Thursday, May 30, 2013

DPW Spotlight Interview: Lauren Pretorius

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

To enter to win Lauren's painting, "Magic 8 Ball" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing her interview.

From Lauren's DPW Gallery page:

My name is Lauren Pretorius. I live in the lovely state of South Dakota with my husband, two pugs, and two parrots. I graduated in 2008 from Northern State University with a degree in graphic design and have been selling my paintings online since 2005. I absolutely love to paint, take photographs, and design anything that can be designed.

My artwork is inspired by nature, music, and ample amounts of caffeine. I choose subject matter that is simple and recognizable and emphasize its defining characters to make something that is not normally considered interesting... well... interesting! On occasion, I like to involve a little humor as well. I feel it's important not to take life too seriously and I strive to never lose my childish enthusiasm. Cheers!

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I can remember painting as a very young child with my 'kid friendly' water color kits that my parents were ever so great to purchase for me. My mother has always been a painter, and I attribute a large part of my ability to her. I remember trying to paint like her with my goofy plastic kid brushes on watercolor paper. My paintings were nothing close to being a masterpiece by any means, but my parents treated them like it! I recall entering drawing contests in Elementary school as well... I began to win a few of the contests and got really great prizes (mostly little trinkets and books) which really sparked my interest in the subject. I was having fun!

Magic 8 Ball
(click to see original image)

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

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

When I began college I pursued a degree in pre-med which allowed no time what so ever for my artistic endeavors. During college, I slowly realized that what I was going to school for wasn't quite my calling. After my second year of pre-med, I completely switched gears and changed my degree to the opposite end of the spectrum... Art! To be more specific, graphic design.

There was only that short span of time where painting wasn't in my life--- it was a pretty lack-luster and boring time to say the least! Ever since I charged back into the art field, I have been painting. I graduated from Northern State University in 2008 with my degree in graphic design.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I have tried almost every single medium at some point, except gouache. To be honest, I have no idea what gouache even is or even how to pronounce it for that matter!

Painting, however, was definitely my medium. Acrylic was really great for a while, but then I was introduced to oil paint and have never turned back. There is something about the buttery consistency of the paint and the capability to move the paint around if you need to without it drying.

As for a painting surface, I prefer a hardboard panel. I don't like to have the texture of canvas to paint on. I like the smoothness of hardboard, but I do like to add a little 'tooth' to the surface by gessoing with a foam roller. This gives the board a very uniform texture without strokes which I have come to love.

Dew Drop Tulips
(click to see original image)

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

I have dabbled in landscape, animal, and still life painting. Still life painting has really been the genre that has stuck with me the best. I am still exploring a bit, but I think I have pretty much found my niche. I will leave the landscape and animal art to my other love... photography.

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I think I have attempted almost every genre and have always gone back to still life painting. If something new comes up, I will definitely give it a try.

Who or what inspires you most?

I get the most inspiration from the people that surround me. Friends, family, and people in the art community inspire me to continue to create new works of art that stand out and that are unique. I also am inspired by the vast number of artists that are currently in the art community. It is amazing to see new ideas and techniques that other artists are using. Having the ability to see other artist's work always keeps ideas fresh and inspires me to shoot for new things.

Old No. 7
(click to see original image)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Procrastination is a terrible word! I have never been much of a procrastinator myself. If I know I have something that needs to be completed, I will make sure that it gets done when it needs to get done. Knowing that there is something on a checklist that needs to be checked off keeps me going. It is impossible for me to relax unless its done!

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

I adhere to a pretty strict schedule. I set certain hours for myself during the week to dedicate to my art. I also try to make sure that I reward myself with the weekend. The weekend is my time to do what I want to and when I want to; it helps me recharge to be creative again during the rest of the week.

Avocado Slice
(click to see original image)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I go shopping! I love to go on a shopping trip in order to get 'prop's for a photo shoot to use for future paintings. The grocery store is usually my number one 'idea' place as I love to paint any type of food. But I also love to hit up antique stores and even community 'rummage sales' to find unique items to bring out their character. My last 'prop' shopping trip involved the purchase of various vegetables, children's play marbles, a magic 8 Ball, a yo-yo, and a bottle of wine. I can only imagine what the cashier was thinking.

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

I like to paint things in a different light. For instance, imagine a painting of a pear. Normally, a pear is quite an interesting subject to paint with its color, slight texture, and slightly bumpy appearance. But, I like to take it one step further--- slice it horizontally and stack it back together--- or bake it and drizzle it with maple syrup. Different is the key for me.

Goldfish Lightbulb #3
(click to see original image)

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

Art is an ever-evolving medium. I will never know all there is to know about art--- every day there is something new to learn. If there is something that I have learned from in the past it would be to never take things too seriously. Art is about creativity, expression, and above all else, having fun.

What makes you happiest about your art?

Honestly, the best part about creating my art is the last few moments I have with it--- After someone has given me the honor of being it's new owner. The oil paint has finally dried and one last coat of protective varnish has been applied. I prepare my little painting for it's greatest journey ever--- to a different place in the world, knowing that it should hopefully bring a few smiles at it's final home for years to come.

Thanks, Lauren!

© 2013 Sophie Marine

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