Thursday, June 23, 2016

DPW Spotlight Interview: Jessie Dodington

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

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

From Jessie's DPW Gallery:

Jessie Dodington is a visual artist working in oil, acrylic, watercolor and drawing media. She graduated with a BFA from Mount Allison University, New Brunswick, Canada in 2008 and moved to Portales, New Mexico in 2010 with her better half, a biochemistry professor.

Her work has been exhibited in group and solo shows in the United States, Canada and the U.K. She enjoys multi-day hiking, camping and painting excursions around New Mexico is an active member of the Plein Air Painters of New Mexico, New Mexico Art League, Portales Art Guild, Pintores Art League and New Mexico Watercolor Society. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I really connected to the act of painting in grade six, around the age of twelve. I fell in love with the paintings of the famous Canadian “Group of 7” who painted rough en plain air studies of nature and the Canadian wilderness. I happened to have a great teacher at the time who introduced me to so much, as well as an encouraging family who appreciated art. Long before grade six though, when I was really small, my grandfather made me a really nice easel that I used regularly, so I suppose you could say I first started painting then.

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

I had a few detours in my painting career. I wanted to see if there was a career other than art that could make me happy because art as a career is such a challenging and uncertain path. I have enjoyed these detours; I have been a web-design intern, knitting designer and then school librarian, but found they did not leave me with enough time and energy for painting. And without enough painting in my life, I discovered I was unhappy.

Sandy Cliffs
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with? Which ones have "stuck" and which ones have fallen away?

I think I’ve at least tried most mediums either in art school or on my own. The ones that have stuck with me are oils in the studio and watercolor when traveling. As soon as I discovered oils, I stopped using acrylics for over a decade. I am beginning to experiment with acrylics again though because of how quickly I can create layers upon layers as they dry so rapidly.

As for genre, I most enjoy creating landscapes and any paintings with nature as the main subject matter. I find it easiest to connect to my immediate outdoor surroundings so that is often the content of my work. I have an affinity for animals as well, and they will likely continue to make appearances in my paintings for a long time to come.

Which mediums are you looking forward to exploring? 

I have painted in oil for thirteen years but still feel I have so much more to explore within the medium.

Fox and I
(
click to view)

Who or what inspires you most?

I love witnessing the output of prolific artists, regardless of their styles or subject matter. Seeing that fever-to-create in others is thrilling. Reading about Vincent Van Gogh and how much he created, how he couldn’t resist making painting after painting every day is awe-inspiring.

What does procrastination look like for you?

Procrastination is sneaky! For me it takes on the guise of other jobs and interests. I am interested and enjoy so many different activities (tennis, reading, yoga, writing, brewing kombucha and growing keifer, hiking, crafting… to name a few) that it is VERY easy to be distracted and busy all the time. When I am honest with myself I realize that what would make me happiest is to focus on painting more, and that includes putting in the necessary time getting my paintings out into the public eye.

February Desert
(
click to view)

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

The internet has been great in helping me feel like there is an audience for what I make and that I need to keep making it. Sometimes, if you live in a remote location like I do, or you haven’t found an audience for your art, you can forget why you work so hard to produce art that only you see. Blogging has held me accountable to create and reflect back to the public on a regular basis. I think the Daily Paintworks website is a brilliant way to motivate painters to keep up regular production and posting.

Lately, it has been my involvement with artist organizations that keeps me committed. As a part of the Plein Air Painters of New Mexico (PAPNM), I take part in regular “paintouts” in beautiful locations around the state. I also wrote myself a letter and taped it to my studio wall to remind myself why I keep at it.

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I keep sketchbooks and write about ideas with no filter that I peruse later. I also take a LOT of photographs for their potential as reference material. I decide on most of my plain air subjects based on the light. If the light catches my eye the next thing I’ll think is, “do I have time to make a painting of this?”

Doug
(
click to view)

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

I’m not sure I’ve learned how to avoid burnout… but I cope with burnout by putting the series I’m working on (and often the medium too) on hold and switching to drawing or watercolor. It’s the eggs-in-one-basket issue. As long as I have a variety of interests, I can always switch between them when I feel bored or uninspired in one area. No matter how often I’ve felt I’d never regain interest in a particular series, I usually do. I also tend to have even better ideas when I revisit the series after a period of avoiding it. Ongoing research, reading and just having other interests informs my work and keeps it fresh for me.

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

Right now, I’m learning about the business side of being an artist. I know how to paint and keep up the desire to paint but I’m still learning how to view my work as an outsider, see the bigger picture and make tough decisions about my future and career goals. I’m beginning my Masters of Fine Arts at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas and am counting on learning a lot more about my art and the art world in the next few years.

Galisteo Basin Preserve
(click to view)

What makes you happiest about your art?

Art feels like a best friend I met when I was twelve. We go through everything together and she’ll always be there for me.

Thanks, Jessie!

© 2016 Sophie Marine

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