Thursday, August 11, 2016

DPW Spotlight Interview: Jeanne Strohrmann

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

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

From Jeanne's DPW Gallery: 

Art has always been a part of my life but became far more important after my retirement from an accounting career. I laid aside all other crafts to devote my time to developing and improving my artistic skills. Art is a pursuit that must be studied, pondered and consistently practiced to achieve any degree of proficiency. One day I hope my paintings will fully express my love for God's creation, enriching and inspiring others as I've been inspired by the work of so many others. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting and if you’ve had any stops and starts.

I painted very little until my 30’s and must have mentioned an interest in art to my husband because he gave me a set of acrylic paints for a birthday present. I remember being absolutely delighted with them and started painting, albeit a bit sporadically. Art was simply another hobby to add to several I was already involved in (fiber crafts, mostly). After retirement, I realized I needed to significantly reduce my hobbies or I would never be a master of anything, just a jack-of-all-trades. By this time, my interest in art was growing so I put away the others and began painting in earnest.

Little Boathouse
(click to view)

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

What mediums have you experimented with and which ones have ‘stuck’?

Acrylics gave way fairly quickly to colored pencils because of a workshop I took. After about seven years of colored pencil drawings (which included watercolor backgrounds that I felt I’d never master), I gave soft pastels a try. I was still working at that time and had a little money but no time or sense. I just knew I’d never give up pastels and purchased a boatload of them – they are SO beautiful. However, after some unsuccessful paintings, I realized I wasn’t enjoying them. I didn’t like having to look for the perfect color out of so many and I didn’t like the fragility of the finished work and the framing requirements. Pastels just were not my “cup of tea”. Yet to this day, I absolutely love a well-executed pastel painting; however, I will settle for a deep appreciation and admiration of others’ work.

Next to try were oils and I realized I’d finally found my perfect medium! The paintings are durable, do not need to be framed behind glass, are easily corrected and I can get any color I want by simply mixing it. I have been using oils now for several years and expect to do so for the duration.

What genres have you experimented with?

At first, I was totally interested in florals because I grew so many flower varieties in my garden. However, I have since painted portraits, animals, architecture and now, mainly landscapes. Each one has its particular challenges and rewards.

Midnight Awakening
(click to view)

What have you done to advance your understanding of painting?

Since I enjoy learning almost as much as painting, I have taken numerous workshops, studied art books and magazines, and enrolled in the online Virtual Art Academy – a course I found to be excellent for my needs. I also study the work of artists whose paintings and techniques fascinate me. The study of others’ artwork incorporates and enhances all the material I am learning from other sources. Two of my favorite painters are Edgar Alwyn Payne (1883-1947) and Richard Schmid (contemporary) but there are also many, many artists that inspire me with their work – including on DPW.

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

For the first 10 years or so that I painted, my style was very realistic. It raised a question: why not just take a photograph? So for the last 2-3 years, I have been pushing myself to loosen up. As I study paintings that are more impressionistic than realistic, I’ve come to really love that style. While I once thought impressionism would be so simple to create, I’ve found there is nothing simple about it and have developed a very healthy respect for those who’ve mastered it. A painterly style intrigues me far more now than the realism I once sought to express.

In the Clefts of the Rock
(click to view)

In addition to style, there are various subjects that will require long hours of practice before I am comfortable with them; representing water is just one of many that is in conflict with comfort. Yet, thankfully, painting is a craft that will never exhaust a love for learning and creativity. I have only a very limited amount of talent to create art, yet was taught years ago that anyone willing to pursue training, study and practice can learn to paint. I would encourage all who want to paint never to be hindered by a perceived lack of talent.

Who or what inspires you the most?

The artists who inspire me are far too numerous to detail here (I noted a couple of them earlier). Other artists’ works are a tremendous motivation for me to continue learning and painting. A well-worn joke at our house is my “new favorite artist”. Sometimes when I find a painting that grabs my attention or includes beautiful, harmonious colors, I’ll try to mix colors to match those in the painting then will analyze the color pallet using the resources I’ve studied. This practice builds a good foundation for mixing colors as well as understanding the value of neutral colors, brush strokes, detail of subject matter (or lack of it), composition, use of values, and so on. My study of the work of others has been enormously stimulating and very much impacts the improvement of my own work.

Catchin' Some Rays
(click to view)

As for ‘what’ inspires me, practically everything in view. I cannot look out a window or take a trip – short or long, without finding such things as filtered sunlight on a tree trunk, cattails along the road, wildflowers in the weeds, a grain silo, industrial buildings, everything! There is the old man on one knee with his head bowed praying, the cutest little curly-topped girl you ever saw at play, children at a small table stacking blocks, squirrels on the fence-top ‘highway’, a spray of brambles with ripe berries, a rocky outcrop with flowers in the crevasses, ever-changing clouds and sky colors. Here again, the list is endless. I would need about 300 years to paint what inspires me!

A Stroll in London
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you and what techniques work to ensure you will paint?

Mostly I put art work off until my household and outdoor work is completed. These duties are very greedy of my time and if I didn’t set boundaries on their persistent calls, I’d never paint. My house is “presentable” in lieu of “spotless”, weeds may grow another day, the laundry gets attention when the socks are low, althouth to my great delight, my husband loves to cook. Far too often, however, I get my working pallet out of the freezer, thaw the piles of paint, then at the end of the day, put it back in the freezer for another attempt to paint tomorrow.

By far the best technique to paint on a regular basis has been having two painting buddies who get together with me one day a week for about 5-6 hours of solid painting. Almost every week, we come away greatly satisfied with the work we have just done and vow to continue our weekly retreats from reality until we achieve “world-class” status!

Ancient Junipers
(click to view)

What makes you happiest about your art?

As a painting begins, there’s typically an “ugly” stage that can last longer than I care to tolerate, so when I finish the block-in, I often paint a little part of the picture to completion so there is something to appreciate while the rest is coming along. I love getting past the ugly stage and when it is all completed and others see it, are attracted to and express their appreciation for the beautiful world God created, I am very humbled and grateful for the gifts and resources He has given me that enable me to paint something that brings joy and good memories to many.

Thanks, Jeanne!

© 2016 Sophie Marine

No comments:

Post a Comment