for children - so was crayon, but I didn’t like it. I won prizes for my paintings.

When I was a high school, I got an oil paint set. I used to go out and paint by the river. I loved painting and drawing all the time, but I was not thinking I'd ever be a painter or an artist. One of the reasons why: my art teacher in high school was great - but the substitute who had just graduated from an art university came to teach us. She believed that only abstract painting was Art. She criticized my paintings so badly, I quit painting in class.

Sunny Sunset Cliff
(click here to see original image)

Enter to win by clicking the "Artist Spotlight and Giveaway" button!








Then I was became fascinated by the idea of becoming a designer. So I went to art school to prepare for the entrance examination for Art University and studied drawing and composition. I passed the examination for Musashino Art University in Japan and my major was Interior Design.

After graduating, I became an interior designer. The economy was a bubble at the time, so I was making great money. But after ten years, I felt something lacking in my life; there was a hole in my body. I quit my job and married, but that was not answer either.

It took me long time to figure it out. After I settled in Mendocino, I started painting again. Right before I turned forty years old, I asked myself: If I knew that I would die tomorrow, what would I want to do? 

The answer was painting.

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

Galleries started to show my work in 1989 and since then, I have never stopped painting. I have two sons; the younger son was two years old in 1989, when I moved out from my ex-husband’s. First, I was taking classes at the college and the classrooms were my studios. When my sons started to go to school, our living room was my studio.

What is the next?
(click here to see original image)

Five years later, we moved into a bigger house and I got my own studio space. I worked on my art when they were at school and until they got driver licenses, I was their driver. I was happy to do so, because I wanted to enjoy them. It was precious time in my life and I knew it wouldn’t last forever. Now they have both graduated from universities and have their own lives.

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

In 1989, I took a printmaking class at the College of the Redwoods. I did etching, monotype and serigraph. During my first exhibition at the college, my etchings sold. So I took them to show at a gallery and they started to sell them. I felt so lucky.

In the late 70’s in Tokyo, I saw “American Super Realism” paintings. It was sensational. I was fascinated by these paintings. They were such a simple concept; the painters were painting exactly what they were seeing and they were somehow even more realistic than photography.

Sunset Time
(click here to see original image)

Then I took painting class with Bill Martin. He was a master Surrealism painter and an instructor of painting at the College of the Redwoods. I wanted to learn Super Realism technique from him. He passed away in 2009, but his family continues his website: http://www.billmartingallery.com/

At one point, I became allergic to oil paintings and all solvents, so I switched to watercolor. I've painted watercolor for over twenty years now. It’s an incredible media. If we try to control it, we end up losing control. But if we let watercolor paint itself, it creates a fascinating painting.

Three years ago, I moved to San Diego. The climate there is much dryer than Mendocino. My watercolor technique wouldn’t work well, because it would dry too fast. I joined the plein air groups and took water-mixable oils. I learned from other artists how to paint fast. It was a big challenge for me, but it was great, even with the struggling.

I’m having fun with water-mixable oils now.

Many of your paintings are set outside - at the beach, during sunrise or sunset. There's such a lovely quality of light in your art, as if we're actually seeing real sunlight. What can you tell us about you make your work look so true to life?

Thank you for saying that, it's a big compliment. Sunset, sunrise. The beautiful moment is so short. I can’t paint fast enough at the location itself - especially an 11” x 30” watercolor painting, which takes about a week to finish.

So I take photos. I spend time staring at the scene, trying to absorb the light, shadow and colors. Then I paint at my studio. When I start to paint, I don’t think of any one thing, I'm just in my painting world - and then - the painting is finished. From my experience, when paintings are done this way, they make the best ones.

Shoes
(click here to see original image)

What does procrastination look like for you? What techniques work to ensure that you make time for your art?

Procrastination: I can’t do it! It’s my nature. If I know that something should be done, I have to do it right away. Otherwise, it just sticks in my mind and I can’t do anything else. But sometimes, there are too many things to be done, so I just make a schedule and a check list.

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

Having a solo show at a gallery. That makes a good excuse for focusing on painting.

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

A lot of times, I work from photos. When I’m staring at an image, I start to remember that moment. During other kinds of my paintings, for example, “Opening of Happiness,” I just think, “What is happiness?” and the image comes from that. Sometimes a gallery will have a group show with a theme. For instance, the last theme show I did was “Love Note” and I painted “Encounter” and “Art Lovers” for that.

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

When I’m exhausted, whatever I see looks horrible, so I take a nap. That helps a lot. Or I might change the subject for my paintings or play on the surface of painting to create a new technique. It’s a part of learning the media all the time, a process that always stimulates me. Taking trips helps me a lot too. It takes my mind out from studio, then I come back renewed, with a vision.

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

I’m so lucky to be an artist, because I'll be learning forever. It refreshes my life all the time and now we have all this information through the internet. Art is forever and alive.


Daffodils Glow
(click here to see original image)

What makes you happiest about your art?

When my paintings come out better than I imagined. When people smile in front of my paintings, I’m very happy; it's like my paintings have brought joy to this world. When somebody falls in love with my painting and brings it into their home, that makes me so happy. I feel that I connected with them through my painting.

Thanks, Mariko!

© Jennifer Newcomb Marine

Thursday, July 12, 2012

DPW Spotlight Interview: Nancy Parsons

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

To enter to win Nancy Parson's painting, River Walk - San Antonio, go to DailyPaintworks.com and click on the Spotlight Giveaway button in the top-left corner of the website.

From Nancy Parson's DPW gallery page:
I began a blog in the summer of 2010, as my husband Dave and I embarked on a 4,000 mile, six-week, artist sabbatical in our little pop-up camper. I began painting and posting each day on my blog at www.headondownthehighway.blogspot.com. Since returning, I have continued to paint and post as a daily painter of what I have coined Not-So-Still Lives. 
Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I began painting in kindergarten. As one of nine children, my art was the only way I could get noticed. Luckily my parents affirmed me with art lessons or there's no telling what I'd have done with my life.

I remember consciously deciding to be an artist at age six. By the time I graduated from high school, the thought of being a female painter in 1966 sounded way too scary. Out of fear of dying on the sidewalk from starvation, I studied commercial art in college.

Although I have always painted to some degree, taken scattered painting classes, and even won an award here and there; I really didn't start painting on a regular basis until a little over two years ago when my husband and I took off for 6-weeks in our pop-up camper. I began painting everyday and blogging. When we returned home, I was invited to do a one-woman show at a local gallery and sold enough work to pay for our entire trip. I was hooked and immediately signed up for a couple of workshops with two of my favorite artists (Carol Marine and Rene Wiley), joined several art organizations, bought and devoured every used art book I could get my hands on, and really began studying art.

River Walk - San Antonio

(click here to see original image)

Enter to win by clicking the "Artist Spotlight and Giveaway" button!

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

Lots of them. When my kids were little I was painting in watercolors and participating in local art shows, painting wall murals, and doing commissions for neighbors. Life was going good, or so I thought, until my first husband suddenly walked out the door and my world and fine art dreams collapsed.

Out of desperation, I took a full time job in international banking, but after 5 years was bored out of my mind. I eventually went back to art school and graduated from the Art Institute of Houston in Advertising Design, and then started my own graphic design business in 1984. I was still painting here and there and taking a few workshops, but dying with desire to paint full time.

So, after another 26 years of raising a family and running my design business, I realized that time was ticking away and if I didn't figure out a way to make this happen, I would never get to be a painter. I made a commitment then and there to start painting nights and weekends. I made that decision over two years ago and can honestly say I am happier and more excited than I've ever been in my life!

Z-Zinnia Tops
(click here to see original image)


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

In the past, I have worked in many different genres and mediums including: watercolor, prisma color, scratchboard, gouache, airbrush, acrylics, pen and ink, charcoal, clay and silkscreen. For some reason, those mediums were not loud enough or loose enough to satisfy me. I longed for my work to be bolder and scream with intense color.

I now work exclusively in oils and love the flexibility and rich creamy texture of the medium. I currently work with pretty thin paint, but hope to learn to use thicker applications as I grow in my art. I usually only work with primary colors, plus white and umber, but lately have begun to explore other palettes and colors. This has made me feel like a kid in a candy store!

There's a wonderful relaxed, peaceful quality to many of your paintings. What can you tell us about how your compositions reflect your personal approach to life?

I think my compositions and subjects are intimate, honest and—hopefully—full of life and joy. I have a very active imagination; painting gives my inner child permission to come out and play. I like to paint in total quiet, so I can listen and hear. Painting is a meditation for me into the silence… like a prayer.

Shady Characters
(click here to see original image)

Once a painting feels complete, I become aware of something more wanting to be revealed. That's when I love to blog and share what my paintings have to say. I've never considered myself a writer, however I now feel my writing has as much to say at times as my paintings do. This has been an enormous step out of my fear and self-imposed limitations.

What does procrastination look like for you? What techniques work to ensure that you make time for your art?

Procrastination—if it comes looking for me—looks like fatigue or exhaustion. I know I push myself pretty hard and only get about 5-6 hours of sleep a night. I am a big believer in balance of body, mind and spirit. This is the secret I've learned which makes everything else I do work. Priorities come first.

I'm up early most mornings and in the pool by 5:00, followed by daily Mass, and then coffee with friends. By 9:00 a.m. or so, I'm ready to begin a full day of graphic design, followed by dinner with my husband and then—my playtime—painting and blogging.

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I carry my camera or phone everywhere I go and am always on the lookout for color, light, reflections and shadows to jump out at me. Road trips are a gold mine and I drive my husband crazy with my incessant screams to "Stop the car... let me out!" I find paintings everywhere, even out walking my dog.

If I ever run out of ideas, I take a trip to the produce and flower aisles in the supermarket. You wouldn't believe how many colorful characters jump up and down, begging to get into my cart.

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

Bold strokes of clean color are the bomb!!!!  I try with all my might to put a stroke of paint down once and then leave it alone. Mud is the enemy to be feared and avoided at all cost.

Bend
(click here to see original image)

The key to avoiding burnout for me is always looking for something fresh and alive that excites and challenges me to paint, before I show up at the easel. I try to work loose and let parts of my tinted red canvases peek through here and there. I think these are major keys to help keep my paintings alive. If I start to get tight and fussy, I'll wipe the whole painting off and start over. There really are no mistakes in painting, just discoveries. Walking away from a painting—even before I think it’s finished—is my goal.

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

I am learning how to see, hear and feel on a deeper level... letting go and giving myself over in trust. I believe artists are all little brushes in the hand of the master Creator himself. He uses us as His instruments to express and share His love in the world. It's not always easy being a brush… but what the heck… someone has to do it. :-)

Rainy-Day Sunshine
(click here to see original image)

What makes you happiest about your art?

I am happiest with my art when I am feeling the most vulnerable—and yet to my utter surprise—finding that vulnerability somehow opens portals that communicate and resonate with others.

Ana├»s Nin, a French-Cuban author once said, "Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."  I believe painting demands tremendous courage just to show up, but rewards courage with tremendous joy, satisfaction, and an intense appreciation and humble gratitude for the precious gift we call life.

Thanks, Nancy!

© Jennifer Newcomb Marine

Thursday, July 5, 2012

DPW Spotlight Interview: June Rollins

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

To enter to win June Rollin's painting, Dreamscape No. 153, go to DailyPaintworks.com and click on the Spotlight Giveaway button in the top-left corner of the website.

From June Rollin's DPW gallery:
June Rollins is a signature member of the Southern Watercolor Society and Watercolor Society of North Carolina. Her artwork has received national recognition and numerous awards. She teaches Dreamscaping with June Rollins workshops in watercolor and alcohol inks. 
Tell us a bit about how you first started painting. Did you have any stops and starts in your painting career? 

My biggest “stop” happened before I ever really started. In 1972, I told my high school guidance counselor I knew I wanted to be an artist. She enrolled me in 9th grade Art. The first day, I was so intimidated by what the teacher said would be required of us, I ran to the guidance counselor’s office immediately after the class and told her I had been wrong, “Art's not for me, I think it's boring.” The truth was, I was afraid I would lose my B+ GPA and stopped before I started. That decision began my 17 year detour away from my heart’s desire.


Dreamscape No. 153

(click here to see original image)

Enter to win by clicking the "Artist Spotlight and Giveaway" button!


In college, I poured over the course handbook and wanted so badly to major in art, but didn’t think I had what it took. Again, fear won.

I took up photography as a hobby in the early1990’s and soon a desire to paint from my photographs emerged. A friend introduced me to watercolor by letting me use some of her paper and paints. I bought a Grumbacher student kit, checked out library books and videos and dabbled off and on for about a year. Soon, other life choices and responsibilities took precedence and time for art was squeezed out.

My breakthrough came in October of 1999 with the Y2K scare. I woke up one morning and thought, if the world is going to end, I would at least like to take a beginner watercolor class. I enrolled in a 10-week course at a nearby community college. Thankfully, I had an encouraging teacher and have not stopped painting since.

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

I began in watercolor because it happened to be what I was introduced to first. I doubt I would have chosen it had I known it is considered by many to be the most difficult medium. I didn’t know any better and fell in love with it.

Fresh-Picked Daffodils
(click here to see original image)

I’ve mostly worked from my photographs and very early on was drawn to painting houses. I began getting requests for commissioned house portraits and used an opaque projector to save sketching time and for perspective.

My use of the opaque projector is falling away. Now, I’m wanting to sketch loosely from life or paint intuitively with no sketch.

In 2009, I had a strong desire to try other mediums via one-day introductory workshops. One of the mediums I tried, I had never heard of, alcohol inks. During that workshop it was like my inner child artist had finally been let out to play. All around me other artists were manipulating the inks with brushes, making impressive representational works, but I had a strong resistance to even picking up a brush! All I wanted to do was drop ink on the paper and observe what happened. Afterwards, through a spirit of experimentation and play the Dreamscaping theme emerged.

I began getting requests to teach and the instructor from that one day workshop gave me her blessing, saying I had developed my own style. Plans for my first instructional DVD, Level 1 Alcohol Ink Dreamscaping With June Rollins™ are now being made.

More important than choice of medium for me is the dreamscaping spirit I want to nourish and incorporate into all my art making. I now have a desire to dreamscape in watercolor, watercolor inks, oils and pastels.

Flower Power No. 6
(click here to see original image)

You're an accomplished watercolorist and you've also created bold, beautiful work using alcohol inks. What can you tell us about the differences in setting up compositions for each medium? What pulls you to either one? 

Many of my watercolors have been representational and were created from my photographs. Working in this manner requires more planning and preliminary set-up. It’s like putting together a difficult puzzle. It’s great when it all comes together and you feel a high degree of accomplishment.

You can work intentionally with alcohol inks too, but the Dreamscaping process I’ve developed is intuitive, using no brushes or pre-planned sketches. One of my students described it best, when she said, “When I pick up the ink bottle and begin dreamscaping, any tension I was feeling, begins draining away.”

How I’m using alcohol inks is influencing how I watercolor. My style is becoming looser. I’m having more fun, without trying so hard as I have in the past.

What does procrastination look like for you? What techniques work to ensure that you make time for your art? 

In the past, procrastination looked like a bag of Oreo cookies I had to open and eat or a load of laundry I had to start before I could begin to paint. Procrastination was my old friend, fear. We’ve just gotten used to each other. She doesn’t hold me back like she used to :-)

Dreamscape No. 143
(click here to see original image)

Competition deadlines have helped me. Not getting that art degree when I was younger made me want validation by attaining signature membership in art societies. Something I’m still aspiring to, but it’s not the be all, end all it once was. Getting so many rejections along the way has make me more resilient.

Since last November when I joined DPW, I’ve been inspired by other artists’ work and have benefitted from adopting the daily painting practice of working small. I’m an early riser and love starting the day Dreamscaping. Do I paint everyday? Well, maybe not on paper, but in my heart and mind I do.

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Just about everything I see, I’m interpreting into a painting. I’ll never be able to paint all that I want to paint which is one of the reasons my love for photography continues.

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

In 2009, I was experiencing a growing dissatisfaction with my art which is why I was prompted to try other mediums. Experimentation and play came to my rescue. Specifically, experimenting with alcohol inks revitalized my art making. It is such a fluid, forgiving medium.

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

I’m learning the less I try to control or force a preconceived outcome, the more soul-deep satisfying the creative process. I believe I’m learning joy. I’m noticing this joy I experience when creating, sometimes transfers to the viewer which seems to complete the circle.

Dreamscape No. 69
(click here to see original image)

What makes you happiest about your art? 

That I’m doing it. That fear didn’t win. I love experiencing the creative process and inspiring others to get in touch with their own creativity; either with how my art makes them feel or offering art instruction.

Thanks, June!

© Jennifer Newcomb Marine