Thursday, April 12, 2018

DPW Spotlight Interview: Nelia Harper

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings. To enter to win Nelia's painting, "Across the Pond" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Nelia's DPW Gallery:

Nelia Harper is a landscape painter who seeks to capture the aesthetic beauty of nature, and create an intimate connection between the viewer and the natural world.

A life-long creator, Nelia has engaged in artistic expression through photography, collage, and paper and fiber arts, before committing to painting with formal training. Her education began with college level drawing courses and continued under the instruction of Janeen Schissler, at the Schissler Academy of Fine Arts in Loveland, Colorado, where she worked primarily in pastel.

Intrigued by the properties of pure pigment and the historical use in the Renaissance style of painting, she then studied the technique of egg tempera under Koo Schadler at the Sedona Arts Center. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.


Well, like a lot of people I know, I loved to draw and paint when I was a kid.  I remember my mom subscribed to a magazine that had pictures of paintings – I think it was called Victorian.  Anyway, I would look at paintings by Monet and The Impressionists. I remember thinking, “I want to be like that when I grow up.”  I thought it was so adventurous and romantic.

But, like many artists I know, I dropped the idea of art and painting.  I went to college and then found a 'real job' that would 'pay off'. 

Then, while I was on vacation in Paris, I remember standing in front of a painting in the Musee D’Orsay thinking, “How do they do that? I need to learn how that do that.”  The feeling was overwhelming.  I remember looking at the dabs of color on the canvas and stepping back to see a complete image.  How did they make it looks so real?  I wanted to step into those paintings.  I knew there had to be a way to learn, and even if I wasn’t any good at painting, I could still have fun learning.

So, I took a six week acrylic painting course, and I was hooked.  From there, I decided to take a drawing course at our local community college.  After that, I kept taking classes and workshops.  I joined a plein air group and worked on my own too.  It was almost exactly six years ago that I took that first painting class, and my interest in painting and art has only grown since then.

Across the Pond
(click to view)

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

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

Well, I’ve really just gotten started in my painting career, and I hope to keep going. 


What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I’ve worked in a variety of mediums: oil, pastel, egg tempera, gouache, watercolor, graphite, charcoal, acrylic, ink, markers… I’ve done a little experimenting with abstract painting and illustration.


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

Oil has definitely stuck.  It’s easy to use, transportable, and versatile.  I paint regularly in pastel, sometimes using a watercolor or oil underpainting, and egg tempera.  Watercolor is mainly reserved for travel journals and painting with my nieces and nephews.  It sounds strange to say when the other mediums take more time, but I just don’t seem to have the patience for watercolor.

In Your Embrace
(click to view)


Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

As I get better at color mixing and drawing, I hope to paint in egg tempera more frequently. Even though it’s incredibly time consuming, it is such a luminous medium, and I enjoy making my own supports and building up layer after layer. 

Who or what inspires you most?

I would have to say nature inspires me the most.  It’s so easy to take nature for granted.  Looking at a sunset, the shapes of clouds, the incredible colors in a bird’s feather, the variety of trees, flowers, landforms, and of course people.  Everything comes from nature.  We forget that we are part of nature and the endless creation of life. When I think about what it takes to create and support life on this planet, I’m endlessly amazed and intrigued by the diversity that nature provides.

Snow Day
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

That’s easy (laughs).  Being busy!  I joke that my favorite form of procrastination is “productive procrastination”.  I can always find a project in the garden or around the house that needs to be done.  And, I’m forever organizing my studio to make room for my next project. 

I converted a small basement bedroom into a studio.  There’s just enough room for me, a canvas, painting supplies, a table, and some tools.  It feels like I’m constantly putting things away to make room for the next painting project. 

If that fails, there’s always a good book to read, an art show, a plein air paintout, a new technique to read about or watch on YouTube, or supplies to research and buy, not to mention looking at artwork on Instagram.


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

My favorite technique is agreeing to participate in a show with fellow artists.  That seems to get the fire going more than anything.  We have a strong art community in our area.  So, typically we have to reserve space for a show at least a year in advance. 

Because I am showing my artwork along with artist friends, we are always working to improve our skills and show off for each other.  And, we all paint en plein air together.  Every Friday, our plein air group paints together at a set location.  Sometimes we’ll paint together on other days too.  Getting outside with friends is always a good motivator to paint.

I also like to submit my work to juried shows at least 2-3 times a year.  Knowing that I have a show to prepare for keeps me busy in the studio.  Having friends to paint with keeps me painting outside and motivated for the next show.

And, I have a couple of music playlists on Spotify (music app) that help get my mind in the groove too.

Aspen Meadow
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Ideas for painting typically form while I’m hiking, painting en plein air, traveling, or daydreaming.  I’m usually inspired by shape and color.  I often feel a small wave of excitement.  Usually that feeling will last, nagging me to paint it.  Sometimes it’s a really bad snapshot with the cell phone, but I’ll see the idea fully formed in my mind.  When it stays in my mind’s eye and it feels good, I know it’s worth painting.


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

Luckily I’m still new to painting so I haven’t had a feeling of burnout.  As I look back, I realize that I am good at challenging myself with small risks that have potentially large rewards.  For example, I joined the Steamboat Art Musem’s Plein Air Event last fall.  For a $50 entry fee, I was able to experience a week-long plein air paintout, art show and competition.  Attending with several friends kept the cost down, and I sold a painting at the show.  I learned so much about plein air events, framing from the car, and traveling to paint.

Mostly, I find ways to challenge myself with small risks: paint larger, paint smaller, paint more realistically, more loosely, things like that. Right now, I’m learning portraiture and figure (back to the community college).  I also want to paint more complex scenes, buildings, flowers…there are so many challenges yet to paint.  The ideas keep me going.

Spring Blossoms
(click to view)


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

Hmmm… this is a tough question.  From a technical standpoint, I would say that I’m learning about light.  How it affects color and form, especially on the human body.  From a philosophical perspective, I’m learning about the value of beauty and living a joyful life.  For so long, I pushed myself in a career, I focused on society’s idea of success (the accumulation of things and prestige) and I lost my way.  Now, I think about what really matters: the human experience and how I want to enjoy living.


What makes you happiest about your art?

Art really is about the journey: painting with friends, braving the elements, figuring out how to make something look real, solving problems, seeing the joy in another person’s eyes when they look at my work, hearing the stories of collectors…

Once a piece leaves the studio, the influence of that artwork is often unknown.

For example, a few years ago, during our holiday art show, an elderly gentleman bought a print I had on display.  It was a print of an egg tempera painting, depicting a scene in Italy – a small courtyard with flowers.

He asked me questions about the location, and we chatted for a bit about our travels.  He used to travel for work and lived all over the world.  I shared with him the story of the hilltop town and the process of creating the painting. He dug into his pocket for some cash, and bought the print.  I signed it for him, and after a few more minutes, we wished each other a ‘happy holiday’ and parted.

The following year, as I set up for our annual holiday show a fellow artist came over and asked me, “Do you remember Harry, that older gentleman that bought a print from you last year?”  Of course I remembered him.  We had a really nice talk, and he was so excited about that print.

She told me he kept that print right next to his bed.  He looked at it every day.  It reminded him of the places he had lived and he kept it close to him.  A few months after we met, he died. 

Even though it’s a sad story, it’s filled with happiness.  We never know the impact that our work will have on other people.  I like to think that print brought him happiness and comfort in his final days.  As Claude Monet says, “Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love.”

Thanks, Nelia!

© 2018 Sophie Marine

Thursday, April 5, 2018

DPW Spotlight Interview: Deborah Savo

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings. To enter to win Deborah's painting, "A Little Bit of Spring" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Deborah's DPW Gallery:

Graduated from Moore College of Art in Philadelphia majoring in Illustration with a minor in painting. After 28 years of working as an art director I wanted to explore my love of oil painting. I love to paint people and animals and I'd love to start doing some plein air work and continue to explore light, color and composition.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting. 

I had a love of art from a small age. My mother was very creative and encouraged my creativity by buying me different art supplies. I remember spending many lazy summer afternoons playing with my watercolor set. In college, I majored in illustration and minored in painting. After graduation, I worked doing graphic arts and illustration but remember knowing that I’d return to my love of oil painting. A few years ago when I retired, I pulled out my paints and started to play around.

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

I painted in college, and other than my illustrations, I didn’t paint for many years. Unless you count the many school play sets I painted when my kids were in school. I always felt like I didn’t have the time to devote to painting. After working in graphics for thirty years I wanted to go back to developing my oil painting. At first I played around with the skills I had and did some pet portraits, they are still a love of mine. During my internet researching I came across Carol Marine’s name and daily painting. This spurred my interest in daily painting. I loved her little paintings; they are so fresh and full of life.

A Little Bit of Spring
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

My first illustrations were done in watercolor and colored pencils.

Many years ago I worked in an in house corporate art department. While I designed booklets and brochures, I also did some illustrating. These were mostly technical product renderings. But my favorite thing I did were these caricatures of people who were retiring or receiving awards. I continued to do these for about twenty years. Painted only a handful a year but enjoyed the opportunity to paint because, during this time, most of my designing and illustrations were created on the computer.

My current paintings are oils. I have a great love of animals and do pet portraits by commission. Other genres are still lifes and some florals. Attending a class at a local art center spurred my interest of alla prima and plein air painting.

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

I’ve always loved painting oil. I haven’t painted in watercolor in years but still love the luminousity that the media has.


Big and Little Pears
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring? 

Right now most of my paintings are alla prima still lifes but I’d like to further my skills in plein air painting.

Who or what inspires you most? 

My favorite artist of the past is John Singer Sargent. There are too many artists of today that I aspire to. I’m drawn to the impressionistic and figurative painters. The looseness of their brush strokes and use of color amazes me as it is something that I struggle with.


Shandy & DeeDee
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you? 

Procrastination is a big thing that I struggle with. I can waste a lot of time browsing the internet looking for inspiration and get caught up in looking at other artists. While I think it is important to look and learn other artists, I spend too much time looking and not getting to work on my own paintings.

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

I’ve participated in a couple thirty day challenges and they’re really helpful keeping me on a schedule.

A Cozy Spot
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings? 

Sometimes I go to the store and buy a bunch of pretty fruits and vegetables and they inspire me to paint them. I also have a cabinet of things I’ve collected that I thought would make a great painting. I love to grab my camera and ride my bike around town looking for interesting places to paint. I find myself taking mental notes as I’m driving…great skies, colors in the shadows, an interesting tree, an old barn. Mostly it’s the lighting that grabs my attention. I often have to remind myself to pay attention to driving. I try to only do this when I’m the passenger!

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

Looking at other artists past and present. I’ll pull out a book or search an artist I’ve heard about. I also listen to art podcasts. Listening to other artist talk about their struggles and inspirations helps me with mine.

Johnny Cat
(click to view)

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

Right now I feel like a baby artist. Sometimes it overwhelms me how much there is to know. My use of color and brushwork is my main focus. As an illustrator everything was very tight and I have to constantly remind myself to be looser and not to get caught up in the details. I love being an artist and it is a constantly evolving journey.

What makes you happiest about your art?

When I hear from a viewer that it made them smile or evoked an emotion.

Thanks, Deborah!

© 2018 Sophie Marine

Thursday, March 29, 2018

DPW Spotlight Interview: Johnna Schelling

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings. To enter to win Johnna's painting, "What's Next?" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Johnna's DPW Gallery:

Hello! Welcome into my "not quite daily painting" studio, where you'll find fun stuff going on - trying new things, perfecting others, and enjoying life. Embracing the joy in everyday things makes for great memories, happiness and cherished moments. A painting can rekindle those special times, or perhaps be the cornerstone to launch a new one! My greatest desire is to paint more days than not, and share life's joy with others through art. Thanks for joining my journey! (click to view gallery)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

As long as I can remember, I wished I had time to pursue art.  Tried learning on my own for a few years and then in 2008 finally gave myself the gift of professional oil painting lessons.  Met a terrific group of new and experienced artists with one suggesting we start a club.  Like a book club, but for art - complete with homework, challenge paintings, get-togethers to paint, talk art, share dreams, etc.  I was hooked!  The years we spent sharing our love of art were priceless.

What's Next?
(click to view)

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

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

The art club has always been great for encouraging me and keeping art a part of my life despite a challenging, full-time career.

It wasn’t until I met Carol Marine and DPW that things really took off.  To my amazement, Carol added a workshop in January 2013 that I somehow managed to get into.  I couldn’t believe it! What a huge leap for me to attend a week-long workshop, let alone in a different state.  I was nervously excited for six months waiting for it to start.  At the workshop, it was like all the light bulbs went off at the same time. The idea of painting small and fearlessly was precisely what I needed.  Came home completely addicted and got busy starting a blog, setting up a Facebook page and immersing myself in art at long last.


What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

Oil painting alla prima completely stole my heart and so far, haven’t been lured away by other mediums.  Occasionally, I’ll focus on larger paintings and multiple sessions but tend to get bored with the amount of time involved and the subject matter.  I’ve tried acrylics but we don’t get along well since they dry out so fast.  Then again, it would be great to paint while traveling, so may have to give acrylics another go.

Summer Dreams
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

At some point would like to venture into painting abstracts.  The internet makes everything so much easier to learn, I guess there’s no excuse to not get it on a to-do list and take the plunge.



Who or what inspires you most?

I have long believed that life is about making memories – in good and even not so good times.  It makes us who we are.  So, I want to create simple paintings to remind us of those unique moments, or possibly become the cornerstone to launch a new one.  When someone buys a painting, I feel truly fulfilled that I have made a positive contribution to someone else’s journey.  Lifted someone’s spirit with a bit of happiness.  I love how art has a way of bonding people together no matter our backgrounds, differences or diversity.

Hot and Prickly
(click to view)


What does procrastination look like for you?

The hardest part for me is figuring out what to paint and then actually getting started.  I can get lost for hours looking through free photo websites, meandering in the aisles of the grocery store, and of course the myriad of total distractions presented by my computer which is way too close to my easel.  At least I have to walk past the easel to get to the computer...

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

I love challenges and have used the 30 paintings in 30 days as a way to jump start my routine and make sure I focus enough on painting time.  Painting every day is a commitment that I find requires me to schedule other things so there’s enough left for life, research and painting!  When I run out of energy, which happens around day nine, I find selecting the next subject and drawing an outline makes it easier for me to get started the next day.

Pear Pizzazz
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Searching for photos always turns up unexpected ideas.  I particularly like Paint My Photo (PMP-Art.com).  This site has photographers and artists who leverage each other’s talents – sometimes, a painting of a photo will grab my attention and then I get the extra benefit of learning how another artist “sees” and how they approach the subject.


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

Painting objects I’m not familiar with seem to work out way better than I expect.  Actually causes a mini-happy-dance.  I think it is because I go back to the basics and paint what I see, squint more, pay attention, watch the values, etc.   Still life classes and photos are great for this since who knows what will pop up.  One of my favorite recent paintings was of a lobster...  it sold right away, to you guessed it, to a serious memory maker!



Salsa Anyone?
(click to view)

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

If you want to make art, you have to make it a priority, get a schedule or plan in place, and then be ready for it to happen.  Funny it reminds me of my day-job where I was the project manager for several deliveries – I was always telling people if you can plan it, you can deliver it.  I’ve been able to early retire and realize you still need a plan to make things happen!


What makes you happiest about your art?

When a person shares a memory that was triggered by one of my paintings or when they tell me why they “have to have” one.  What a thrill it is that my work delights someone and then we get to share the joy together.  Another surprise has been blogging.  It is interesting to have a journal of my art journey.  Looking back through the entries reminds me of the huge plunge I took in 2013, struggles met head-on, memories made, how far down the path I’ve come and how glad I am to be an artist.

Thanks, Johnna!

© 2018 Sophie Marine

Thursday, March 22, 2018

DPW Spotlight Interview: Teddi Parker

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings. To enter to win Teddi's painting, "Unconventional Friendship" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Teddi's DPW Gallery:

My passion for painting started at a young age and was greatly encouraged by my family throughout my early life. With this foundation in place, I began to experiment and learn new techniques over the course of the semester I studied Spanish in Argentina. While living in Buenos Aires, I purchased canvasses and paints and then carried the finished paintings through the subway system by hand. Just imagine that for a minute. ::wink:

Through the gracious advice and critique of my pen-pal mentor, I am now making up for the lack of formal artistic training in my past and am currently learning how to better evoke emotion through vibrant use of color. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I started painting sophomore year of college before going abroad to study Spanish.  My family had the supplies lying around and I got the itch.  I carried it over to Argentina and bought supplies and hauled them through the subway and painted in my host family's bedroom.  Getting those paintings home was a feat (I painted large back then).  It started out with images I would find online and copy, then turned into photos my friends took while we were abroad, and now it's primarily still lifes.

Unconventional Friendship
(click to view)

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

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

Yep.  But thankfully my husband encouraged me to pick it up again.  I jumped on the daily painting movement in 2014 and it has been revolutionary for my creative side.  I was also doing art lessons with some littles from my church - so the daily "arting" was helping my skills to develop much quicker.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

In painting mostly acrylic, I have played with oils and enjoyed them but have never purchased them myself.  I don't have the proper set up nor the $ it would take.  I actually get house paint from the landfill and use those pints for the large scale paintings, and for my 8x8s I get the 3$ samples at the hardware store and mix my colors with those.  I've had success in getting the colors I want, and that yummy brushstroke-showing oil paint look to my pieces.  I play around with a lot of other crafts too; embroidery on my clothing, my neighbors have taught me to knit and crochet, some sewing, and jewelry making.

Your Filament is Showing
(click to view)

Who or what inspires you most?

Gosh, I'm discovering new artists that inspire me every day - thank you social media.  Carol Marine's style definitely got me pursuing the bold and loose painting methods though.  Before I was so tight and photo-realism.  This is much more free and fun for me.  Lately the library books my daughter brings home have been inspiring me - there are some creative illustrators out there, and through them I've learned to appreciate the shapes in animals and nature. 

What does procrastination look like for you?

Hmmm, I think I only procrastinate when it comes to commissions that I'm not super excited about.  Since baby number two has come I think I'm done with that part of the job though.  By the grace of God I don't really have to look at my painting as a career, to me it's just a skill I enjoy that occasionally makes money.

Blowing Bubbles
(click to view)

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

Synchronized naps times, ha!  My art is a lower priority than other things that are happening in life right now, and that's okay.  So in this phase of life, when I get to do my art it's a treat.

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I keep a folder on the computer and save any images that make me want to paint so that I can refer back to them when I need reminding.  Or I have my still life shelf and there are definitely favorite items there I keep coming back to.  I like to work in series so I often use the same items or subjects or themes over and over.  Right now I'm on a cactus kick, but I would say I'm still in the middle of a reflections addiction.  Last year it was glass.

Pumpkin Play
(click to view)

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

Oooof, back when I was better at painting every day I would definitely experience burn out or boredom.  It's depressing and scary because you ask yourself - do I even enjoy this anymore?  Am I even any good anymore?  I've learned (and am still learning) to take a break and embrace another craft for a bit until the excitement and inspiration return, because they always do.  And look at lots of art!  I love finding the artists that make me want to paint by just looking at their paintings. Or pulling back and doing some abstraction play for a while.  That is just throwing paint on a canvas for me with really big brushes so I feel like an artist. ::smile::

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

How to have grace on myself.  In the world of social media I definitely feel the pressure to post a painting every day or let the way I feel about a painting be based on how many responses it gets.  My husband is really good at sensing when I need the reminder that I enjoy painting and to not pursue the next painting wondering what the people want to see or buy, but to pursue it thinking what might be fun to try.  I have way more fun painting when I'm grounded in that.

Wet Hippo
(click to view)

What makes you happiest about your art?


What a fun question.  When I can't stop staring at something I just finished.  Sometimes I'll even put it on the dinner table for my family to critique with me.  So much fun.  Another perk I didn't expect is how many people it has connected me to, and the conversations about art I get to have with strangers.  I love that too.

Why is beauty important?

My husband and I have been chatting about this topic so much in the last year or two.  The art culture here in Fort Collins, CO is on the rise so lots more art is being hung in lots more places and it gets you thinking about what makes good art.  I usually think about the sunrise.  God could have just made the sun come up and go down and that be that, but he thought it was important to fill them with loads of color and texture and beauty.  I think that's deep down why we appreciate the awe of nature so much.  If beauty important to the creator of the universe, we should make sure to do our craft well - not just to please him but to experience his joy too.

Thanks, Teddi!

© 2018 Sophie Marine

Thursday, March 8, 2018

DPW Spotlight Interview: Mindy Lighthipe

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings. To enter to win Mindy's painting, "Blue Heron" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Mindy's DPW Gallery:

I LOVE to paint nature. My training is in classic botanical and natural science illustration. I paint in a variety of techniques including watercolor, gouache, PanPastels, colored pencil and egg tempera. I enjoy experimenting and expanding out of my comfort zone. I am happy to consider commissions. Please visit my website for more information about my art, teaching and art tours. http://www.BotanicalArtPainting.com

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I have always been a nature lover and always worked as an arist/craftsman. I went to art school but studied textile design. After working for twenty years in the textile industry, I went back to school for a certification in Botanical Illustration. I knew at that point I would change my career and paint full time.

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

Once I started painting in 1990, I have not stopped. I continue to learn new techniques and often switch to different mediums. I sometimes combine mediums.

Blue Heron
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I work in watercolor, gouache, colored pencil, pen and ink, acrylic, pastels, and watercolor pencils.

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

I like to bounce around with techniques. Certain subjects are easier to render in specific mediums. For instance when I paint animals I prefer to work in gouache because I can work light to dark, dark to light and in-between. The opacity of gouache allows me to do this. I will also combine mediums. I may start with watercolor and finish the piece with colored pencils for fine details. I seldom use acrylic as I didn’t really take to it. I use pastel once in a while but in conjunction with watercolor and gouache.

Oleander Moths
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I just have started to explore solar intaglio printing. I am enjoying the traditional printmaking process and hand tinting my prints after pulling them from the press. The hand tinting makes them a one of a kind. There is less investment of my time than some of the other techniques and allows me to create small affordable works of art.

Who or what inspires you most?

Nature inspires me the most. I have always loved color, texture and pattern. As a textile designer, I was often inspired by insects. I still am inspired by insects, birds, plants and animals that are brilliantly colored and unusually patterned.

Malachite Butterfly
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

As a full time artist, I realized a while ago that I was a business woman and entrepreneur. This meant that I have to wear many hats to do the business end as well as making the art. I really don’t have time to procrastinate as I am constantly doing commission work, teaching, marketing and developing new concepts.

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

I sometimes write and sketch in a journal to record things I find inspirational. To keep myself on track, I make a “to do lists.” When I cross things off the list, I know I am accomplishing my goals and it feels good.

Red-Eyed Tree Frog
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I love to travel and get out in nature. This can mean a hike in a nearby park or travel to a foreign country. I am particularly inspired by the rainforest and have traveled to Costa Rica for thirty years. I now lead tours for artists to teach them about the rainforest. It is a never-ending stream of inspiration. I love to research and depict lifecycles that can teach my viewers the need for conservation in the wild places.

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

I think it is important to keep learning. I have taken classes that directly relate to learning techniques but I have also taken environmental classes to help me learn more about fragile ecosystems. Learning keeps me engaged and curious. It brings me new ideas on how I can create my art to share with people.

Green Back Heron
(click to view)

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

I think I am learning how important it is to remain positive. I am learning to shift and reinvent myself, my skills and my art to be able to make a living doing what I love. I am learning the importance of not taking things or people for granted. I am blessed to be able to pursue the things I love.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I love the actual process from start to finish. The beginning stages are full of excitement and I research what I want to do. Research is important as it offers lots of possibilities. The next step is to decide what will be included and what will be excluded. Creating the actual art and deciding on the medium to use is processed through experimentation and final execution. When the art is finished I get ready for the next journey on what I am going to do and I start the process all over again. It doesn’t get any better than this!

Thanks, Mindy!

© 2018 Sophie Marine

Thursday, March 1, 2018

DPW Spotlight Interview: Mandar Marathe

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings. To enter to win Mandar's painting, "Welcome to Kanha" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Mandar's DPW Gallery:

I am an artist originally from Goa but now settled at Pune, India. Painting and sculpture have been my more-than-hobbies since early age. In May 2011 I chose to become a full time artist after pursuing art as part time or weekend activity for many years. I have had 12 shows and apart from painting regularly and creating online art courses, I conduct sketching, painting and clay sculpture workshops at my studio and other locations. Hope you enjoy my paintings! (click to view gallery)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I started drawing and painting at an early age, probably at the age of four or five. They were just scribbles but I could keep doing that for long periods of time.

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

Not really, I have been creating art continuously since then. After school, I chose to go engineering college instead of art college as I was not sure of what it meant to be a full-time artist. All through my college education and later sixteen years of professional career in the corporate world, I was painting in my spare time and showed my work in five solo and six group exhibitions.

Welcome to Kanha
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I mostly paint landscapes, still life and some abstracts (on rare occasions). I have experimented with oils, watercolors, acrylics and more recently opaque watercolors/gouache. I also experiment a lot with digital painting on my iPad pro.

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

Landscapes and still life have stuck with me as subjects and oils and watercolors have stuck as my art mediums.

Jungle Safari
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I love painting landscapes a lot and I want to explore plein air painting more often. As far as mediums are concerned, I want something that handles like oil for an hour or so but dries quickly after that. Currently, my choice is oil colors for studio paintings and watercolor for plein air work.

Who or what inspires you most?

Nature is my constant source of inspiration. Light and shades in the mornings and evenings are my favorites. I paint from photos clicked only by me and so I know the place better than a single photo can tell me. I keep clicking photos when I am out. My wife and kids complain that my photos almost never include people!

Crisp Morning In Kanha
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

I rarely procrastinate but I find it challenging to focus on any one activity for a long time. Other than fine art, I also have interest in areas like illustration, sculpture, and technology that are constantly seeking my attention.

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

I chose to become a full-time artist in May 2011 after a sixteen years long corporate career. So, I make art or art related activity every day. Other than making art, I work mainly on creating online art courses. As of today, I have 20 such courses on my platform at http://courses.mandarmarathefineart.com/, Udemy, and Skillshare.

Towards Kankumbi
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

The photos that I click give me the ideas for my landscape paintings. I look at vacations or family outings as a means of getting new raw material for my art. I always have my phone camera, sketchbook and some colors with me when I go out. For still life paintings, I just go to the kitchen and pick up something to paint!

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

For me, there is always more than one idea that needs to be painted. I feel I need to paint a lot more often than I do currently, so the question of burnout hasn't come to me yet. I have a dream to have separate workplaces for every medium that I want to work/experiment in. All I want to do is to walk up to each workstation, make art and not have to worry about cleaning up!

Morning colors in Chorla ghat
(click to view)

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

I am learning to be consistent in making art. I am also continuously learning to manage my time in a more efficient way. Art is all about practice, practice, and consistent practice.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I am happiest when a painting turns out good! I am also excited by the fact that this work of art gets a life of it's own, independent of me and can give happiness to it's viewers for decades, if not centuries, to come. For me, art is the best method to capture the beauty of everyday things that we fail to notice otherwise. Next level of happiness comes when someone buys my painting as it means the painting spoke to his/her heart directly and I can buy more art material!

Thanks, Mandar!


© 2018 Sophie Marine

Thursday, February 22, 2018

DPW Spotlight Interview: Steve Miller

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings. To enter to win Steve's painting, "Across the River" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Steve's DPW Gallery:

Steve was born in Texas in the late 50's, but spent most of his early and teenage years in Georgia and Tennessee, and later coming back to Texas. Steve begin drawing in those early years, later developing God's gift through various visual media. Steve has airbrushed vans and T-shirts in the 70's, painted murals, signs and illustration in the 80's, created computer animation and digital illustration in the 90's and into this millennium we are currently in. Steve has won several awards in local and national art competitions, including being selected twice as a finalist into the Hunting Art Prize in Houston, Texas.

Steve says "My goal as an artist is pursue leaning - learning more about light, color and form as I attempt to portray this incredible creation God has made, always pointing to Him. With each passing day, I find I am more and more in awe of the world God has made."When traveling, Steve takes along his plein air easel and camera, to either squeeze in a painting or two as time permits or shoot reference photos for later studio works. He and his wife have traveled across Texas, New Mexico, Georgia, Louisiana, Alabama, Tennessee and Maine. Recently, while in Hawaii, he painted several plein air works on the island of Oahu. (click to view gallery)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting. 

I believe the first time I created anything in color was in art class in High School. We were given assignments to create paintings in oil and watercolor. But, I really stayed away from any work related to color until I was in my late twenties. I did many works in graphite, which I really loved. But in my late twenties I began selling some artwork to a wall plaque company and they had to be done in color, so I created many works in Acrylic. They seemed to buy the good, the bad and the not-so-beautiful. For two years I painted and sold these acrylic works to the company, which they put on wall plaques. It was a great time of learning, and I was able to pay the bills as well. As is the case with most artists, if I see any of those early works, I’ll play dumb as to the name of the originator of the painting and say, “Who the heck painted that?"

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

Many stops and starts. One of the difficult things many artists experience, whether the art is music, sculpture, visual or anything else, the difficulty or “rub” is figuring out how to survive, pay the bills and still carve out time to paint. Add to that other obstacles that make pursuing art, not impossible, but difficult, and the “stops and starts” seem to be ever present.  I remember at one point we were living in a small space and in order to paint, I built an easel that folded down from the ceiling, so that I could fold it up, painting and all, when we wanted more space in living area. I started a decent sized painting on canvas and not too far into the rendering I came to a motivational snag. I folded the easel up into the ceiling, half painted canvas and all. It stayed there for two solid years. One day, perhaps after some strong coffee, I had acquired a dose of motivation and determined that I would finish the painting. I swung the easel down to its working position and finished the painting, which I was blessed to sell.

Across the River
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

As alluded to above, I began with pencil as a kid, loving to draw black and white images, usually on typing paper (people once used typewriters). I hated crayons as a kid, and still remember my 2nd grade teacher trying to make me use crayons instead of pencils. As I mentioned, I made forays into color in High School, followed by quite a few acrylic paintings, mostly on paper, some on canvas. Although it is not considered “fine art”, I airbrushed vans, motorcycle tanks and fenders, as well as T-shirts. That was followed by a stint working as an illustrator at a publishing company. For a couple of years, I used nothing but concentrated Luma Dyes and Black Ink to create detailed illustrations for home school curriculum. About fifteen years ago I jumped into the pool of Plein Air, and felt like I was drowning. But I began to love it and it has been an excellent experiment in all things related to painting, as well as a teacher in color and value. A few years ago, I also begin working in Soft Pastels, mostly on Ampersand pastel board. I really like soft pastels on sanded surfaces.

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

It has been years since I have touched graphite, watercolor or acrylic, or even the airbrush. However, oils and pastels are two mediums that have “stuck”, and I continue to learn and work with them. There are basic similarities between these two mediums, as well as vast differences. Sometimes they both seem to lean on the other, crossing over at various points, especially in relation to color and value. 

The Overhang
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I wish I had room to journey back into watercolor. I would also like to work in charcoal on various surfaces. Maybe at some date in the future.

Who or what inspires you most? 

The “Who” would be the Creator of the universe - the God described in the Bible - Who not only created all we see, but also the design principles, rules of composition and the magic of light and color. The “What” of inspiration would be His creation and the world that is, both seen and unseen. My crippled attempt to create artwork that portrays this beauty and design is an ongoing learning process, a journey into the world of design, light and color. I believe mankind was created in the image of God – this inspires me to also not just paint nature, but people and the things people create. Back alleys, classic architecture, an old barn in a field of baled hay – all equally intrigue and inspire me to paint. And, they all tell a story… stories are a great source of inspiration as well. On an horizonal plane, I have been inspired by many painters who have traveled this creative path and are far ahead of me in the journey. If I started a list of these “inspirers”, the list would be very long. The work of accomplished painters are a great source of inspiration and study.

The Green Door
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you? 

Some have said that procrastination is birthed in the fear of failure. There may be other issues involved, but I would have say that this may be relevant with me and procrastination. This real or perceived failure may be many things – failure in executing the mechanics of a painting, failure in the financial aspects of this artistic endeavor, failure to get past known weaknesses and failure to get over hurdles or road blocks that are evident in my work.

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

Coffee. From the bag, to the coffee maker, to the cup(s). Very helpful technique. Seriously, for me, the whole trick is starting a piece. Once started, I am better able to carve out small sections of time, which is usually all I have available.

September Morning
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings? 

Most everything sparks an idea for a painting. Then I look for a story, or hint of a story, how color and value will enhance or better tell the story. While participating in plein air everts, the ideas are usually constrained to what is within the painting boundaries. Things like a back door in an alley, an old truck, a landscape. All are rich in intrigue for me. This carries over into studio works, usually painted from photo reference, but perhaps more complex than the plein air works.

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

Have I mentioned coffee? I enjoy a trip to Barnes & Noble for coffee and a slow look through some of the current art magazines, seeing the work artists are painting, looking for what I like, thinking about how it was done, trying to understand how they arrived at the image in front of me. 

Texas and Pacific - Across the Tracks
(click to view)

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

Maybe three things: I have been limiting my palette in an effort to learn more about mixing color and the relationships between various colors. It seems to be an excellent tool for fine-tuning color and it allows for much experimentation. The other thing I hope I am learning is Value. I have recognized that I have a weakness in that area. I am learning to more quickly render the proper values. The last thing is perhaps learning to see and fix problems in a painting. Artist are sometimes blind to their own error. Problems in the drawing, problems in composition or incorrect values. Learning to STOP and fix problems is an area I am working on as well.

What makes you happiest about your art?

If I succeed in creating a work of art that is well done, tells a story and points to the One who made it all, then I am good with that. The other side of that same coin is creating a painting that provides a service to someone. This “service” may simply be to support those in my family. Or, it may give someone joy in the viewing, perhaps stimulate a thought or memory of what is good. I have noticed that I, at times, get wrapped up in what I want (this is the “twisted” side of human nature) and forget that the gift God has given should perhaps serve…

Thanks, Steve!

© 2018 Sophie Marine

Thursday, February 15, 2018

DPW Spotlight Interview: Ryan Kohler

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings. To enter to win Ryan's painting, "Grumpy Butts" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Ryan's DPW Gallery:


I am an oil painter working in Skowhegan, ME. I received a BA in Art from the University of Maine at Augusta in 2011 with a concentration in drawing. Each painting is a one of a kind original (no prints) of my own design and execution. My subject matter ranges from museum scenes and architecture to florals, plein air work and still lifes. I work from photographs as well as direct observation, whether it be in the field (plein air) or in the studio. I am interested in the formal aspects of representational painting ie. composition/color/value/texture etc. but focus mostly on finding abstract yet implicit shapes and trying to find ways to simplify my subjects. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I always say that I’ve been drawing and painting ever since I was old enough to hold a crayon.  Luckily, my parents were always super encouraging about my interest in art.  They even let me paint right on my bedroom walls and ceilings.  Growing up, I used to try and replicate my favorite album covers and t-shirts.  It taught me a lot about design and laid the groundwork for some pretty cool paintings later on.

Grumpy Butts
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with? 

While studying for my Art degree, I was subjected to all sorts of torturous experimentations <kidding> with various mediums.  I ended up with a BA in Art with a concentration in drawing.  I knew that whatever avenue I chose to pursue in art, drawing would still be a relevant skill.  I took just about every art class there was, whether willingly or not, but painting was always my favorite.

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

I have been oil painting exclusively for a few years now.   

It Never Gets Any Easier
(click to view)

Who or what inspires you most?

I actively seek inspiration.  I do not wait for a “divine visionary moment” or anything like that.  Just plain old research.  I’m constantly seeking out new favorite artists, looking for new subjects to paint, or aimlessly driving/walking around hunting for what excites me. 

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

First of all, it’s really easy to find something better to do.  One trick I like to use has to do with overcoming the fear we all have when it comes to creating art.  It can sometimes be scary to stare at that white canvas and feel like you have to produce something good.  This topic has been written about by many, but I find the answer is very simple.  I tell myself “It doesn’t have to be good.  You just have to make something.”  This melts the pressure away, and gets me actually moving, which is half the battle.  Before you know it, you’ve started a painting, and a short while after that, you’ve usually got something pretty good going!  Sometimes not, but that just means you can try again tomorrow!  It’s an exercise in humility, really. 

Doyouthinkhesaurus?
(click to view)

How do you determine whether a painting is a success or not?

I try to keep this very simple.  I ask myself “Is the world better off with this painting in it? Or is it needless.”  Sometimes you have to be brutally honest with yourself.  I wipe off a fair amount of paintings.  I’m still learning.  I always will be.  And that’s okay.  I think those who take themselves the least seriously are the happiest.  Who says every artist must be a tortured, depressing mess?  Sure, I have low moments.  I drink beer and curse my fate like any other homo sapien, but deep down, I know that the good far outweigh the bad.  I’m not a doctor.  When I don’t do my job correctly, nobody dies.  I just end up with a crappy painting.  Big deal. 

How do you find subjects for your paintings?

There isn’t a definitive answer for this, because it’s always changing.  Sometimes I will have a specific idea for a painting, but more often than not, I just raid the fridge for still life props, or pull over when I see something collecting rust in a field.  They say that one of the most critical components of creativity is the ability to just play.  Lately I’ve been working with photos taken from a recent trip to New York City.  Ask me again next week for a completely different answer!

Rubber Uglies
(click to view)

What should a viewer typically be thinking about when viewing your work?

Well, everyone steps to a painting with their own approach, but initially, I like to view a painting as an abstract work first.  I look at the composition, paint texture, general shapes/colors, and temperature first before inspecting the recognizable imagery.  I want the viewer to see my work as a precarious mix of careful observation and spontaneous mark making.  My paintings seem to work best when I can find the most entertaining ratio.  If it matches the couch, great.  It’s not that art isn’t allowed to.  If you’re that worried about it, get a new damn couch.  Either way the most important question isn’t being asked.  Does it bring you joy?

Are your paintings abstract?

Compared to Kandinsky?  Hardly.  Compared to Sargent?  Maybe.  Some would argue that a painting, just by being a painting, is automatically abstracted to a small degree, no matter how hyper realistic it is.  My work falls on the scale somewhere, sure, but where doesn’t matter to me.  Thoughtful and efficient brushwork matters to me.  Strong composition and accurate drawing matters to me.  Mixing color with integrity matters to me.  Fussy, overworked, lifeless paintings bore me something dreadful.  You can be anything but boring.  They say that no painting is ever finished, just abandoned.  The trick is to know when to walk away.

Creatures
(click to view)

Do you have any advice for painters who are starting out?

Design is such a huge part of what we do as artists.  Designing a composition that works is so crucial, second only to drawing it.  When the time comes to actually paint, if those preliminary elements aren’t already in harmony, don’t even bother.  Paint from life as much as possible.  Squint a lot and simplify large shapes into blocks of color.  From there, you can slowly refine areas while working on the painting as a whole.  Trying to make it look effortless takes the most effort.  And don’t forget, there’s ALWAYS more to learn!!

Thanks, Ryan!

© 2018 Sophie Marine