Thursday, February 20, 2014

DPW Spotlight Interview: Dean Shelton

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

To enter to win Dean's painting, "White Hen 2" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Dean's DPW Gallery page:

Dean Shelton grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas. Dean admits, "I probably spent time drawing when I should have been focusing on other subjects". His mother always encouraged him in his art and ordered a Famous Artist Course to help develop his artistic talents. His high school did not have an art curriculum and he did not have much interest in school. He entered the Navy just before his 18th birthday. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

For as long as I can remember, I have liked to draw. When I was in third grade, everyone did a drawing for a class project. The teachers picked the best drawing and I didn't win. That is when I decided to get better. Growing up, I didn't know anyone who was an artist. When I was in seventh grade, the teacher that taught mechanical drawing had a Thursday night art club. I loved it and soaked up everything.

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

When I got out of high school, I joined the Navy for three years. I didn't do much drawing and had not started painting yet. I enrolled in college using the GA Bill. When looking through the catalog, the only area that I saw where I had any chance of getting a degree was art. The first painting I ever did was a portrait of my mother done in acrylics. I thought it was terrible, but my mother hung it in her living room and it hung there for decades!

White Hen 2
(click to see original image)

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

During my last year of college, Steven Naegle introduced me to watercolors. He was one of the best painters in both watercolor and oil that I had ever seen. He strongly influenced my painting style even to this day.

My wife and I got married during college and after graduation we went to California where I attended the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles. Even though I took painting classes in college, I made the decision to become an illustrator and attending the Art Center helped further my career.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

During my career as an illustrator, I used almost every medium except oils. This was because of the short deadlines.

The Old Zinc Mine
(click to see original image)

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

Watercolors have stuck with me since I began in college. When I made the shift away from illustration, I started working more with oils. I still use most mediums, but some more than others.

Who or what inspires you most?

I've always been inspired by the great illustrators Bernie Fuchs, Bob Peak, Mark English and Norman Rockwell. As for fine artists, I've always liked the paintings of Andrew Wyeth and Richard Schmid.

Dirt Bike
(click to see original image)

What does procrastination look like for you?

When I have too many things to do, I find myself just thinking about each one of them. I just have to stop thinking and start working on something.

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

As a freelance illustrator, I worked out of a studio in my house. As a fine artist, I have just continued to work on my art almost every day.

Signs of Life
(click to see original image)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I'm always looking for subject matter to paint. I usually carry my camera and sketch book. I am a member of the Chestnut Group who are plein air painters promoting land conservation. We are invited to paint many historic and interesting sites.

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

I joined DPW so I would try new techniques and paint something everyday. Hopefully, this will help me grow as a painter.

New Day
(click to see original image)

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

When I first started painting in oils, I read books and watched demonstration videos. I've watched painters on PBS and taken workshops. One of the hardest things I've had to learn as an oil painter, is how to paint wet on wet on a canvas. After watching others and doing a lot of painting, I finally learned how to that, but I'm still learning.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I'm happy when I start a new painting. I'm happy when I finish a painting. I'm happy to know there is no end to growing as an artist. I'm happy when I see someone who has grown as an artist and is painting beautiful art!

Thanks, Dean!

© 2014 Sophie Catalina Marine

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