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.

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

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