Thursday, October 15, 2015

DPW Spotlight Interview: Elizabeth Johnston

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

To enter to win Elizabeth's painting, "Three Pears" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

Click here to view Elizabeth's Daily Paintwork's gallery page.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

When I was a kid, I dreamt about being an artist but didn’t have any art education resources in my town. So my first foray into painting was when I went to college.

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

Yes! I had my son during my sophomore year in college. I was working toward a double major of Fine Art and Graphic Design and I decided that it would be easier to get a job in graphic design and felt like at the time, that was the right thing to do. I got a job in advertising after I graduated and didn’t paint for a full 10-12 years. When my son became more independent in high school and was out of the house, I suddenly had a lot of time on my hands. I signed up for an oil class at a local art store and that was the true beginning of my painting life. Looking back, I wish I had had more faith in myself in college!

Three Pears
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

Acrylics, watercolor and oils. Oils are my primary medium with acrylics being my second. I haven’t touched watercolor in years, although I really enjoyed that medium. I am mainly a still life and portrait painter. I have also painted a few landscapes and recently dove into cloudscapes after a sky and cloud workshop that I attended.

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

Oils and acrylics have stuck. Still life and portraits mostly. Abstracts have fallen away. I love some abstract pieces, but it’s not for me.

1941
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I’m not sure if I’m looking forward to exploring additional mediums as much as additional subjects. I have a long wish list going that includes paintings I think will sell well, commissions, requests that include some animal portraits, various still life subjects, and then the subjects that I just feel I need to paint to advance my skills, like landscapes. I also have a soft spot for narrative art. I would like to be better with telling stories in my paintings.

Who or what inspires you most?

It might sound generic, but I find inspiration in anything and everything. And it changes often. So far, there is no profound inspiration to my work like some other artists have found. It hasn’t happened on that level for me yet. I’m still searching for my muse, I suppose. While I search, I’ll paint whatever seems like fun to paint that day.

12:8 Red Delicious
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Procrastination happens with me when I get overwhelmed. Right now, I work a full-time job, teach a weekly painting class as well as try to paint 3-5 days a week. I’m also trying to sell my house and train for a marathon. It’s a lot. When I get overwhelmed, I can let myself freeze up and do nothing.

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

I had to quit seeking permission from others to make time for my art. I don’t mean literally asking, “Is it ok if I paint?” It’s deciding in my own head that if I want to be a painter full time, I have to work on it and it is just as important as other things in life and not just a hobby. Also, I now have a dedicated space for painting. I was painting on the coffee table in the living room. It’s a chore to get everything out and put everything up each time you want to paint. Now, everything is out and ready to go when I get to my studio space. That saves a ton of time.

Doris
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

By constantly looking around. Outdoors, on the internet, around the office, photos that I take on vacations, at other painters' work. I see painters on Daily Paintworks finding beauty in the simplest subjects and hanging around this site has really taught me to look at everything and wonder if it would be fun to paint. Some of these guys make power lines look good. Power lines! I used to think I would have to travel to find wonderful things to paint. And while I still fully intend on seeing the world, there is an infinite supply of subjects all around me right now.

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

I find a lot of enjoyment in alla prima painting. The challenge of mixing the right color, putting down the stroke and then stopping… not over blending and not muddying colors… is a constant challenge. I’m also an impatient painter, I like a painting finished in a single sitting. I’m working on that. I’m going to start some larger works soon in addition to my small daily paintings.

Yellow Peppers
(click to view)

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

Is it ok to say everything? I feel like, recently, I’ve made large strides in color mixing, form, and value. It’s hard for me to focus on one without bringing the others along for the ride. Every painting I do feels like I’m starting fresh from the beginning and I have to pay attention to the basics to bring out a successful painting. I am also in the process of making painting a business, so I’m diving in to learning the ins and outs of that side of it. Planning time to update blogs, packaging, shipping and all of the non-painting aspects of selling my work are keeping me very busy.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I’m happiest in my art in those moments when I know that it’s going perfectly and that the painting is going to turn out well. It just feels like I am doing exactly what I’m meant to be doing in life. And I keep trying to make that happen again and again.

Thanks, Elizabeth!

© 2015 Sophie Catalina Marine

1 comment:

  1. I'm thrilled that DPW chose E. Dawn Johnston! I love the spontaneity of her work. I took her acrylic class at a local art supply store and she has been an inspiration to me. To me, inspiring other artists is an honor reflective of the the dedication and hard work involved in the creative process. Congratulations Dawn!!

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