Thursday, September 5, 2013

DPW Spotlight Interview: Pat Fiorello

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

To enter to win Pat's painting, "Beyond the Poppies" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing her interview.

From Pat's DPW Gallery page:

Pat Fiorello is a professional artist who especially enjoys capturing the beauty and energy of nature in her paintings. She is known for her romantic paintings of landscapes, gardens and florals and paints in both oils and watercolor.

Pat shares,"as an artist, I have 3 primary intentions: to continue the lifelong process of developing and growing as an artist, to create paintings that are exquisite, elegant and luscious, and to inspire others."

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

It’s probably not your typical artist’s story. I had given up on art in the 3rd grade. My teacher was always yelling at me to clean up the paints. I didn’t like being yelled at, so every Monday I would pretend to be sick so I did not have to go to school. After a few weeks my mother and homeroom teacher figured out that I was avoiding on Monday was art class.

Fast forward many years later to age 35, I was a corporate Marketing VP. On one particular day, which was a real low point, I had a talk with my boss about my frustrations. He gave me some great advice, “you can’t control work or men, so you need something else in your life - something that replenishes you no matter what’s going on at work or with your relationships." Basically he was telling me to “get a life." I had no idea what that would look like but was open to discovering what that would be for me.

Shortly after that, I was on vacation at Canyon Ranch Spa and took a one-hour painting class, just to do something different. My first painting looked like what I call “refrigerator art” - it could very well have been on someone’s refrigerator door under a magnet since it looked like a 3rd grader had done it. But painting was fun and magical and I was hooked. I came home and started taking classes on weekends and at night after work and within a couple of months, still not knowing what I was doing, I signed up to go on a workshop in Provence. That immersion into painting really ignited my passion for painting. That was about 18 years ago. I still continued working, and studying whenever I could with excellent artists and teachers. About 11 years ago, I left the corporate world to pursue my passion for painting full time and I’ve been painting and teaching others to paint ever since.

Beyond the Poppies
(click to see original image)

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

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

Once I started painting, my involvement only deepened with each passing year.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

Initially, I started out with watercolor and kept with that exclusively for about 10 or so years. Then I expanded into oils. I continue to do both and have worked to develop my skills in both areas with a goal of being equally facile and confident in either medium. Occasionally, I do both on the same day, which can be a challenge switching my painting process from dark to light and light to dark in the same day.

Hydrangeas & Silver
(click to see original image)

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

Oil and watercolor are the only two mediums I actively use. I have tried pastels and acrylic and really didn’t enjoy either as much as I do oils and watercolor. I definitely prefer handling a brush to pastel sticks or pencils.

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

At this point, I am interested in developing mastery in painting in my chosen mediums. I do not anticipate expanding into other mediums. I like to focus. Not to mention the practical issue of no more room in the studio for supplies required by another medium.

Who or what inspires you most?

Beauty. My favorite subjects are flowers and landscapes that contain a bit of architecture. I love looking for dramatic light and shadow.

Lake Como View
(click to see original image)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Getting distracted by the computer and the list of things on my to do list. Sometimes I feel the need to get a few things off my plate and off my mind before I can have a clear head to concentrate fully on painting.

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

I block days on my calendar for painting. Just like making an appointment for a doctor or haircut, I make appointments to paint on my calendar. Usually, on Mondays I do marketing and other activities related to my art business. Tuesdays I teach and prepare for upcoming classes. Then I have Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays painting and maybe one day of the weekend. I average 4 days painting/week. It’s not as rigid as it sounds, but I shoot for this and then when travel or other activities conflict, I reevaluate and see where I can swap out days so that painting time is not compromised.

Daffodil Days
(click to see original image)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Visual inspiration that I see in the places I go. Whether it’s travel to Italy or France where I teach workshops or the local botanical garden or my own garden, I am always on the lookout for a good composition and great light and shadow.

I work both en plein air and in my studio.

Sometimes I do set up still lifes in my studio and will start with one particular type of flower or ceramic piece and build from there.

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

From time to time, I will start work on a new series. I go thru all my photos for that subject, select maybe the top 20 that would make great paintings, print them out 8 x 10 and put them in plastic sleeves in a loose-leaf binder. This way when I’m ready to paint, I have pre-screened possible subjects that I know I love and can happily choose from that group without having to reinvent the wheel everyday in search of what to paint. Sometimes, I’ll pick something out the night before so I am excited to get up the next day and get started.

Also, taking an occasional workshop helps re-energize me.

I even have taken workshop in related areas - like flower arranging - to open my mind to the possibilities of new sources of inspiration.

Tuscan Corner
(click to see original image)

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

I have been working on color and brushstrokes in oils. Earlier this year I had the opportunity to study with Russian Impressionist Ovanes Berberian in France. I am interested in learning more about depicting light and shadow thru color temperature.

Also, this year, I have been working on a book which has just been printed entitled “Bella Italia, Italy through the Eyes of an Artist” which contains over 80 of my paintings of Italy. How to go about putting together a book and the technical issues involved in preparing art to be printed was a big learning curve for me. A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to go to the printer to color proof the book on press and got to see how books are printed and assembled which was very interesting. You can see more about the book on patfiorello.com/bella-italia.

What makes you happiest about your art?

The magic of painting - it blows me away to think that you can basically put down shapes of color and value in such a way that it communicates something to someone else.

I also love doing commissions that are a special gift for someone. It is very satisfying to be part of the process of creating something meaningful for someone to give to someone they love.

Thanks, Pat!

© 2013 Sophie Marine

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