Thursday, December 22, 2016

DPW Spotlight Interview: Dana Cooper

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

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

From Dana's DPW Gallery:

After retiring as a children's art teacher, award winning southern California painter Dana Cooper has taken her painting from a hobby to a more full time pursuit. Viewing the world around her now as a daily painter, she is grateful for the opportunity to see and paint the world through the eyes of an artist!

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

As a child, I enjoyed drawing and as an adult, I always found ways to express myself creatively. It wasn’t until my own children were in middle school that I seriously pursued painting instruction for myself. Even at that point, I thought it would only be a hobby. Once I started painting, however, I was bitten by the passion to create art and I have never looked back!

Spring Roses
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

Though I have experimented with watercolors, acrylics, gauche, charcoal and mixed media, traditional oil paint still is and probably always will be my favorite medium. Genres? Figures and portraiture are my first love but I can be inspired by most any and every subject, for me it’s always about the light.

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

Watercolors fell away and have never found their way back but I still enjoy playing with gauche, oil sticks, charcoal and mixed medias. I have never worked with pastels, but that medium may be next.

The Painter
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

Abstract figurative is a genre that really appeals to me. Though I typically work on the small side, I have some larger, more abstracted figurative work in my studio that may or may not ever see the light of day, but the pursuit of something better keeps me working at it. I think play is important in art.

In the Moment
(click to view)

Who or what inspires you most?

Other artists awe and inspire me and push me to try new things.

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

Making time for my art has never been an issue. At one point in my painting career, I did paint every day which really helped me learn to see and mix color as well as get into good painting habits. Today, staying organized and on top of my life’s responsibilities helps to ensure studio time.

Among the Crowd
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Inspiration for paintings comes from a variety of sources. Travels and photos from those travels have been a huge source for ideas over the years. I always work from some sort of reference photo or from life. One often informs the other.

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

Burnout has been an issue at times but I try to paint through it and/or try new mediums and genres. I also try to take workshops from artists whose work engages me to kickstart a new direction.

Her Green Hat
(click to view)

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

I am learning that creating a painting is so much more than being able to copy a reference. I am learning that my paintings are more interesting when I start with an intention or an emotion.  I am learning that edges are important and that creating an interesting value pattern is important. I am learning that painting is what centers me in ways I keep discovering. And what is most exciting to me is that I keep learning!

What makes you happiest about your art?

The process is what I enjoy most about painting and the results are secondary but when both things are in sync, it’s nirvana! I’m happy when my art connects to others.

Thanks, Dana!

© 2016 Sophie Marine

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