Thursday, November 21, 2013

DPW Spotlight Interview: Don Stewart

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

To enter to win Don's painting, "Two Hues of Green" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing his interview.

From Don's DPW Gallery page:

Don has created an astounding amount of art in his life. For over twenty years, it's been for the illustration field and nearly one hundred of his paintings have been published as book covers for clients like HarperCollins, Macmillan, Moody Press, Pocket Books and Scholastic. Countless paintings have also been in magazines, advertising, children's books and textbooks. In addition, Don is a pioneer of digital painting methods and those, along with his digital paintings, have been featured in the last five consecutive editions of The Painter Wow! Book.

Since 2006, Don has devoted himself to creating works of fine art and that's what you'll find in this gallery. Everything here is painted from life, not photographs. He works in oils and is equally accomplished at painting people, landscapes and still lifes. Much of his fine art has been exhibited and is held in private collections.

Currently, Don divides his time between fine art, illustration and teaching. In addition, he hosts the ArtistChronicle channel on YouTube and writes the ArtistChronicle eNewsletter. He received his BFA degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and currently lives in that city, which is centrally located in North Carolina's picturesque heartland.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

About 30 years ago, I earned a BFA degree with a concentration in painting. I remember that it was my junior year when I determined what my major would be. Up to that point I had narrowed it down to music, psychology or painting. I didn't really excel at music and somehow I got the mistaken notion that I'd have to experiment on helpless little pigeons for a psychology degree - which didn't appeal to me at all.

At that time, I was taking an introductory drawing course, and so, decided to put my skills to the test. One evening, I made my way up the art building stairs to a classroom that was empty, except for its easels and still life set ups. I positioned my 18 x 24 inch newsprint pad onto an easel and with vine charcoal and kneaded eraser in hand, attempted to copy the still life before me. About two hours later, I emerged from the room - victorious! I had a knack for this drawing thing, it seemed. From that point on, I worked hard to hone those drawing and painting skills.

Two Hues of Green
(click to see original image)

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

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

Does an over twenty year stint freelancing as an illustrator count? Prior to that, fresh out of college, I worked briefly as a mechanical artist at a printing company. Then for four years as a preproduction illustrator at an advertising agency. It was only about seven years ago that I returned to Fine art and my painting career.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

Over the years I've experimented with many mediums. Egg tempera, gouache, watercolor, acrylics and oil to name a few. As an illustrator, most of my paintings were airbrushed acrylics with colored pencil. Any illustration work I do currently is digital and rendered on the computer.

No Shade for Chickens
(click to see original image)

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

My favorite fine art medium is, and always has been, oil. As for genre, I haven't ever ventured too far from a representational style of painting. And I've usually stuck with traditional subject matter - still life, landscapes and people.

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I'm planning to explore gouache in the near future as a way to expand and improve my oil painting technique. I plan to begin using it for color studies, too.

Surrounded
(click to see original image)

Who or what inspires you most?

I'd have to say that seeing the work of masterful artists inspires me the most. How can any representational artist ponder the paintings of John Singer Sargent or Richard Schmid, say, and not be inspired?

What does procrastination look like for you?

First, please excuse me while I take a break and brew a cup of yerba mate. I might add a little cocao powder and honey for a flavorful variation. Have you ever tried yerba mate? Are you a coffee or tea person? What about herbal tea? Why, yes, I do have time to chat a bit. I'll answer this question later.

Valerie's View from 59
(click to see original image)

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

Knowing that I'll be sharing my art through things like blogging, eNewsletters and Daily Paintworks helps motivate me to make time for it.

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Ideas come from things I see around me.

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

I'm a perpetual student and am always looking for ways to improve my art.

Tangerines and Blue
(click to see original image)

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

Currently, I'm honing my drawing skills and am working towards being able to draw more from memory and imagination, rather than from observation, only.

What makes you happiest about your art?

Doing it! Creating it! I love to create things out of nothing. Oil painting is my favorite way, by far, to do that.

Thanks, Don!

© 2013 Sophie Marine

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