Thursday, March 16, 2017

DPW Spotlight Interview: Alejandra Gos

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

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

From Alejandra's DPW Gallery:

I am a software engineer in the Seattle/Bellevue area. I got my Computer Science degree at National University of La Plata, Argentina. I moved to the US in 2005 and have been working and living in Washington State since then.

I have a passion for drawing, and art in general, specially landscape painting. I used to spend a lot of time playing the piano, always hoping to go back to that some day. I am in love with the mountains, the ocean and all the scenic views Washington has to offer. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I first started painting about seven years ago. As a child, me and my sister were exposed to the arts. I played the guitar and piano. And I was also a good drawer. My mother is the best drawer I know. She had some pastels at home; even though they were old I worked with them a bit, but not much.

In 2010, I decided I needed to go back either to some sort of painting or to music. I was a bit bored with just my job. I am a software engineer. And so I found people in my area (Seattle) that worked with pastels and started hanging with them. It just went from there until today.

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

Not really, I consider the start of my career to be 2010. I have not stopped since then.

Behind the Trees
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

Pastel is the medium I know how to work with the best. However, I have used acrylics before. Lately, I started playing with oils. I would like to be able to switch mediums without changing my style.

I am a landscape painter, but I have done birds and figures in the past. People have received them well. I like to paint a blue heron once in a while (my favorite bird).

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

The genre that has always remained is the landscape. Specially scenes with light and shade. One of the things that stands out in my work is the use of vibrant color and pastel is the medium to achieve that. So landscape and pastels have prevailed.

Summer in Rosario Beach
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I am very interested in oils. I like the way they run when applied to the canvas. I enjoy mixing colors and there is a lot to explore there. Its an endless learning curve.

Who or what inspires you most?

Nature inspires me. I usually go for walks with my dog, and I find myself snapping a picture or just staring at the simplest things. Maybe a ray of light hitting a tree trunk will do it. That gets me motivated. Also, other painters I have had the pleasure of learning from inspire me a lot. I have been lucky to study with Marla Baggetta, Barbara Jaenicke, Janet Hamilton, Richard McKinley and others.

Reflecting Gold
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Definitely buying art books and taking pictures for future paintings is my procrastination technique. When I find myself only reading art books and not getting to the easel, I know I am procrastinating. It takes me a while to get back to it. I usually have to remind myself that it's just a piece of paper and chalk, and that I have produced good work in the past in order for me to end the loop.

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

I have tried several times during the day, but what works best is early in the morning. I have my day job and I have to commute, so usually I get up at 6am, work for a couple of hours (I set up an alarm so that I can paint freely without worrying about the time), and then get ready to go to work. It's much harder to do this in the evening.

Beauty on the Wetlands
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I have a box with many pictures I have printed out that would like to paint. I do much of the idea work ahead, even before I print them out. I have now started cropping to standard sizes and doing more composition either when I take photos or later in my computer. I also combine photos together.

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

I keep art fresh by going to workshops and seeing other artists paint. It's easy to get stuck in our own ways and think that we cannot do it differently than that. We are wrong. You can always change something - even a little thing, that will change a lot of other things around them. My preferred ways are working on a series based on a location,  going out in the field to paint, paint larger or smaller, use a different combination of colors.

Across the River
(click to view)

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

I am learning that practice, consistency and confidence enhance my work. If you look at how I painted five or even three years ago, the growth is huge. I am convinced that pushing thru is the recipe to success. I am learning right now that no matter which medium I use, my work is still the same and that I shouldn't be afraid of a new medium or subject. And that's such a good feeling.

What makes you happiest about your art?

My art requires a lot of concentration and coordination but at the same time it allows me to switch gears from my engineer work. My art gives me a break from my day job, but it also keeps me occupied. That's the best part for me, since I am a person that needs to be doing something at all times. With time, I am getting better at making this switch faster and makes me feel productive: the best feeling in the world for me.

Thanks, Alejandra!

© 2017 Sophie Marine

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