Thursday, January 31, 2013

DPW Spotlight Interview: Joanne Grant

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

To enter to win Joanne Grant's painting, "Tabby Cat," go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing her interview.

From Joanne's DPW Gallery page:
Joanne Grant is a self-taught artist born and raised in Bucks County, Pennsylvania and currently living and painting in Buckingham, Pa. Art has been a part of Joanne’s life since early childhood and as a young mother, she began to paint commissioned trompe l’oeil murals while raising her growing family.
Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I was always doing something artistic for as long as I can remember. I painted murals and did portraits of homes, pets and figures on commission when my kids were small. My kids took art classes with Amanda Layre (a local artist) after school, so I decided to take an adult class with her. I fully intended on drawing in charcoal, but after drawing a landscape in charcoal, she was insistent that I paint over it in pastels. She gave me a box of pastels to borrow. I instantly fell in love and never looked back.

Tabby Cat
(click here to see original image)

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

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

I was home with my kids when they were small while I did commissions. After they grew up, I decided I needed to go back to work. I went to nursing school and worked at our local hospital. I was so busy studying and working that for two years I did no art whatsoever.

But life has a way of bringing you back to your true self. I began to have some health problems and was not feeling well enough to keep up my hectic pace. I left nursing, quit my job and found my way back to my painting. It has been a rough two years where I feel good and paint - and then some time where I just don’t feel up to going to my studio, for months on end. I really am happiest when I am painting and my goal for this year is to not allow any health problems to keep me from my passion.

Rough Surf
(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?

From the first day of being introduced to pastels, I have never done a drawing in charcoal again, except to do a value study underpainting. Even those have been passed over to getting right to the paper with pastels and diving in without an underpainting.

I bought watercolor and oil paints. I even bought watercolor paper and prepared canvas with gesso for oil. I have dabbled in each, but always go right back to pastels. There is such an urgency to create that I find I have very little patience to teach myself something new.

However, I am sure that I would love both those mediums if given the chance. So I hope to at some point this year get to dig deeper in at least one of those to see where it may take me.

All genres of art captivate me. I seem to gravitate to still life. I have done commissioned pastel animal portraits in the past and am moving to doing more of that. After a trip to Europe this past summer, I couldn’t wait to get home to paint urban landscapes. I took 1,600 photos in Europe and hope to use them for references for future paintings.

I love the delicacy of your work. What's helped you cultivate the patience necessary to capture the super-fine details of what you're seeing?

Oh, thanks so much, I’m glad you enjoy it. I think my background in trompe l'oeil murals pushed me to notice the details. I find when I get deep into a subject and see the little details, I lose myself in the painting.

An Apple a Day
(click here to see original image)

It is almost something I have no control over. I sometimes think I will stray from the realism to do something more loosely, but I can’t seem to make it happen… I’m not sure how to do it any other way. It's something I am working on though.

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

Oh procrastination... my daughter tells me I am my own worst enemy. I’m not sure I would call it procrastination as much as distraction. Family, my dog, household chores, and all the errands that need to be done can easily distract me. I feel like I need to have everything done and in its place to free my mind enough to paint.

I find that if I think the night before about what I want to accomplish the next day, then I have a plan, an importance even, which hopefully will in my mind be greater than any chores I have to do. I'm learning that when I do that, I accomplish a lot more in a day.

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Usually I see something that catches my eye. For instance, the other day I noticed the way the sun was reflecting off of a glass-canning jar. It's all I can think about now. I almost can’t wait to explore mason jars, to see what I can do with them. I have a few paintings I'm working on that I almost can’t wait to finish so I can get to those jars!

I like to go to local antique or thrift stores to see what I can find that might be interesting. I look for old things with interesting textures; something that usually has a meaning for me in some way. I know it when I see it.

Captain America
(click here to see original image)

Oh and let's not forget Pastel Journal and other art magazines. I love to look through them to see what other artists are inspired by. I look for ways they handle light and color. That always gets me out of a “I don’t know what to paint” rut.

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

Having my studio in my home can definitely make me stale. I need to leave the house every day. I walk my dog through a wooded area every morning without fail. These little adventures wake up my mind… I take notice of how the light hits the trees, the path or even on the pond we pass. I think about what color/technique I would use to convey what I am seeing. Even though most of what I see never makes it into a painting, I find that it is almost as if I am painting in my mind. So invigorating to me!

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

I am trying to make my paintings softer. I hear a lot of artists discussing how realism is not fresh and exciting art to look at and it seems to be my style and what comes naturally for me. But I want to explore adding more to a painting. More feeling and expression. Later this week, I am taking a workshop to help me with that and see if it is something that will work for me.

Max
(click here to see original image)
What makes you happiest about your art?

During everyday, everything I see as I go about my day is analyzed—color, shape, how the light is reflecting, the color of the shadow that is being cast, even the length of a shadow due to where the sun is in the sky. All of these things have been given to me. I am not sure other people see these types of things as I do.

I take this stimulation back into my studio and put it into a painting. When all goes well I lose myself for hours, only to awaken with a finished painting, not sure of how it was done.

It doesn’t get much better than that!!

Thanks, Joanne!

© 2013 Jennifer Newcomb Marine

1 comment:

  1. I really like your work! Maybe someday I'll work more in pastels. I feel inspired.

    ReplyDelete