Thursday, March 3, 2016

DPW Spotlight Interview: Patti Frasier

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

To enter to win Patti's painting, "Golden Delicious Light" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Patti's DPW Gallery:

I love to paint. I feel like it's what I'm meant to do. I paint every day because it makes me happy. And if I can make someone else happy in the process, that's the icing on top.

I want my paintings to be like a poem -- just enough to tell the story. Impressionism with a sense of abstraction. Strong, decisive brush strokes. And exciting, unexpected use of color. I love to explore the beauty of nature and everyday things that we tend to take for granted. (click to view gallery)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I have loved making art since I was a child and art was always my favorite subject in school. I started to pursue it in college, but got discouraged early on by an insensitive teacher. I didn’t pick it up again until I was in my 30s, taking lots of drawing classes in the evenings.

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

I wished I had pursued art in college, as now I believe I could have made a happy living of painting and teaching. It feels like what I was meant to do. The other obstacle is that I spent a lot of time learning how to draw, probably too much time, and put off learning to paint because, to be honest, I was a bit afraid of it.

I didn’t start painting until I was 53 and wondered why I ever waited so long to try it because I love it so much. But it is very challenging and takes lots of time, effort and practice. I always tell people it’s like learning to play a musical instrument. You would never expect to pick up a violin and play beautifully right away. It’s the same way with painting; it takes years of practice to be skilled and proficient. It takes years to integrate all you learn along the way, such as color mixing, temperature, values, composition, drawing and designing a painting.

Golden Delicious Light
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

Fortunately, I started out painting with Linda Hendrickson, who teaches acrylic painting in a fun way. You start with what she calls a “doodle start,” just flowing paint on first in different colors and marks, not trying for any sort of representation. It really loosens you up. She also uses a very bright color palette, which makes learning to paint even more fun. Then you paint the subject over top of the loose underpainting, using the underpainting to make up some of the subject.

I switched over to oil painting later on after taking classes with Trisha Adams and Kurt Schwartz. I love the way oil paint flows onto the canvas and makes it easy to blend and lose edges. Acrylic is a bit less forgiving in that way.

I also took a class from Lisa Daria recently and she uses acrylics to paint small florals in a very abstract style without any initial drawing. I tried that for a while, but I missed oil paints and since I spent so much time learning to draw, I’m a very good at it and enjoy it, so I went back to a more representational style. I love when some of the drawing (calligraphy) shows through in the final painting.

I have painted portraits, figures, landscapes, florals, pets, birds and still life. Portrait and figure painting is much more difficult as you have to match the likeness of your subject. Other subjects are more forgiving, so I paint mostly florals and still lifes. I have also recently started painting more pet portraits, which I enjoy because I love animals and the clients are so thrilled to have a painting of their beloved pets.

Many Colored Peaches
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I’m looking forward to getting better at painting florals. I have a passion for flowers, but am finding them very challenging to paint. It’s a bit harder to see the values and keep it simple. I also want to do more plein air painting and pet portraits. Right now, I’m exploring how to paint a snowy winter scene. Then I want to practice painting roses. I love Qiang Huang’s roses.

Who or what inspires you most?

I am most inspired by painters with a loose, painterly style. I think it’s difficult to achieve because it takes a lot of practice to know how to lay down the deliberate, bold brushstrokes it requires. I love the impressionistic aspect of this style because it turns the artist into somewhat of a poet, only describing what needs to be described, in as few strokes as possible.

Sunlit Sunflowers
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

It looks like reading too many books, watching too many videos, taking too many workshops and not just putting in the time to paint. Sometimes it looks like getting up too late so I don’t have time to paint.

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

I work full-time at a day job, but I work from home so that helps. I get up extra early and paint for at least an hour before I start my job. I also carve out time on Sunday mornings to paint. These are my non-negotiable painting times. I also do at least one task each day to keep up with my art business such as posting to DPW, Facebook and Pinterest and mailing purchased paintings. Saturday is my time to varnish and frame paintings. I guess you could say I’ve created a structure for myself because I realized I am not happy unless I’m painting so I need to put it first by scheduling it into my daily life.

I think I avoid my art because I’m afraid of failure. I’m sure it’s the same for most artists. Having a routine, painting at the same time every day and not taking it so seriously helps. No one is going to die if a painting isn’t successful. I also expect to feel a little fear and frustration along the way. It’s part of the process.

Sometimes, if I’m really avoiding my art, I tell myself to just do something for five minutes. Of course, that usually turns into more, but it gets me over the hump.

Mini Maddie
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I just stay aware of what I feel inspired to paint, kind of going with the flow. Sometimes I feel inspired by what another artist is doing.

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

I keep it fresh mostly by not over painting; stopping before I kill the painting and lose the freshness. I also like to let some of the under painting show through.

Eileen's Bakery
(click to view)

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

Right now I’m learning to slow down and study my subject and think about the design first (such as the focal point and what to exaggerate) before I start painting. I’m learning how to really observe. I think that is what makes a truly great artist. I’m also finding my style as an artist. It takes a while and it’s not something you can force.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I just love the creative process of painting – how the painting sort of takes over and tells you what it needs. It’s very magical.

Thanks, Patti!

© 2016 Sophie Marine

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