Thursday, March 31, 2016

DPW Spotlight Interview: Trevor Downes

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

To enter to win Trevor's painting, "203 CLASSIC FLOWERS 5" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Trevor's DPW Gallery:

I have worked full time in the advertising industry for over fifty years... from message boy to operating my own advertising design and finished art studio employing fifteen artists. The majority of my work was design and finished artwork for brochures, catalogues, packaging and press advertising in both colour and black and white. I have been fortunate to have worked in studios in Australia, Canada, U.S.A., England and Germany. I have used the skills I have gained on my travels to produce thousands of designs and pieces of finished artwork. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

When I was a thirteen year old at the local Australian State School, we read a book called “The Drums of Mer” written by Ion Idriess. In the weekly art lesson, we were asked to illustrate something that impressed us from the book. Using our limited range of pastels, we produced our drawings.

Two of my class mates made a lasting impression on me.

One drew a dark storm scene... black clouds, lightning and angry waves crashing onto a tiny outrigger canoe. The other boy drew a soft, azure blue, idyllic, tropical seascape with sunset, islands and palm trees.

They produced two completely different interpretations.                

They had used the same pastels that I had used but their work was so different and exciting.  What a challenge.

I was hooked then and I’m still hooked now.

203 CLASSIC FLOWERS 5
(click to view)


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

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

No Stops.  From age seventeen, I have worked as an artist in press, print and packaging combining layout, design, illustration, typography, finished artwork and photo direction. I even wrote copy for radio and T.V. commercials when required for advertising campaigns.


My first paid job was for a chiropodist who needed signs to be placed on the risers of the steps up to her rooms.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I have used most mediums and my work is realistic/impressionism.

223 ORIGINAL LIFE SKETCH 7
(click to view)

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

Pencil, charcoal, oil pastel and acrylic are favourites but I will test drive anything new.

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

Computer graphics. There’s a whole new world out there. It’s just a different pencil.

Who or what inspires you most?

“Have a go” is a great Aussie saying and people who “have a go” inspire me. It doesn’t matter what field they are working in.

040 PARKS & GARDENS 8
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Procrastination is something I don’t know much about. I’m happiest when I’m busy and I always have half a dozen projects on the go.

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

Art is my life. I do find time to play golf twice a week, swim twice a week and look after our grandchildren whenever needed. If I’ve been very busy and can’t get into my studio during the day, I can work through the night to satisfy my creative urge.

143 MOD GIRL 2
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I really don’t know. They just keep coming. I am able to design and paint in my head and I like nothing better than to dream of painting.

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

I get disappointed when something I have worked on doesn’t work out to my satisfaction. Having worked to extremely tight deadlines in advertising, I know I can’t win them all so I just have another go.

122 FLOWERS ABSTRACT 2
(click to view)

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

Learning to enjoy myself and paint for my own pleasure gives me a great feeling of freedom.

What makes you happiest about your art?

Finishing a painting to the best of my ability. It amazes me as to which paintings get the most hits on the DPW website. It gives me joy to have the grandchildren ask me to “show them how to paint.” To pass on that love of drawing is a gift all around.

Thanks, Trevor!

© 2016 Sophie Marine

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