Thursday, January 10, 2019

DPW Spotlight Interview: Kristine Kainer

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

From Kristine's DPW Gallery Page:

As a child in a military family, I spent my formative years moving frequently along the Eastern Seaboard. I graduated from The College of William and Mary with a degree in Art History and high hopes. Unfortunately, job opportunities were few and unfulfilling. I returned to school, earned a Master’s degree from George Mason University, and began a career teaching mathematics in the northern Virginia area.

When an opportunity arose to buy my husband's grandfather's 1928 farm in rural Texas, we left the hustle and bustle of the Washington, DC area to experience a slower, calmer pace of life. During this time of semi-isolation and reflection, my creative spark was ignited in the form of painting. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

“Paint by Numbers” was my favorite gift during my early childhood.  I enjoyed organizing my little plastic containers and watching a piece of art magically appear at my will.  Eventually, though, I became bored with the lack of flexibility and focused on drawing, where I could be in total control and make all the decisions.



Avocado Halves
(click to view)

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

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

I never used a paintbrush again (except to paint rooms and furniture) for a few decades.  I was too busy teaching mathematics and raising my little family in the Washington, DC area.  It wasn’t until I moved to a small farm in Texas that time became available for artistic creativity.

Bay Oyster
(click to view)

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

Watercolors were my first medium.  They were relatively inexpensive (at least, the ones I purchased were!) and clean up was easy.  However, I did not like my options for framing them—mats, glass, the frame itself had to be ordered ready-made online and choices were limited. I switched to acrylics so that I could wire the stretched canvas and enjoy my work immediately.  Framing was then optional. 
One day my world changed.  I took a 3-day group oil painting class—my first painting class ever—with an artist whose work I admired on eBay.  I purchased all the recommended oil paints and supplies and arrived ready to learn from her.  I was a human sponge.

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

I use oils exclusively for my canvas pieces.  I also make Lazy Susans in which I start with acrylics, then add rich color and details with oils.



Bacon and Eggs
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

There is always more to learn with oils.  I seek to master them, knowing that it will never happen.  



Who or what inspires you most?

As an introvert, I spend a lot of time with my thoughts.  Being able to look beyond my inner world to really “see” what is around me and attempt to “capture” it on canvas is always inspirational. No matter how small or insignificant, it has some semblance of importance to someone.  I celebrate that. 



Crawfish Boil
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

There is no place for procrastination in my world.  When there are tasks to be accomplished, I prioritize them and work until each one is eliminated.  I actually experience a bit of an adrenaline rush as I go from task to task:  painting, marketing, shipping, entering juried exhibitions.  All are necessary and only I can accomplish them to my satisfaction.



How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I often paint food (especially eggs and oysters).  I am constantly taking reference photos and, if possible, paint from life.  Just eating is an inspiration.  Restaurants, supermarkets, and the beach are ideal locations for generating new subject matter.

Free at Last
(click to view)

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

Social media is changing the world. Trying to expose my art to others using marketing techniques that are new and constantly evolving is a daily challenge.  Social media though, has also become my new classroom.  I have learned so much from so many other artists through direct and indirect contacts -- just having their work at my fingertips on my smartphone, tablet, and computer and reading their comments has been invaluable to my growth as an artist.

What makes you happiest about your art?

When a client, admirer, or fellow artist praises my work, that adrenaline rush returns; it will never get old.

Thanks, Kristine!

© 2019 Sophie Marine

Thursday, January 3, 2019

DPW Spotlight Interview: Hall Groat

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

From Hall's DPW Gallery Page:

Painter Hall Groat II, professor and chair of Art and Design at SUNY Broome Community College, teaches foundation courses in painting, drawing, color theory, and computer graphics. Groat earned a master of fine arts degree in painting and drawing from City University of New York at Brooklyn, a bachelor of arts in art history, minoring in studio art at Binghamton University, and attended graduate and certificate programs at Buffalo State College, Syracuse University, and Savannah College of Art and Design. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I started painting during my early teens, but did not get serious until college and graduate school. I minored in Fine Arts and majored in Architectural History as an undergraduate at Binghamton University during the late 1980’s and early 1990’s.  Then, I earned a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Painting and Drawing at Brooklyn College. At Brooklyn College I studied painting with Lennart Anderson and Lois Dodd. I become more serious about my work after grad school.



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

I’ve always consistently created paintings, and when I don’t paint for a week or two I become a bit depressed. Making paintings is very cathartic for me. It’s similar to a “runner’s high.” I always feel great after painting for a few hours.  Making paintings is a way of life.



Eclair
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

As a teen, I worked in acrylic, and then in college began to use oil paint.  This was the preferred medium within college fine art programs. During graduate school I worked in watercolor for a short period. I used to carve stone during my teens, too, and used pneumatic chisels to carve intricate reliefs of eagles on slabs or marble and flagstone.



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

Oil painting has always been my preferred medium.  I have not carved stone since my teens, as it requires very specialized tools and a studio.  And if you carve stone in your backyard you must not live too close to other residences, or have neighbors that don’t mind the loud banging of hammers and the sound of an air compressor powering the pneumatic chisels.



Nature's Wrath
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I most likely will always work with oil paint, and perhaps one day explore watercolor again.

Who or what inspires you most?

I’m often inspired by revealing something extraordinary within ordinary, mundane subjects. Everyday objects often engage me. I’m also inspired by the abstract nature of nocturnal urban scenes. Dutch master paintings, such as Rembrandt are most inspiring to me.  I’m drawn to the dramatic use of Chiaroscuro connected with 17th century Dutch painting. I’m also inspired by the color and light connected with French Impressionism.

In terms of subject matter, still life, landscape and architectural motifs inspire me. I’m also drawn to subjects involving popular culture.

Rainy New York Night
(click to view)


What does procrastination look like for you?

I typically do not procrastinate, which helps me avoid stress. I like to get things done ahead of time, and this is what I try to instill within my students. Many young people this day and age, do procrastinate.



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

I usually paint more during the summer months when school is not is session, and also during holiday breaks.  During the fall and spring semesters it is often difficult to find time to create new paintings, although I do try to work on smaller one o two hour studies during the week when I’m not teaching at the college.

Thief of the Past and Future
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Travel, studying nature, and spending time with friends is what inspires me to paint.  Working with my college students at SUNY Broome Community College also invigorates me.  I also take on quite a few commissioned paintings throughout the year, which often times force me to interpret a subject in a new way.



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

Exploring new ideas through travel keeps things fresh.  Many of my paintings are based on places I’ve traveled to, such as Ring of Kerry in Ireland and New York City.



Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich
(click to view)

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

In 2019 I plan on painting larger pieces over longer periods of time.  The small 8x10 in. studies are always fluid and fresh, but can be limiting.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I’m never satisfied with my work, and always striving to grow.

Thanks, Hall!

© 2019 Sophie Marine

Thursday, December 27, 2018

DPW Spotlight Interview: Liz Demer

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings. To enter to win Liz's painting "Don't Feed the Bears" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Liz's DPW Gallery Page:

Hi there! I'm a Canadian-American artist and illustrator currently living in the beautiful Okanagan Valley of British Columbia. I'm an accountant by day, but at night I like to hide in my studio (aka at my dining room table) and create weird shit. I work primarily in small-format ink and watercolor, and love to use surreal moments and characters to create scenes of whimsy and danger.

I also create tutorials for many of my works! Interested in the process? Want to see the play-by-play of how an image progresses? Just need confirmation that every painting looks terrible about halfway through? Please check out my website to see fun tutorials like the one for "Don't Feed the Bears" below. Thank you for checking out my site!

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting. 

To be honest, I don’t really remember. My grandma is the real artist in the family, and she was always very supportive and encouraging of my creative side when I was young. I recall drawing quite a bit growing up, and to this day pencil sketching is still where I’m strongest, artistically. I probably started painting around the time that art classes became an elective option in school, but that was motivated more by avoidance of math (at the time) than anything else. My first attempt at university was in an art program, and I fell in love with my illustration classes which still influence my work today.

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

Oh gosh, yes. This is a bit embarrassing, but I kind of dropped out of art school two semesters shy of graduation. I’ve since completed both an undergrad and master’s in business and accounting, which may make me the only person who is both a CPA and an art school dropout. (If there are others out there please feel free to reach out; we can start the world’s saddest club!) In the last few years I’ve stopped and started several times, but I’ve been on a pretty steady streak lately that I’m trying to nurture and grow.

Don't Feed the Bears
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I’ve worked with just about every medium and genre under the sun at one point (thanks art school!). I’ve had formal classes in life drawing, oil, acrylic, watercolor, sculpture, printmaking, and probably a few I’m forgetting. While it was nice to have had the opportunity to work with so many different mediums, it’s made it more difficult for me to just focus on one and put in the time needed to get better.

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

I like working in watercolor not because I’m particularly good at it (especially not in a traditional way), but because it’s compact, easy to start or stop when time permits, and facilitates painting every day. I’ve also found it to be one of the most difficult mediums to do well. It has a bit of a mind of its own, and can oscillate between delightful and frustrating depending on the day. I’ve been able to make up for my relative weakness in painting by starting with a strong foundational sketch, and finishing with pen & ink work for the detail. It’s not the most elegant approach, but it’s taking my work in a direction that I like.

One of my favorite mediums is actually printmaking (especially making my own silk screens), but I’ve had to let that fall away due to the setup time and material cost. I enjoyed the multi-faceted approach of creating a design, breaking it into layers, making the screens, and finally pulling prints, but I think that’s going to have to wait until I’m not working full-time (so, a few decades).

Fuzzy Wings
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I’d like to get back into oils at some point. I have some ideas for larger-format paintings that will require a medium that lends itself to blending better than watercolor, but I’m hesitant to jump into a new medium until I’ve put in the time to get where I want with my current approach.

Who or what inspires you most? 

This question is tough to answer because there are so many! Some of my earlier influences included Bill Watterson’s Calvin & Hobbes comics, Edward Gorey’s Gashlycrumb Tinies, the anatomy-inspired art of Alex Grey, and of course Ralph Steadman’s gonzo art. My current style is influenced by a number of artists I follow on Instagram including Lauren Marx, and Caitlin Hackett, and of course my former illustration professor, Bill Carman, who’s work is unmatched in creativity and style.

The One That Got Away
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you? 

Cleaning. It’s always been cleaning, which is a good and a bad thing, I suppose. That and playing with my dog, Charles. She’s just too adorable and distracting.

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

I’ve found that getting into a daily habit is the best way for me to make time. I try to finish 3-4 small paintings a week, and after I’m done with one I’ll immediately start sketching the start of my next one. This way I can get started as soon as I’m home from work without having to stop and think about what I’m going to be working on. I also have a 15-minute rule, which is that I need to draw/paint/sketch/etc. for at least 15 minutes every day. That usually turns into much longer, but knowing going in that I only need to work for 15 minutes makes it harder to talk myself out of it.

Golden Goose
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings? 

I’ve trained my social media feeds to show mostly artists I’m following at the moment, as well as feeds from art magazines and tutorial sites. A few minutes of scrolling is usually enough to give me an idea to start on, whether that’s a particular animal, color scheme, or drawing approach. I shamelessly steal techniques and approaches from other, better artists, to incorporate into my own compositions and paintings. Other times I come across something irresistible (like a picture of a screaming baboon, or an abnormally large snail) that I’ll just have to draw right then. This usually results in a fun drawing, but a weird layout that requires saving through creative approaches. I have some fun blog posts on how I arrived at the ideas for many of my paintings on my artist website https://lizdemer.com/.

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

Sticking to smaller formats has helped me avoid burnout by putting less pressure on each individual work. I can take more risks when the potential consequence is only 6” x 8”, and I don’t feel like I have to take the same exact approach that’s worked in the past. I also always have a sketchbook (or watercolor book) in progress to explore new techniques and styles. I’m currently working through a few tutorial books as a way to challenge myself and (hopefully!) get better.

Crabby
(click to view)

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


How to not compare myself to others. Technology has made it so easy to consume art and follow the work of a lot of really good artists. I need to work on separating my appreciation for other’s work from judgement of my own, otherwise the self-doubt can get overwhelming. There’s always going to be someone better out there, the important thing is to work on improving my work, and to only compare myself against where I’ve been.

What makes you happiest about your art?

The realization that it can bring a small amount of joy to other people’s lives.

Thanks, Liz!

© 2018 Sophie Marine

Thursday, December 20, 2018

DPW Spotlight Interview: Annemiek Haralson


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

From Annemiek's DPW Gallery Page:

Creating something on a blank piece of paper was always irresistible to me while growing up. Over the years I took several workshops and classes, and kept painting on and off. In the past few years I was lucky enough to find great mentors who encouraged me, and I started painting almost daily.

I enjoy painting outdoors, finding that being in the actual environment has helped me feel more connected to the painting. Often these outdoor paintings will lead to a larger studio piece. The natural beauty of the Finger Lakes area in New York provides an endless source of inspiration.

You can find my larger paintings at www.annaharalson.com

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I can’t remember a time I was not sketching or drawing. A few years ago my mom brought over a huge pile of art work I had done as a kid. I had forgotten all about how prolific I was! It showed me I had always had it in me to express my view of the world through art.

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

Many! While in high school I briefly thought about art school, but that little voice in my head was getting in the way, telling me I would never be good enough at it. I went to nursing school instead, which has been a beautiful career. Art kept tugging on me though. A workshop in watercolor long ago made me fall in love with that medium. Between my nursing career, going back to school, and raising kids I took the occasional class or workshop. I painted intermittently. This would go in spurts; sometimes nothing for months, and then I would pick it up again. It was a struggle. Once you take a little break it is like starting all over again each time. I realize now I should have stuck to it, and not gotten discouraged so easily. About four years ago I took a college class in drawing, and completely lost my heart to art. I felt like this is what I was meant to do. My teacher was very encouraging, even said to show my work. I did, and things have just taken off from there.

Full of Wonder
(click to view)

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

How do you define success as an artist?

I have thought a lot about what success means for me as an artist. Success is in the small victories. It is in growing in skills, overcoming hurdles. It is any time I finish a painting that I am reasonably satisfied with. In other ways it is in knowing that people can get an emotional connection to something I put on a blank piece of canvas. The first time somebody told me they cried when they saw my painting I felt like “this is what I am meant to do.” That went straight to my heart, wow!
I once had an open studio where only one person showed up. That could be seen like it was a miserable failure, but I refused to see it like that. The person that came fell in love with a painting, and bought it. It was of a farm where he used to work as a teenager, and he shared stories about this with me. So I considered the day a success.

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

I find that I have to approach making art as something that is on my priority list of things to do. A few years ago I met another artist who became my mentor. At that time she was challenging herself to draw or paint every single day for a year. I thought I would give that a try also, but quickly realized five days a week was a more realistic goal for me. Some days I would draw or paint only fifteen minutes, other days it was hours. I found it easier to make time for art when I set myself this drawing goal.

Snow Cones
(click to view)

I kept it up for a full year, and by then making time had become such second nature that I still continue this practice. A day without art does not feel complete anymore. I have my sketchbook with me a lot, often when I walk the dog, for a quick sketch here or there. I have sketched at airports and in waiting rooms. I have drawn kitchen items while dinner was cooking. I even drew my husband’s hand with an IV in it when he was in the hospital! I mean, it does not always have to be something earth shattering. Some of my sketches are no more than scribbles. Making time for art does not always have to be a whole day in the studio, and not everything has to be beautiful or showable. This approach has really helped me to work art into my daily routine, and I wish I had done this sooner.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with? Which ones have "stuck" and which ones have fallen away? Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?


Most of my life I’ve been working in graphite, charcoal, pen and ink, and watercolor. Three years ago I started working in oils, and that has sort of taken over. It is my new love. I’ve tried pastels. Loved that too, but framing not so much. I was introduced to ink washes in my drawing class, and really liked that. I might work in that more. I just visited an exhibit of Whistler’s etchings. Wow, wouldn’t that be nice to learn!

Summer Evening Plein Air
(click to view)


What does procrastination look like for you?

I'd rather procrastinate in doing house cleaning than in painting! My biggest procrastination is in setting goals for myself; sitting down and thinking about what I want to accomplish instead of diving headlong into things.


Who or what inspires you most?

I love to look at the old masters, the Hudson River School of Painters, Sargent, or Winslow Homer. I am inspired mostly by nature. Any time I take a walk in the woods I come out with fresh energy and ideas.

Today is a Memory
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

A drive in the country side or a walk in the woods will fill my head with ideas for paintings. I keep a written list of ideas and sketch a lot. I refer to these if I feel like I am stuck on what to paint next. Inevitably an idea for a new painting will form. What also helps me is to think in series. I painted fifty birds for a show this year. Besides really pushing you to paint when you have a deadline, it is good to have a set subject. Although fifty is maybe a bit extreme of a number for a series!

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

I have not encountered burnout in painting yet, but from my nursing career I know how to recognize the signs of burnout. As soon as that happens, it will be time to try something new, maybe try a new medium, a workshop, or any other new challenge.

Across the River I Must Go!
(click to view)

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

Everything! I feel like I have only begun to scratch the surface of what there is to know. I learn from looking at art, books, videos and the occasional workshop. I approach every painting as a learning experience, and feel like I have grown a lot in the past few years. I am learning more about marketing, and recently went to an “Artist as Entrepreneur Boot Camp” by the New York Foundation of the Arts, a three day workshop in everything from marketing, to grant writing, to legal issues. My goal is to keep learning and growing in every aspect.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I really am in my “happy place” when I am working on my art. There are frustrations of course, but when I work through the difficulties I am happy. And it makes me all warm and fuzzy when someone makes an emotional connection with a piece that I have created.

Thanks, Annemieke!

© 2018 Sophie Marine

Thursday, December 13, 2018

DPW Spotlight Interview: Blake Hurt

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

From Blake's DPW Gallery Page:

After dropping out of his art class in college, Blake Hurt spent a year or so in New York City before returning to his native Virginia. On the spur of the moment, he exercised his considerable negotiating skills to buy from a local art store a remaindered supply of oil paints at a substantial discount. This resulted in his ownership of a collection of some 84 large tubes of oil paint, mostly green. At the conclusion of the transaction, and in appreciation, the dealer threw in a display case. With such a grand opportunity to paint landscapes, Blake has ever since been fanning the flame of talent through continued practice. This has gone on for a long time and, in the process, he has taken delight in experimenting in oils, watercolors and digital works.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

When I was 33, I decided that I needed to find a hobby that would age gracefully; something that wasn’t competitive, or required great athleticism, where time was your friend, and it could be shared with others.  I chose writing.  After working at this for several years, I realized that despite its advantages, a book might take years to complete.  Not only that, it was also a little awkward if you tried to read parts of it to your friends at dinner.  It eventually occurred to me that the visual arts might be better suited.  Furthermore, whether I could paint or not, at least I would learn how to see. 

November Purple
(click to view)

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

I thus went out and bought a medium sized canvas and some of Sear’s finest house paints.  Standing on the porch, I flung the house paint on the canvas in a variety of ways.  At that moment, painting didn’t seem that hard.  After that, I experimented with a variety of abstract paintings and began to pay attention to the way others painted.  I did my best to learn from books.  For example, I spent a month following one book on identifying color, only to realize that the fluorescent light that I was using led me to painting all my pictures with a slight bluish cast.

At this point, I was introduced to a local painter, Richard Crozier, who was an art professor at the University of Virginia, and is a wonderful landscape painter.  After expressing admiration for his work and the difficulties that I had encountered, he suggested that I bring a painting each week to his studio where he might make some suggestions.  Over the next three months,  Richard patiently explained how he painted.  That was an eye-opening experience; there was no flinging, there was a lot of comparison of value and a lot of minor adjustments to the paint color.  The whole process looked near impossible to me, but it did seem like practice might help.  Since then, I have followed his suggestion that the way to learn how to paint is to paint 1000 pictures, gauge your progress and proceed from there.

A Light Rain in Pietrasanta
(click to view)

How do you define success as an artist?

There are several definitions for success in art.  One is a commercial success: you are paid a lot of money for your work, museums arrange shows,  and people write about your unique insight.  This type of success generally has less to do with your craftsmanship and more to do with your sense of fashion, your connections in New York and your ambition.  Being unfashionable and unconnected, this was not an option for me.

A second type of success is to make a living as an artist where your craftsmanship is an important part of your appeal: this includes painters of portraits, beautiful still-lifes, lovely figurative work, and engaging abstractions.  This road is easier to travel, but it requires more than just skill and insight.  I am reminded of the story of Mondrian who, in 1921, found that his customers were not so interested in his current work as they were in his innovative art from 1919.  To make a living, he reputedly started to “forge” works from 1919 so that he could make a living.  The danger, thus, from this second type of success is that the temptation of money leads you away from your inspiration and your natural development.  Fortunately, there are lots of easier ways to make money than making art and I found one of these. Like the country fellow who said that behind every successful farmer is someone who has a job in town, generally behind every successful artist is a paying job.

Fool
(click to view)

A third type of success is to enjoy the art making process, the excitement of visual translation from thought to substance, the satisfaction of execution, the surprise of the almost-intended result.  You do see better if you have to paint it.  Colors are more interesting, shapes and textures become visual questions, and the shape of a mouth speaks volumes.  In this area, I have found success.

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



Although there isn’t much money in displaying work in shows, I am a strong believer in having shows.  This just emphasizes the idea that having a deadline and making assessments about the quality of your work, its progress and your pace of production.  The success of a show is not the sales, the write-ups or the public approval as much as it is producing the work and exposing it as a group to others.  Nothing focuses me on completing works as an approaching show deadline;  whether it be a show in a church, a bookstore or some place more prestigious.  For a while, I would travel to show my works, but I began to realize that the opinions that I cared most for were those of the people in my own community.

The Face of July 13th, 2018
(click to view)

What mediums and genres have you experimented with? 


With respect to painting genres, I have to to focus.  I would like to reliably create an interesting painting from an everyday scene, an atmosphere of intent from a simple still-life and an extraordinary portrait of an ordinary face.  This past year or so, for example, I have been working on how to get a likeness in a portrait.  Following Carol Marine’s suggestions, I have made dozens of small portraits, although, oddly, half the sitters don’t recognize themselves.   Figure studies are also on my to-do list.  All of these have been in oil or watercolor, but I also like doing digital works.

Twenty years ago, I started writing software programs that would combine drawings and colors into portraits.  These have been fun to do and I have continued making portraits using different kinds of drawings, some of my own, and some taken from nineteenth century technical books.  Although the software method for making art is indirect, the results require a procedure of experiment and evaluation, something like that of print making.

Untitled

How do you make time for art?

Carol Marine’s book on Daily Painting was an inspiration to me and helps me realize that every small painting would lead to improvements more rapidly than larger, less frequent paintings.  So four years ago, I made a habit of doing a small painting before work each morning.  This has proved a success since it is early in the day and the storm clouds of the urgent have yet to interfere with the parade of the important.

Thanks, Blake!

© 2018 Sophie Marine

Thursday, December 6, 2018

DPW Spotlight Interview: Pamela Hoffmeister

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 "Let Me Be Your Sanctuary" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.


From Pamela's DPW Gallery Page:

I am an avid portrait painter. As a mother of six (and grandmother of nine) I have had ample subject matter, if sometimes a lack of time and energy. Nevertheless, I have kept painting in the last 30 years because it is what I love to do! I am beginning to delve into still-life, as I have realized that 'everything' is actually a portrait! Somethings just sit REALLY still.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting. 

I was getting a BFA in ceramics at the University of Oregon and I kept walking by the painting studios and I realized that I loved the smell of oil paint. It was love at first smell. But, and this is great, I was scared to just plunge in, so I took a bunch of drawing classes.

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

Many. I had six children, and in the middle and after getting my BFA in painting and drawing, I took care of my family and supported my husband in the process of a four year career change. That was super HARD. It turns out that I'm the kind of person who needs to draw and paint like some people need to exercise. I get weird, irritable, and depressed if I'm not creating. For years I sublimated by making amazing bread, sewing my own and my children's clothes and making a crazy creative home. Today I just love going to my studio every day and hoping that clothes and food show up... enough.

Let Me Be Your Sanctuary
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with? 

I went through a phase where I loved oil pastels. I loved the slidey, greasy feeling, and they were very portable running around with children. I also did some lithography and, again, I loved the greasy feeling of the litho-crayon. My favorite drawing materials are a cheap ballpoint pen and $1 ruled composition books. I write in the composition book every morning as soon as I wake up and often draw what I am thinking of painting that day.

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

I keep returning to oil painting and I LOVE painting on pedestrian materials like paper, cardboard and foamcore because it makes me feel really loose. People around me keep saying I need to only work on archival materials but I just can't quit that cheap stuff. I feel like I do my best work when nothing is too precious or too serious.

Too Difficult to Control
(click to view)

Who or what inspires you most? 

I LOVE this question. I am terrifically inspired by children's books like 'The Old Woman Who Named Things' and 'Miss Rumphius,' and I love "story" - the 'age old way' that we communicate with each other.

I also LOVE LOVE LOVE real mail. I share that love with Mindy Carpenter (look up her work please). I love the packaging part of sending a painting to people... writing a thank you note, wrapping the painting in tracing paper and sealing it with a sticker of my signature. I love brown paper, tape, labels, and BIG sharpies. And of course, I have a relationship with Stan - my local post office guy.

The people who inspire me are, hands down: Fairfield Porter, Alice Neel, Jennifer Bartlett, and Giorgio Morandi. All of my heroes are people who just kept working regardless of what life threw at them. Alice Neel kept painting portraits when all of the men were painting abstract expressionist stuff and saying that figure painting was "over." Fairfield Porter kept painting his family and landscapes when, again, every one in the art world said those genres were passé. Georgio Morandi just kept painting his dusty, quiet, still-lifes in the bedroom while living with his sisters. Jennifer Bartlett embarked on a bad house swap and turned it into two hundred fabulous drawings and paintings called "In The Garden." I love the idea that we paint 'where we are,' and 'who we are'... and that is enough.

Floating Shadow
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you? 

I love to drink coffee and read The New York Times and put off going into the studio because I always think that I have lost my mojo. And, truth be told, sometimes I've had a really crappy painting day the day before... soooo... I always have to return to painting to get over it.

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

I play little mental games with myself. I say "Today, at 4:15 I am walking out of my studio to go to yoga, so back that up to spend 6 hours in your studio. Once I get into my studio, I never want to leave, so I basically give myself a talking to... every damn day.

Good Karma
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings? 

I actually suffer from idea-a-rhea and I see so many things and have so many ideas that it's more a matter of choosing the best 'paintable' option. I have a big, messy family and they're often my subject matter, but I also admire writers and musicians and filmmakers and get many ideas from them.

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

I take myself on artist dates (thank you Julia Cameron) - I go to films, I read, I go to Yoga, I take my anti-depressants. I'm an introvert, so I need a lot of alone time. In my work I'm sort of trying to follow Mary Oliver's advice: Pay attention. Be Astonished. Tell someone.

Weekend Warriors
(click to view)

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

I toggle back and forth between technical skill and philosophical input. This past summer I spent a day with Peggi Kroll Roberts focused solely on getting myself to use more paint. She was fantastic! Right now, I'm kind of mind blown by the writers and painters who went before us, and the chain of influence and the fact that I've never heard of amazing people whose quiet steady work moved the creative conversation forward.

What makes you happiest about your art?

When I get to the essence of a thing without overly delineating and I have the confidence to just leave it. When I surprise myself by being un-self-conscious and something wonk-a-doodle comes out of me.

Thanks, Pamela!

© 2018 Sophie Marine

Thursday, November 29, 2018

DPW Spotlight Interview: Tamanda Elia

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

From Tamanda's DPW Gallery Page:

My name is Tamanda Elia and I started Daily Paintworks this year. I currently reside in the Niagara region (Southern Ontario), Canada with my wonderful husband, two (now teenage) kids and three rambunctious dogs in a very small house. I studied at NSCAD University (Nova Scotia) graduating with a Bachelors degree in Fine Art.

Even though I have managed to draw and paint over the years, I decided to take it out of my comfort zone and go on-line. So here I am. I hope you enjoy my work.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

Like so many artists say, I started drawing at an early age. I obviously don’t remember, but my mother informs me (as all proud mothers do) that I was two when my squiggles started to look like actual objects. I’ve always drawn. It’s a part of me. I draw or sketch things out every day. As for painting, I found an old painter’s box (my mother’s) when I was twelve and did my very first oil painting (a terrible sunset but I still have it). I was always labeled the “art” kid at school. So, it wasn’t a surprise when I went to Art College and got my degree.

Variety
(click to view)

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

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

I was surprised at how discouraged I was by the time I finished university and had my Bachelor’s Degree in hand. Being an artist was what I had always wanted and expected to be and the reality of an artist’s life appeared to be a disappointing prospect. So instead of rushing headfirst into the art world to make a name for myself I focused on my social life. I married a wonderful man, had two great kids and then life threw a wrench at us. My son was diagnosed with Autism in 2004 (when he was two) and for many years it seemed like everything became about that. It has taken years, lots of hard work, lots of therapists, great teachers, educational assistants and parenting classes but life seems somewhat relaxed now. Also I should note that somewhere in these years I started painting a lot more. I had the end goal of becoming a daily painter and finally, last November, I thought yes. Yes, this is the time. I can show my work now.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with? Which ones have "stuck" and which ones have fallen away?

Although I have worked with acrylic and once in a while will create something with it, it’s usually reserved for small landscapes. The drying time is an issue for me, so I work mainly in oil paint. I like the texture, the fluidity, and also the challenge of application. There’s no better medium in my mind and of course, the colors look sharp. Most of my work this year has been floral in nature. Gardening has been something I gained interest in when I became a home owner many years back. I think it was a natural merge of the two interests.

I still do occasional graphite drawings but they take a lot of time. These are usually portraits, whether human or animal. First I do two or three rough sketches before I complete the final drawing. This is to get the exact, precise, most accurate measure of the composition, proportion and scale. I still have to work at this. They can take up to twelve hours because I shade in small lines. This is probably the most meticulous work I do.

Algonquin Reflections (168)
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

In the back of my head there’s a pottery class waiting to be explored but it’s on the back burner for now.

Who or what inspires you most?

When I was younger it was definitely the Impressionists that had most of my focus. Edouard Manet and Mary Cassatt were my largest influences regarding paint application and technique. Speed up many years later, the internet has allowed me to research so many interesting artists. Influential people to me now are those artists that are out there now, working currently and showing the rest of us how it’s done.  Artists that I follow on-line now are: Carol Marine, Cathleen Rehfeld, Sarah Sedwick, Daniel Keys, Laura Robb, Dennis Perrin, Kathleen Speranza, Julian Merrow-Smith, Hallie Kohn, Kim Smith, Ken Knight, Qiang-Huang, and many, many more. Adding some Canadian artists: Shannon Reynolds, Julia Veenstra, Wendy Bermingham and Sheila Davis. I look at all these wonderful artists because they are succeeding in what they love to do, and it’s what I essentially want. I mean, that’s ultimately what we all want, success and validation.

Grizzly Bear
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

How to answer? Hmmm. I keep thinking and then I go to another question. I’m back now. Still thinking about the answer and wondering which direction I should go in. I’ll get back to you on that.

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

Scheduling and organizing is pivotal. The kids, the husband and the dogs all have time slots but so does my art time. When you work at home you have to learn not to answer the phone (unless it’s the school), ignore the laundry (not a problem), tell people you’re working (and ignore their scoffing noises) and just try to focus. It’s a precarious balance that does go askew but you have to get back on track.

Stacked (145)
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

It’s an accumulation of many things. Sometimes I decide on a subject first. If I have bought flowers then they will be the focus. Other times I will start with deciding the palette colors. As color creates emotional effect and atmosphere, they are vital in influencing this. It can also start with the composition and layout: I have a stack of sketchbooks with just thumbnail sketches of ideas of compositions. I’m always trying to find different ways to make the canvas pop in dimension. Or to bring the viewers eyes around the canvas with movement. I want people to view my work, be enticed by it and perhaps be wanting for more. I love the compositions that are cut off, or foreshortened. Another starting point is going through my reference photos. For most of my work I do photo-shoots (especially when working with flowers or changing light effect). These photos help me play with different ideas of the same subject. With a really great subject, I can get several paintings out of it just by changing background color, arrangement, the vase, how many, etc.

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

I try not to paint the same subject more than twice in a row unless they are small paintings. I will come back to that subject but I need to change subjects to keep from being bored in between. Also I will spring back and forth from large paintings to smaller. I find this helps loosen my strokes (something I am always working on). Having lots of references also helps keep the creative thoughts moving along.

Winnie
(click to view)

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

I’m just starting. This year was the year I said “Ok, that’s it, I’m doing this!” I have learned so much about business, the on-line business, time-management, self promotion, pushing myself outside my comfort zones, and oh yeah, painting too. I’m still learning how to paint. Next year I am planning to add Arts and Crafts Shows and galleries into the mix.

What makes you happiest about your art?

To create something that evokes a positive feeling that others can share and appreciate gives me endless joy and happiness. Everyone needs a purpose and to feel that your work is not only acknowledged but liked. Well, that’s what it’s all about isn’t it?

Thanks, Tamanda!

© 2018 Sophie Marine