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

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