Thursday, October 18, 2018

DPW Spotlight Interview: Pamela Hamilton

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

From Pamela's DPW Gallery Page:

Pamela Hamilton attended Chicago's School of the Art Institute, then later continued her education studying Graphic Design. She began a career in print and publishing, eventually becoming the Art Director for Country Sampler Magazine.

As her children grew up and started lives of their own, Pam enrolled in a series of oil pastel classes. One medium lead to another, and she discovered soft pastels. It was then that Pam decided to end her career and fully immerse herself in her artistic pursuits. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I’ve always been an artist, even as a small child. I recall making paper dolls for my classmates during indoor winter recess in elementary school. I was voted class artist in High School and received a small fine art scholarship followed by a short study in painting and drawing at Chicago’s School of the Art Institute. I wasn’t able to fully immerse myself in my craft until about six years ago.

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

Definitely yes! I started my family when I was very young and had three children by the age of twenty-six. There was no time to paint and no money for school. Following a divorce in my early thirties, I enrolled at the community college and studied graphic design. I worked very hard to provide for my family. It wasn’t until many years later that I was able to switch gears. I registered for an oil pastel class at the local fine arts center and I knew then there was no turning back! Within one year I was entering (and winning!) art competitions.

(Image of giveaway painting coming soon!)

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I’ve dabbled in acrylic and watercolor, but favor graphite, oils, oil pastels, and pastels. I really love all representational genres. Particularly still life, animals, and landscape.

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

My early work (high school and college) was mostly in graphite and oil. Later, when I resumed my artistic journey, I worked in oil pastels. I really liked them, but the medium is not recognized as a “pastel” by the International Association of Pastel Societies. Therefore, I wasn’t able to compete in pastel competitions. Plus, plein air painting in the steamy Midwest summer heat turns the oil pastels gooey. So about six years ago, I ordered a box of soft pastels and they suit me much better. Now I incorporate watercolor, acrylic and inks as underpaintings with my soft pastels. I never get bored with pastels!

Cornucopia
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring? 

I may pick up a brush and oils again soon, but for now I plan to continue my pastel journey, experimenting with homemade substrates and underpainting techniques.

Who or what inspires you most? 

I love Impressionists such as Monet, Renoir, Degas and Sargent. I’m lucky to live an hour from the Art Institute of Chicago where I can study the beautiful works of these amazing historic artists. Many of the impressionists used pastels in their field studies, then produced their large oil paintings in the studio. I have MANY contemporary favorites including Richard McKinley, Liz Hayward-Sullivan, Alain Picard, Gwenneth Barth-White, Mike Beeman and fellow DPW artist, Rita Kirkman.

Winston
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you? 

Really the only time I procrastinate is with commission pieces when using customer-supplied reference photos of poor quality. Without a good, clear reference, there’s no way I can produce quality work. I busy myself in mundane household tasks to avoid starting these pieces until I can’t put it off any longer.  Once I get rolling, they typically turn out better than expected.

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

Making time for my art can be a huge challenge! I’m a wife, mother and grandmother before anything else and make my family a priority. That being said, without my art, I’m off-balanced and gloomy. I teach pastel class every Thursday. In addition to guiding and mentoring a group of talented, enthusiastic artists, it’s a block of time each week in which I can demonstrate and putter on my own work. I often return to my home-studio after class and complete work started earlier that day. Also, I’m a member of several local art leagues including the Wayne Art League. They have scheduled Paint-Outs on Monday mornings from May through October. I choose my favorite locations and add them to my calendar like any scheduled event to ensure that time is for me.

Bevilacqua
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

There is beauty all around is. Everyplace I look, I see something that inspires me. I think any artist will say that we’re always seeking the light! That is key to me, whether a landscape, traditionally-lit still life, portrait, or a bird in sparkling water, I love the way the light reflects and interacts with color.

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

I’m constantly experimenting and challenging myself. This keeps it fun and exciting! My earlier work looked almost identical to my reference photos. I’ve been working at softening edges and creating expressionistic backgrounds and skies through serendipitous underpaintings. I want to stay true to my love of realism yet develop my mark-making skills, color usage and style.

Cat in the Box
(click to view)

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

Sometimes it’s OK to fail. It’s just paint, paper and time, right?

What makes you happiest about your art?

I thoroughly LOVE pastels—the colors are so vibrant and exciting! The fact that I can swipe a dry-chalky stick on a piece of paper and turn it into something beautiful is amazing. My art grounds me. If I’m feeling down or cranky, a few minutes with my art and I feel re-centered. And I love to share my work with other people. When I exhibiting at the art fairs, I’m often told I have “the happy booth”.

Thanks, Pamela!

© 2018 Sophie Marine

Thursday, October 11, 2018

DPW Spotlight Interview: Kaia Thomas

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

From Kaia's DPW Gallery Page:

Painting has been my passion since a young age. It is my meditation and anchor, coupled with a desire to share the beauty I see and cherish in this world. There is always that hope that the beauty I see and feel resonates through my work.

I prefer painting in oils and my subject interests are all over the place, but I do love painting the landscape, particularly the southwest landscape, and spend a good portion of my time painting outdoors. Second favorite subject would be animals, I love capturing their beautiful spirits on canvas!

I have had a number of inspiring artists and teachers in my life - early influences as a teenager were Georgia O'Keeffe and Maxfield Parrish, later influences include Richard Schmid and Maynard Dixon - just to name a few of course. I have studied and taken art workshops with Phil Starke, Chris Morel and Glenn Renell. I have participated in painting events such as the Escalante Canyon Art Festival, the Bisbee Plein Air Festival and as guest artist at Maynard Dixon Country. I'm a member of the American Impressionist Society and an American Women Artists member with distinction. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

Whether I first started with Sumi-e painting or oils I can’t quite remember, but I was around fourteen at the time my uncle, who had a background in the arts, introduced me to both mediums. The Sumi-e supplies (Japanese black ink painting) came from his Japanese foreign exchange student who had left them behind, so I had the ink, grinding stone, brushes and rice paper to play with. I loved it! It was my first lesson in not being timid in my application. It’s a very quick, expressive art form. For both the Sumi-e and oils I found books on the subjects and taught myself basic techniques.

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

Over the course of my time as an artist I’ve always had to endure creative dry spells, as does every artist. When I had a house cleaning business, I rarely had energy for my art. These past six years since going full time artist have been very focused and any dry spells have been short-lived. It’s nice to have other hobbies or interests to lean on when that does happen though, it helps to recharge the batteries.

Cotton Study
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I have tried pretty much all the traditional media and once saved up money to buy an airbrush, still not sure why I did that… way too frustrating and complicated for me! My first serious medium was a Rapidograph pen set, given to me around age twelve. I filled many sketchbooks with imagined animals and plant life. Landscapes and animals have always been subjects I love, although I prefer to paint what inspires me rather than be bound to a subject.

Lola
(click to view)

Which ones have stuck and which ones have fallen away?

I think oils will always be my one true love… I rarely work in anything else, but I do enjoy charcoal drawing and occasionally watercolor.

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring? 

I recently watched Lorenzo Chavez do a pastel demonstration during Maynard Dixon Country and it really inspired me to pick up the pastels again. I would love to take them “en plein air” and give them a try.

Mesmerized
(click to view)

Who or what inspires you most?

Beauty, nature, light, contrast – stuff that can show up anywhere, anytime. It’s why I prefer not to drive because I’m always craning my neck or having to stop the car for pictures. I get inspired all the time by other artists, thanks to social media. A few inspirations to name: Maynard Dixon, Georgia O’ Keefe, Richard Schmid, Sergei Bongart, James Gurney, Jill Carver, Glenn Renell, Tibor Nagy… and the list goes on…

What does procrastination look like for you?

Hmmm… let me get back to you on that. :)

Utah Afternoon
(click to view)

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

I try to treat it like going to a job… I need to be in the studio by 9am and put in at least two hours of painting. I use a timer for this to stay focused and to remind me to stop and stretch. I also designate certain days of the week for stuff like computer work or plein air outings. I do try to paint every day, but life happens.

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Well, if its plein air painting, just step outside! In the studio, I usually have something in mind that’s been nagging at me to paint. When I don’t, I spend time going through my reference photos until something speaks to me.

Trouble Maker
(click to view)

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

I’m always experimenting with new tools, techniques and colors which keeps it interesting. Changing my subjects helps too. I flip back and forth between landscapes and animals, and more recently I’ve been working on some figurative pieces which are challenging. I think challenges keep it interesting, pushing myself out of my comfort zone.

Garlic Study
(click to view)

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

Right now I would say balance… it’s a struggle sometimes to get everything done in a day and often it’s the wrong things that take priority. For example, if the body doesn’t get taken care of, without it there’s nothing more to talk about. Putting the right emphasis on what needs done and creating more balance in my life is well worth figuring out.

What makes you happiest about your art?

Definitely creating art and witnessing when that art speaks to somebody… selling it feels pretty good too!

Thanks, Kaia!

© 2018 Sophie Marine

Thursday, October 4, 2018

DPW Spotlight Interview: Chris Greco

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings. To enter to win Chris's painting "Hale Farm 2" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Chris's DPW Gallery Page:

I am a Fine Artist, Illustrator, Animator and Art Director.

My film and TV projects include; Mulan, Tarzan, How to Haunt a House, Lilo and Stitch, Brother Bear, My Peoples/A Few Good Ghosts, Polar Express, Spiderman 2, Get Along Gang, Word World, Free Birds, Rainbow Valley Fire Department, Rainbow Valley Police Department.

I have worked on Video Games and Mobile Games (Panda Pop, Juice Jam and Dwarves) In addition to my work in animation,I have had a long career in illustration.

I am best known for my work on sports trading cards, including; SCORE and Team PINNACLE Baseball, Footbal and Hockey trading cards. My illustration clients have included; Hallmark Greeting Cards, American Greeting Cards, ABC, NBC, King Features Syndicate, General Electric, LA Times Syndicate, Doubleday and IBM.

Originally from New England, I currently reside in Ohio with my family.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I knew at five years old that I was going to be an artist. I was obsessed with Walt Disney, Norman Rockwell, John James Audubon, John Gnagy and all of the illustrators in my mothers magazines. I was never very interested in coloring, but in creating my own drawings. I became serious about learning to paint at about fourteen or fifteen when I got my first set of oil paints.



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

I have always had to work so that has at times interfered or slowed down my painting but has never stopped it. I was a tattoo artist, newspaper comics artist, illustrator, greeting card artist, animation (film and TV artist - (background painter, animator), videogame/mobile game artist, art director. All of it has both helped and slowed down my own personal painting.


Hale Farm 2
(click to view)

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


What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I have worked in most traditional mediums. Drawing and painting in the commercial art world demanded versatility and I have always been curious.



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

I paint in Oils primarily but over the last three years I have moved towards Gouache and Acrylic and occasionally Watercolor. I like the variety of materials. I will be moving back into oils soon as I begin large works that I have been interested in for some time.

Air brush, I am so happy that I haven’t had to use one in fifteen years and I hope I never see one again!



Boys Shelf
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I have always been interested in trying egg tempera. I am also interested in learning and exploring print making.


Who or what inspires you most?

I love most of the same painters that all other representational painters like, ie – Sargent, Zorn, Hopper, Homer, Rockwell, Wyeth etc.  I find inspiration just about everywhere and in just about everything. The act of creating is addictive and as necessary as breathing for me.

Huntington Crowd
(click to view)



What does procrastination look like for you?

Depression. It is difficult for me to determine if I am depressed, so I procrastinate and “don’t” paint or if I’m depressed because I’m “not” painting. What is easy for me to recognize is the cure – painting!



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

Compromise, as a father and husband it is imperative.  I frequently used my wife and children as subjects so that we could still picnic, go to the beach etc., everyone had to take a turn and pose for twenty minutes and then we can play.  Nowadays, I don’t make plans or socialize much to avoid any conflict with my painting time.

Clague Park View
(click to view)



How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Usually I have a general theme in mind, sometimes a fully thought out idea but I think that I just start and an idea will grow out of the painting. I am a big believer in the organic growth of the painting. I am always “texting” ideas, phrases, words to myself. I also have ideas that marinate in my imagination for years and then become paintings.



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

Changing mediums is great for that, also sizes and shapes and boards, paper, canvas etc.  I also change up my process often. Drawing, no drawing, large brushes, small brushes, different palettes, etc. I also have been switching subjects a lot lately, still life, landscape etc.



Rivers Converge
(click to view)

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

I’m concentrating on the pure joy of painting. I love painting the things that are overlooked or that most would ignore or never consider and also discovering the things that have some personal meaning to me.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I love the notion that one of my paintings will be a part of a family’s memories. A painting that Mom and Dad or Grandma and Granddad had hanging in their house that brings back those memories when it is passed down and is hanging in a new home.

Thanks, Chris!

© 2018 Sophie Marine