Thursday, July 7, 2016

DPW Spotlight Interview: Connie McLennan

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

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

From Connie's DPW Gallery:

After graduating with a BA in journalism, I studied illustration at San Francisco's Academy of Art. With thirty years of advertising and children's books behind me, I am a "recovering illustrator"--concentrating on painting and still a work-in-progress. Because of my background, I began as a realist, but I admire and am moving toward more painterly impressionism. I have been blogging my paintings sporadically since 2007 and joined DPW in November, 2012. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

After receiving a BA in journalism and attending art school, I freelanced as an illustrator. I took occasional painting workshops and dabbled in “daily painting,” but for a long time my only goal was to become a better illustrator. I never aspired to paint exclusively until my advertising work finally succumbed to the digital age, and I lost interest in illustrating more children’s books. In 2010, a series of classes with impressionist Don Hatfield opened my eyes to a painting approach that inspired me to paint more seriously.

Gerbera Quartet
(click to view)

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

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

Life has thrown me some major curves, with interruptions lasting days to months; but art--sometimes a solace, sometimes a frustration--has always been part of my identity, and I have never been away from visual expression of some sort for long.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

Depending on the assignment, I have used graphite, charcoal, colored pencil, pastel, scratchboard, gouache, watercolor, dyes, acrylic, and oil.

Merriam's Chipmunk
(click to view)

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

For painting, oils provide everything I need.

Who or what inspires you most?

Historic and contemporary California impressionists inspire me, but an assignment, goal or deadline is still my most effective motivator.

Winter Hills, Monterey County
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Like many women, I have always put family concerns first. As other artists have noted, perfectionism--fear of failure or mistakes--causes procrastination, and I probably spend too much time online.

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

Entering a competition, committing to a show or open studio, and feeling obliged to post more frequently on DPW are the surest ways to keep me at the easel.

Magnolia Buzz
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

For a while, I collected inexpensive vintage objects to pair with flowers or produce for still life. I look at other paintings and am intrigued by the architecture of trees. I travel short distances to photograph subjects, with the goal of painting more local vegetation and landscapes. In everything, I am most interested in the path of the light and in integrating and adjusting the local color to reflect my internal color sense.

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

Seeing and designing the masses, further developing my color sense, painting with less separation of color, and working more boldly and fearlessly are my lasting challenges. And I probably should work more on figures.

Late Afternoon, Pt. Lobos
(click to view)

What makes you happiest about your art?

For me, art has always been both work and play. To paraphrase various writers, sometimes I hate painting, but I love “having painted.” I like solving a problem or seeing progress. After working commercially for so long, I appreciate the freedom of choosing what and how I paint and am endlessly gratified by sales of work whose sole purpose is someone’s enjoyment.

Thanks, Connie!

© 2016 Sophie Marine

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