Friday, January 17, 2020

DPW Spotlight Interview: Maria Snarska

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

From Maria's DPW Gallery Page:

Hello, I draw oil paintings and botanical drawings with a pen or pencil. Drawings can be seen and be purchased as a digital file here.

I am an artist since childhood. My parents always supported my passion for drawing and sculpture. I graduated from the Academy of Arts with a degree in graphics and am still on my way to excellence in drawing and painting. I have been painting realistic still lifes for the past seven years. I seek and find beauty everywhere and continue to improve my drawing technique. I love everything that I draw so much! And I see that my customers feel it!

I live and work in Kiev, Ukraine.

Original painting for sale and portraits to order, you can see here.

Please keep in mind that everyone who buys a picture in my store ArtVisible will get a portrait in pencil as a gift.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I began to draw as a child as all children do, and so I continue. My father was my first drawing teacher.

Last Green Leaves
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?


I painted in very different techniques such as tempera, watercolor, oil, acrylic, ink, pencil, pen, marker. I also sculpted sculptural portraits, was engaged in ceramics and relief. Now I mainly paint realistic still lifes and landscapes in oil and portraits in pencil. Oil has revealed great opportunities for the implementation of my ideas - an ideal technique for drawing in the style of realism. I don’t do sculpture at all now.

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I don’t know exactly where my creative thought will lead me in the future. I will endlessly research all drawing techniques!

Custom Portrait
(click to view)

Who or what inspires you most?

I am very inspired by the sunlight. Sunlight reveals the shape of objects and greatly changes all colors. It transforms and makes even the usual urban environment romantic and mysterious, fills it with mood. I live in the city but I have a garden and two parks nearby so I am surrounded by nature.

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Usually, I go to my garden to collect a bouquet of flowers and make up a still life, supplement it, then wait for the necessary lighting for several days, then photograph and start painting. Sometimes I start to paint a picture from nature. I try to convey the harmony, mood, personality of each flower or fruit. When I draw, this is a special state of mind - calm. There are no technical secrets in the technique of my drawing. I try to draw every piece of the picture beautifully.

Still life with chrysanthemums and apples
(click to view)

How long do you need to paint one still life with oil?

All still lifes are very different and the time for painting with oil varies from one month to three times that. Little oil sketches I paint in one to three days.

What does procrastination look like for you?

Oh, this is terrible - I go from room to room and do all sorts of nonsense, but at the same time I think about important things.

Still life with lilies
(click to view)

How do you fight procrastination?

I tell myself that I need a result, not just employment. Sometimes it works.

When I have an urgent or compulsory job, I sit down in front of the easel and look at the canvas, not allowing myself to leave. After a while, I start mixing paints on the palette and finally paint with oil.

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

Just seizing the moment and working. I divide the day in half - morning and day for painting, evening for graphics. The deadline is very good for me.

Springtime
(click to view)

What makes you happiest about your art?

I am happy when I can draw a picture of how I imagine it in my mind right the first time, without corrections and redraws!

I am happy when people like my paintings. I am very pleased that the community and the Daily Paintworks artists have written positive reviews for my drawings and paintings. This also supports me very much.

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

There really were periods in my life when I did not draw at all. For example, when my daughter was small. Now I have time for drawing - I paint at home. And I think my career as an artist will be actively developing right now!

Wild flowers and pears
(click to view)

Thanks, Maria!

© 2020 Sophie Marine

Thursday, January 9, 2020

DPW Spotlight Interview: Johanneke Strydom

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

From Johanneke's DPW Gallery Page:


Five years ago we left the city behind, and moved to the countryside in South Africa. We are still in the process of building up a run-down farm. An adventure in itself! In this new setting, I rediscovered myself as artist, being in awe of the ever changing beauty of the landscape and seasons around me. My 'studio' is a very rustic wooden cabin in a poplar grove. Surrounded by trees I came to love the silence and solitude. Here I spend many happy hours trying to capture the feel of what my eyes see. Apart from that, I have a full life as farmer's wife and homeschooling our four children. Too many good and worthwhile things to do in a day...

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

My mother tells the story of me (age two) sitting between her and my father on the endless roads in Namibia, happily drawing for hours on end. Totally caught up in the act of creating. Creating became my special place where I felt most alive and at peace. My parents supported my artistic interest, and provided art classes for me since I was six. After school I studied kindergarten teaching, and in my free time I started painting in acrylics, and then later in oils. But it remained only a hobby up to three years ago, when I read Carol Marine's book "Daily Painting". I was so inspired, I started to paint a small painting every day. And I have not stopped yet... I find it a wonderful way to stay in the creative flow, and practice, while not committing a lot of time to a large painting. It can speed up your learning tremendously.

Where do you find the time to paint?

When my children were young, it was really difficult to focus and have enough space in my head to spend enough time to progress in painting. I take my hat off to professional artists with small children. Now that my children are older, people still ask me where I find the time to paint. My answer: "I don't find the time, I make the time." I think it has a lot to do with mindset. I am learning to value my art making more, so I give it a large chunk of time everyday. 

These autumn days
(click to view)

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

What mediums have you experimented with? And which one has 'stuck'?

I started out in watercolor, pencils, charcoal and acrylics. They were all great fun, and have so many possibilities. But when I found oil paint, I was hooked... The intensity, the rich colors, the creamy texture, all of it... The possibilities with oils are endless. There are so many ideas and techniques I still want to explore. I will always look for ways to better express myself, to capture the essence of a subject, and to say more with less.

What inspires you most?

Creation. I feel a deep connection with the Creator when I am out in nature. Painting is foremost a spiritual experience to me.

I grew up in wild open spaces, with my father being a zoologist and taking us all over Southern Africa. It feels as if the African landscape is in my blood. It can stir me, and even drive me to tears. It urges me to express it, to capture something of the fleeting moment, of that which lay beyond words. I feel a connection with the land that I can best describe with a brush and thick oil paint. That is why I tend to paint fast and intuitively. Putting my impression down as raw and honest as I can. 'Plein air' painting is the ultimate art form to me, and I make it my biggest priority in my painting practice to paint on location as often as I can.

Cliffs of Mafube
(click to view)

Who are important influences on your work?

Edgar Payne for his use of color and brushwork, Sorolla for his quality of light, Georgia O'Keeffe for her search for solitude and immersing herself in the desert landscape, the Russian Impressionists, to name a few. But at the top of my list will be Kevin Macpherson. I love his loose brushwork and sensitive use of color. But what inspires me most is his Pond Project: a challenge to himself to paint the same view from his window over a pond, for every day of the year, in all seasons and times of day. I so admire determination like that!

I am thankful for all influences and see it as inspiration to find my own path.   

What does procrastination look like for you?

It looks like wasting my time. Keeping myself busy with things that are not mine to do, that does not benefit me or anybody else. But what procrastination really is, is fear. Fear of making, fear of being vulnerable and stepping out and the fear of failing. I know these feelings well, and work hard to overcome them daily.

There are great books to read on overcoming fear in the creative process. I can recommend "Art and Fear" by David Bayles and Ted Orland, and "The War of Art" by Steven Pressfield.

Road to Montagu
(click to view)

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

I would say to simplify my life. We moved to a farm five years ago, and here we live a very simple life with very little intrusion from the outside world. I learned to see my art as my 'work'. And I will tell my children I am going to work when I go to my studio. My art must have priority in my mind, before I will give it priority in my life.

And to do my best work, I must look after myself. I keep my life as uncomplicated as possible. It is important to eat healthy, get enough sleep and surround myself with uplifting things and people, as far as I can.

That forms a good foundation, to make it as easy as possible to do my work. I have a loose schedule for everyday with enough time not to feel rushed in the process. I get up early, get in the right mindset, and then start creating. I don't always know what I will paint. I don't always feel inspired.  But I will go and do something. I will start with something. Like Picasso said: 'Inspiration exists, but you have to find it working.'

I will also challenge myself at times. That commitment helps to make the time. At the moment I am busy with a thirty-one day creative challenge: to paint a small painting from life for every day of the month of January. Just to get myself going for the New Year. And forming the habit of daily painting from life. You can follow me on Instagram: johannekestrydom and join me!     

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I try to keep my eyes and heart open to feel what speaks to me. I love to travel and see new vistas, and be able to respond spontaneously to what I see. It is more like a dialogue. I 'feel' the inspiration by what I see, and then respond with a brush and paint.

I work a lot with small thumbnail sketches to get a strong design/composition before I start a painting. But try not to intellectualize anything.

I also like to do short series of one subject that speaks to me.

Eucalyptus Sunset
(click to view)

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

When I get tight in the studio, the best medicine for me is to go outside and do small color studies from life. I have a small sketchbook where I make small 2"x 3" oil sketches. They take 2-5 minutes each: no time for detail. I only put down color notes as accurately as possible. It refreshes me instantly. And helps to keep my work in the studio fresh and loose.

To avoid burnout, I try to live at an easy pace. I aim for a balance between self discipline and self grace. I take off one day a week for reflection, inspiration gathering and family time. I think it is important for an artist to be engaged in a rich life, full of experiences. Inspiration can come to you any time and in any place. Just keep your artist's eye open.

Here are some more ways I get inspired:

- I try to do a painting trip every few months. I love to really get into the wilderness and down to earth. My main aim on a trip like that is to do as many small color studies on location that I can. To immerse myself into the landscape and to really feel it. An experience like that becomes a well of inspiration for months to come.

- I look at my favorite artist's work. Really look. How they achieved a certain effect. When I get into a problem with a painting, I will go and look how some master handled the same subject.

- I limit my painting time. It works! After a day or two I can't wait to get back to my easel...

Nguni Calf
(click to view)

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

The business side of being an artist. Where to sell, how to price my work etc.  It is a steep learning curve, and not my favorite part of being an artist. But what I do like is making connections with other artists and clients, meeting amazing people, and building relationships. 

What makes you happiest about your art?

When I feel connected through the process of painting. To God, to nature, to myself, to other people. I find art to be a most precious gift to enjoy and share!

Thanks, Johanneke!

© 2020 Sophie Marine

Thursday, January 2, 2020

DPW Spotlight Interview: Jimmy Longacre

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

From Jimmy's DPW Gallery Page:

It’s a thrill to paint the pictures, but it's important to me that my paintings engage you, the viewer. That's what motivates the designing of my painting. When painting outdoors I select whatever catches my attention for a study directly from nature. Back in the studio, I compose the ones that stand out to me, and that's done with you in mind. "Hey, look at this!" Besides enjoying the scene, I hope the design and color will excite your senses, that the brushwork and the look of the paint will interest you. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

Like so many painters, my interest in art started very young. My grade school notebooks were filled with drawings of Davy Crockett, Superman, cowboys and Indians, airplanes and caricatures, to share with my friends. It became evident that art would be a big part of my life. 

The first painters that caught my attention were the awesome masters of the Golden Age of American Illustration and the American Impressionists. I was stunned by those amazing paintings. I graduated from the University of Texas with a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art, and then earned a Master of Fine Art degree from Syracuse University. After art school, I had a family to care for, and I worked as a freelance illustrator for twenty-five years, which I am so grateful for. More than the abstract impressionism popular in art schools at that time, illustration gave me the solid background in the skills necessary to make strong pictures. I taught drawing and painting while on the faculties of The University of Texas College of Fine Art and Austin Community College. During that time, I was continually studying and learning how to paint. I decided I would focus on becoming the best painter I could be.

On Flat Creek
(click to view)

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

What medium do you use, and why?

Over the years, I have worked with every medium I could get my hands on. Now, other than preparation sketches, all of my work is done in oil. That’s where the fun is for me. I love the paint quality, the expressiveness of brushwork, and the broad variety of technical exploration possible in handling the paint.

What inspires you most?

The out-of-doors world. Most of my paintings begin outdoors, in one way or another. I use my own outdoor paintings, sketches, notes and photographs. That's where the interpretation begins for me. At the beginning, I spent fifteen years painting outdoors to learn first hand the effects of light, shade, color, value and atmosphere. A few of my paintings may be finished on site, but at this point I'm more interested in using my outdoor work as motive and information for work to be completed in my studio. Design inspires me, because that’s what animates the reason I’m making a painting. It all has to do with focus, balance, harmony and simplification.

Blaze of Autumn
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?


I describe what I'm doing as Subjective Realism. Again, although I paint things rooted in representational reality, it isn’t the scene or things in it that inspires me to paint. It’s my interpretation that makes it all fun. The idea for a painting will more or less spring from the study of facts I find to be true in the scene, but they become a resource for what I’m trying to do, rather than the objective. The inspiration is in trying to communicate one thing I respond to, by design.

What techniques have helped you avoid burnout, and to keep your work fresh?

I think we painters all deal with burnout, or we’re not making progress. Painting is not easy, and the intensity of focus, study and work necessary to learn and grow can now and then lead to creative blind alleys that sneak in one way or another. I find that the feelings of being blocked, and unproductive (burnt-out) often are indicators of our approaching readiness to raise our work to the next level. Our brain is working on integrating the skills and understanding of what we think we need to accomplish. It feels as if we’re not getting any “wins” and we’ve lost our creative get up and go. 

Rio Grande Vista
(click to view)

Here’s one way I deal with burnout. Decide not to paint for a while. Intentionally take a break, without a time limit (hours and days undefined). Take out a notebook and pencil. Ask yourself what you’re trying to do in your work. Ask what you want to be doing. Write this stuff down as clearly as you can write, and set it aside. Now, relax, go back to the fundamentals, and consider what can be done with the basic elements and principles of the visual language. (Elements: shape, size, value, color, texture… Principles: dominance, contrast, gradation, repetition with variety, harmony, unity…) Now, get into your collection of samples from two or three of your favorite painters. Pick a few that stand out to you and look for examples of the elements and principles in their work. Final step: Don’t just try to go back to painting. Review some of your own work and ask how you can improve it in some of these specific ways. For re-starters, give yourself an exercise or two that you will use to focus on just one thing at a time. Perform the exercises without any pressure that it must result in “good work”. Loosen up. Relax. Just have fun with it. Reconnect with what you like about painting.

Believe me, you didn’t “trick” yourself into becoming a painter. Our gut wants to grasp the wholeness of what excites us visually, and it likes getting granular about what we CAN DO to get that excitement into our own work.

Taos Blues
(click to view)

What are you focused on learning about right now as an artist?

I’m working on how powerfully simplification affects my work. Simple shapes, simple value and color relationships. Simple everything! These things give me the grist for my mill in creating more effective designs and compositions. Simple relationships give our paintings more vitality, balance and harmony. Clarity in simplification allows our paint handling to grow more confident, and more interesting to viewers.

What makes you happiest about your art?

The ability to communicate to others the beauty I’ve found. To be able to say, “Hey, world, look at this!”, and make it enjoyable and worth their time. I’m not interested in giving a literal account of  ‘things’ or ‘reality’ as I find it. I enjoy using design, color and paint to share something more poetic with the viewer. I think that it's the interpretation that makes the work, and hope you will enjoy being involved.

Late October Noon
(click to view)

Thanks, Jimmy!

© 2020 Sophie Marine

Thursday, December 19, 2019

DPW Spotlight Interview: Csaba Tibor Palotas

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

From Csaba's DPW Gallery Page:

Hi, I am Csaba. I am passionate and enthusiastic /mad/ about painting. I love the smell, the texture and the unlimited possibilities that oil paint offers. I love the way it moves too!

To me, to paint is equal to bringing something alive. It doesn't necessarily mean creating a photorealistic likeness but to awake an emotion, feeling maybe a thought. My opinion is that a painting should look like a painting; therefore, I am constantly on the search of the border where the brushstrokes transform to "the object/subject of painting" but remain brushstrokes and paint.

Sometimes only the distance helps and sometimes unchecked blending happens.

I do my small size paintings from life, and that includes my small landscapes as well.

I have to say thank you to Carol, for her book and for the inspiration.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

First, I started tattooing. It was much easier to see a career out of it than traditional art would offer. It had some very appealing mystical qualities to it, and the subject matter would always vary by customers. So I started with that.

Later, when my father passed away, I wanted to create an oil painting for our family. This was my initial entrance to oil painting. The more I painted, the more I loved it.

I don't think my personal history is critical, so I keep it to a minimum. Everyone has highs and lows in life. When I experienced the very lows in my life, I found that life has a whole spiritual dimension to it which I had ignored for so long. This was a profound change and got me out of the self-pity state. Spirituality became my subject and bonded with oil painting. I found my "ikigai", the Japanese term for "reason for being".

I don't consider myself particularly talented. As a matter of fact, everything came late to me, so I don't claim an early start advantage. I would rather be an inspiration to those starting late.

Bread and Water
(click to view)

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

What do you think about art?

Hard question, it would be a bold statement if I could define art. I guess everyone has to find their own ideas about it. I would be happy to share my thinking points. All art is an imitation. It sounds like a platonic expression. Still, I am not sure exactly what Plato's idea was about art, and I have no chance to discuss it with him, so let me explain how I think about it. I don't mean that it is fake or has copyright issues. It is easy to see it in representational art like painting, where the artist reproduces what is in front of him. It is much harder to find in poetry, music, pottery, dance, knitting, cooking or writing. But if we look through our sensory apparatus, seeing, smelling, hearing, tasting, touching (I like to include the mind too), we feel something, an emotion is awakened. So the artist reproduces, imitating this feeling or emotion by creating something that other people, by experiencing the artwork, can feel too. It becomes universal as felt again and again by many unique individuals. It becomes especially valuable if it touches us.

So the first cornerstone of art is the expression of the felt feeling. This is, in some cases, not even conscious. The most common moving emotion is beauty. Beauty is present in everything around us, and nature provides us with plenty of perfectly imperfect beautiful subjects.

The second point is the creation process. It includes at least a human being.

It has to have "the human touch". The artist is a god to his creation.

Creativity is present in everyone, but not everyone realises that. It is the task of the individual to drive that out. No one can tell where those areas are, as it is self-discovery. It could be hard, but once it is dug out, and surfaces, life becomes much easier. Here we arrive at passion.

When it comes to my art, I like to combine painting with writing. In a landscape painting, even a title is too much or unnecessary. Images or visual art is a passive thing. They communicate something to you or not. Still, sometimes I feel I want to write about it, not to explain but to generate thoughts or feelings with the combination of artwork.

Painter's Primary Sandwich
(click to view)

Where do you find beauty?

I find it easy to discover beauty around us. Just colours on their own carry emotions; it has been proven by many great abstract artists. Simply drawn lines can store energy. A movement can have grace. Letters can form words, and words can change lives. So there is a vast majority of options for finding beauty. When I really looked at it, what is for me the most beautiful first came to me as the female beauty. But when I looked more in-depth, and I took out sexuality, I ended up thinking of artworks and creations of human beings. I could not decide which was most touching, but Philip de Laszlo's portraits and Raphael's drawing ranked very high. But then a scene came to my mind when I visited Masca, in Tenerife. On the way up to the village, we stopped and looked at the panorama presented by wild nature. There were trees, high rocky cliffs with misty semitransparent fainted fog, revealing the incredible depth underneath us. The air was filled with the smell of jasmine with a touch of ocean scent. That's it, I thought!

The depth, the vastness and the blues of the sea with the colours of the sky were one of the most beautiful scenes I had ever witnessed. This made me realise that nature is the most beautiful thing. Nothing else would make me feel more alive and present than a 360-round panorama of limitlessness, the wild variety of colours, texture smells and sounds of nature. So my answer is nature.

Toilet Paper and the Divine
(click to view)

What are the most essential things an artist must have?


This applies to me; can't say it's right for everyone. I found two things, and they conflict with each other. One of those is self-discipline. It is the core of the artist, aiming for mastery, knowing that he/she can never fully reach it, but still keep going at it. In her book, Writing Down the Bones, Natalie Goldberg mentions that her teacher, a zen monk, suggested that she make her writing her daily "practice". Meaning that she should do writing daily and let it become her spiritual practice.

It resonated with me, and I knew that drawing and painting is my such "practice". It needs self-discipline. The goal is to get in the flow state.

The other part of self-discipline is finding the demons and ruling them all. If the artist fails to do that, it will tear him/her apart.

The second thing is freedom. The artist must have the freedom to go through rules, to use any tools to be able to make his expression. The only thing that should control him/her is his self-discipline and his moral compass; to me, that includes honesty too.

Emptiness
(click to view)

Science and art, do you think they link together?

It did for a good few artists, one of those was Leonardo. So yes, I think there is a connection. The pattern is that in science, everything continuously proves itself wrong, while still rapidly advancing. Think about this, most of the things we can translate to numbers. Painting by number is not what I have in mind. Printing process, yes, music, movement, etc. Mathematics and physics are behind everything. There is still so much to discover; however, we feel we know everything. I like to keep an open mind and see where I can combine science into my art. The statement: "I am an artist, not a mathematician!" falls short if we would know how much calculation our brain does while we organically, flowingly rub our brushes to the canvas.

Geometry and symmetry are present in the human body, and any artwork has a level of composition. Golden ratio, the Fibonacci sequence can be found in nature, so it has to have a place in an artist's work too.

How do you keep your art fresh?

To me fresh it means that it is painted from life. I include that in my daily practice of painting. The more life painting the better. Sometimes I use photographs too /not fresh. :)

Portrait of Reverend Willard
(click to view)

How do you avoid burnout?

My goal is to burn out. If I don't burn out, I don't express everything I possibly can before I die, I have to come back, and I don't know how to do that. So I aim to burn out. I want to be able to "renounce the world " before I die. I don't see burning out as a bad thing. It is a change in the progress of one's journey, the next step, or a "level up". I visualise life as an upward spiral. I don't want to attach unnecessary fear to the natural process of change.

I am aware of human suffering, and I am not an exception to that. It is a different subject. Suffering relates to the ego. Things not working out as we wanted them and it's painful.

As simple as it sounds, so hard to get through it. Walk-in nature and any physical activity, or sport can help to pass those feelings. 

What makes you happiest about your Art?

It feels good to look back and see some of those paintings I did in the past, they might not be perfect, but all of those are the steps in my progress. Even more fulfilling if someone decides to pay money for it to include in his/her home. My real goal is to give, and it might sound "cliche", but I believe that evolution has a forward motion. On top of that forward motion is humankind. I found that "giving", and "service" is what contribute best to the forward movement. I wish that my art aligned to that. If those expressions I create touches someone, I am glad, that is my purpose and makes me happy.

Thanks, Csaba!

© 2019 Sophie Marine

Thursday, December 12, 2019

DPW Spotlight Interview: Rachel Petruccillo

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

From Rachel's DPW Gallery Page:

I'm an artist. It took me a long time to call myself that despite wanting to be an artist for most of my life.

It's not an unusual story among artists, I loved creating art as a child and by the time I was a teenager, it was the only thing I wanted to do with my life.

If only it had been that easy!
(click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I started to paint seriously a few years ago. Although I went to an art college, my major was sculpture so I took only the required painting classes. As a child, my parents were supportive of my interest in making art. My mother brought me to art classes and art museums. I also spent many hours learning about wood working and photography from my father. It was in college when I secretly started wanting to be a painter. Looking back, I realize that much of my sculpture work was practically two-dimensional!

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

For nearly a decade, I made almost no art at all. I moved to New York City straight out of college with seriously grand delusions of becoming a professional artist. The problem was, I had no idea how to make that happen. I didn't have the discipline or tools necessary so I quickly found myself on a completely different path. That path led to a fourteen year career in marketing which provided a lot of opportunities and allowed me to travel the world but there was very little art in my life during those years. Part of the reason I didn't make art for so long was due to some limiting beliefs surrounding inspiration and what it means to be a "real" artist. The past six years since I left my first career have been so life-altering that I started to blog about my return to art. I hope my experience might help other artists realize it isn't too late!

Thrown Thunder
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

When I returned to making art, I started with a pencil. I began drawing bizarre candid portraits from photographs I had taken in my travels. When I decided to start painting a few years later, I needed something I could do on my kitchen counter so I used watercolor. I continued with portraiture and figurative work for a while. As I'm an avid fan of cycling, I've also done a lot of cycling-themed paintings and drawings. More recently, my focus has been landscape and still-life, and I use primarily acrylic and acrylic gouache. I've found that incorporating mixed media such as water-soluble pastels, charcoal pencils and embroidery thread helps me create a more layered surface and highlights elements that are important to me.

Sweets to the Wind
(click to view)

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

I've wanted to paint semi-abstract landscapes ever since college so I believe this will be a theme I'll stay with for a while. Watercolor doesn't appear on my palette too often now but the beauty of water-based media is that it can be used together so I'm sure it will appear in my work from time to time.   

Rising Out of the Mist (Cliffs of Moher)
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

My new obsession is gouache and using watercolor ground on wood panels. Also, this year I attended a demo on yupo (a synthetic paper) by artist Gretchen Warsen and I'm intrigued by the possibilities I've begun to see with some initial pieces.

Who or what inspires you most?

Open spaces inspire me. Whether it is an alpine pasture or low rolling fields, I love broad vistas. The changing light and the way it falls on the landscape captures my attention. I like to look for the place in the landscape where that transition in the atmosphere exists. Perhaps it is the drama of these kind of places that intrigue me. There are so many living artists whose work inspires me as well – although there is no comparison to seeing artwork in person, I do feel fortunate to have access to so much work online.

Slant of Light (County Kerry, Ireland)
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Fourteen years in a marketing career

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

Earlier this year, I started a daily painting practice. I have been making art somewhat regularly for years but my practice was inconsistent. Often I had trouble getting started so I thought a structured daily project would help. My husband suggested painting my cup of coffee every day. I did it religiously every day for more than one hundred days and found that in addition to the daily paintings, I became much more prolific. I've also become very protective of my creative time. It helps that I'm not a very social person, I'm happy to stay in for days on end!

Coffee Painting, Day 22, Cuppadaypainting
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

As I've gravitated to landscape painting recently, I find myself not just admiring nature but wanting to closely observe it so I can try to translate what I see and feel with paint. Sometimes a color combination or even a shadow will stop me in my tracks. I take pictures to help me remember something inspiring I've seen.   

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

A short attention span and the thrill of new materials help me avoid burnout and keep my work fresh! I work on a lot of pieces simultaneously and try new materials often. I also allow myself to change direction if I have lost my enthusiasm for a subject. Art-related podcasts and videos are also great sources of inspiration for me. If I need a creative jolt, I'll listen to or watch one of my favorites.

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

I'm learning how to focus and dig deeper. My focus is on a new series inspired by my travels in Ireland. I want to really delve into how those landscapes feel to me and figure out how to express that in paint.   

Silence to its Edge (Cliffs of Moher, Ireland)
(click to view)

What makes you happiest about your art?

The process of making art is what brings me the most pleasure. I love the solitude of it. I love the time when my mind is clear and I'm just freely creating something. It's so hard to quiet my mind enough to get into that zone but it's the best feeling.

Thanks, Rachel!

© 2019 Sophie Marine

Thursday, December 5, 2019

DPW Spotlight Interview: Diane Van Noord

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

From Diane's DPW Gallery Page:

Wonderfully happy color, color harmony, shape, rhythm, and surface texture are my greatest inspirations for how I paint, and I choose subjects that I can paint with expression that are just right for my inspirations. And of course, using palette knives to paint these inspirations is my "home sweet home" painting tool. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

From the time I was a child, I was considered an artist and encouraged in my creative ways, especially by my father who himself was very creative, introducing me to painting and teaching me to sew, and by my aunt who was an artist and interior designer. The usual childhood art projects filled my life and I always loved to be outdoors as much as possible. I think being outdoors so much is what connected me early on to the landscape. Later on when in college, I studied studio art and some interior design. These gave me good foundations in the basic principles of art.

Even though I always saw myself as an artist and wanted to be a painter, I didn’t seriously pursue painting until my early thirties. My growing young family was my priority, and after my children were all in school, I was able to devote much more of my time to learning to paint well.

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

Once I started painting with professional intentions I painted regularly, attended many workshops with professional artists, was mentored for five years by a professional artist, and began submitting my paintings to juried exhibitions. I also learned to paint plein air, painting in plein air events along with my indoor work.

I painted on the dining room table, setting up and taking down each day. I’ve always said all I need is a 3’ by 5’ space to paint! If you want to paint, you make it work. My dining room beginnings were a sort of daily start and stop. Eventually, I had my own studio space in the house.

The biggest interruption I’ve had as a painter was several years ago beginning about 2008 when I was experiencing challenging family difficulties combined with a terrible economy. It was a struggle to stay on track during the next several years, as I often felt frustrated and personally defeated and in a general state of discouragement because of the difficult financial times. My marketing suffered.

But I never stopped painting, even though I didn’t paint as often. It was mostly out of frustration during those years that I allowed myself to explore a variety of painting styles. I did not realize until later how much those years of frustration where exactly what my art and soul needed emotionally and I learned more about myself as an artist.

And naturally, there are the mini stops and starts that come with the demands of any ordinary life.

Taste of Tropics
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I began my art journey with drawing and watercolor classes. I painted in watercolor for about ten years. Watercolor is such a great teacher for learning to put down a first stroke of great quality paint.  Following watercolor, I learned to paint in acrylics, mixed media, collage, pastels, and oils. Two years ago I began learning how to paint with oil and cold wax. I love it all!

My primary subject is landscape, and I love to paint animals and individual flowers and birds. Over the years, realism, impressionism, expressionism, abstraction, and stylization have been incorporated into my work.

Which ones have “stuck” and which ones have fallen away?

Painting landscapes in oil with palette knives is my “home sweet home”. Oil has been my medium and palette knives have been my method for the last twenty years. The palette knife “fits” me perfectly as I am a very messy painter. I find I’m most genuine with the freedom of a combination of realistic expressionism, impressionism, and some stylization.

Cabbage Farm
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I plan to continue with palette knife oil painting indefinitely and paint with watercolor from time to time. I am very intrigued with abstract realism and would like to explore that using oils and cold wax.

Who or what inspires you most?

Beautiful color has always inspired me, as do shapes, surface textures, good composition, and a sense of rhythm or movement through the picture plane. My favorite subjects are the mountains, fields, and shorelines of the landscape, individual flowers, and animals.

I have studied with many wonderful professional artists in their workshops over the years, and I was mentored for five years by Bill Herring who taught me so much about composition and about being an artist in the marketplace. I especially love the work of Gregory Kondos, Georgia O’Keefe, and Jeanne Dobie, and some contemporary Australian painters because of their gorgeous color choices.

Sweetie Pie
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

When I let myself get discouraged and discount myself through poor self-talk, that notorious critical inner voice, and when I let other things take priority that shouldn’t, is when I can become a procrastinator. Sometimes it is when I am not sure what I want to paint next. I learned long ago about staying with the hard work of “doing what I don’t want to do to become who I do want to become”, and also about engaging the self-discipline of recognizing negative thinking, ridding myself of it with purpose, and then do what I don’t want to do even if I don’t feel like it. We all need heroes. Sometimes we need to be our own hero.

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

I keep my calendar clear of everything unnecessary during the week and try to work in my studio from ten to five every day. In the evening is when I do most of my computer work.

Landscape Sixty Four
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I love the outdoors and take a lot of photos for painting references, or paint plein air. The photos serve as a starting point for helping me understand what I want to say in a painting about the scene, etc.

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

Taking regular short breaks about every ninety minutes when painting is very important for staying fresh. Allowing myself to fail at achieving a successful painting and destroy paintings that aren’t good keeps are powerful teachers. Looking at other artists’ paintings to simply enjoy them and consider what draws me to another's artistic expression helps me see with a fresh eye. I listen to my own artist’s heart by experimenting in some way from time to time. And I regularly pray about my work and my art.

Blueberry Wine
(click to view)

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

That a true artist never sacrifices their gift and their calling because of failure, criticism or discouragement. I am reminding myself daily to always dream big, stay focused, plan ahead, to never give up, to believe in my God given abilities and value as an artist in this crazy big world loaded with visual images. I am learning continually that I really do have an innate and unique way of expressing myself and that I need to remain true to that, whether or not anyone likes what I create. I love being in my studio. It is a home to me, even if there are times when I sit in my chair and do nothing but appreciate the creative space, the possibilities and the hope that fill it, because it is an anchor for me.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I am happiest about my art when someone buys a painting of mine that we both realize was meant to be theirs. It is very meaningful to me as an artist to have satisfied the heart and soul of another person with my art. I am thrilled to sell my paintings to people who love them. I am also very happy when mixing paint and preparing my palette. I love the tactile feel of painting in oil with the palette knife. It can seem a little like sculpting on canvas. It is God’s gift to me that I was called to be an artist and create paintings that are my response to and personal interpretation of his beautiful and magnificent natural world.

Thanks, Diane!


© 2019 Sophie Marine

Thursday, November 28, 2019

DPW Spotlight Interview: John Shave

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

From John's DPW Gallery Page:

John Shave paints in a modern impressionistic style, capturing atmosphere and mood, evocative of a place or a moment in time, such as the pause before dusk or the still calm of morning. John is a member of The Wapping Group of Artists and The East Anglian Marine Artists. In 2013 John won The Society of All Artists Professional Seascape Artist of the Year award and the Caran'd Ache award at the Patchings Art Festival. In previous years John has won The Pro-Arte and The Royal Tallens Award at Patchings.He regularly exhibits at The Mall Galleries London, at The Royal Society of Portrait Painters, The Royal Society of Marine Painters, The Wapping Group and The Royal Society of British Artists. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I first started painting by joining an adult's education painting class. The tutor was very complementary about my work and very encouraging. Which is, of course, one of the main assets of a good tutor and one that I try to bring to my own classes.

When I first started painting I was also holding down a full time job so my painting time was limited to evenings and weekends but this didn’t hold me back for too long. I started selling work and as I did, I cut back my other job until after about five years or so I found myself pretty much painting full time. I loved the idea and loved the regular painting trips I was now going on.

A Touch of Spring
(click to view)

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

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

I haven’t had any stops to my painting career, it seem to be just one upward fun spiral.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I started with watercolour and went to several tutors over a few years until I found the world's ultimate best tutor. He was Leonid Vasin, a refugee from China during the Communist uprising. A beautiful painter and a beautiful person and a fabulous tutor. Not always an easy combination to find. And from there my painting skills improved immensely.

Rocky Coast
(click to view)

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

I have included other mediums in my work. From watercolour to pastel and acrylics and on eventually to oils. I now work mainly in oil. After some time one gains a freedom with the constant use and application of a medium and after this becomes a natural process you can think about things like feeling and emotion in your work and I think that is when the fun really starts.

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

Well that’s an easy question to answer. Everything. I am looking forward to exploring different subjects. At the moment I am running classes on heading towards abstraction, it’s sort of the way my painting is heading and the class seems to be having lots of fun exploring it with me. In the classes we talk about a wide range of subjects, from painting landscape, seascape, animals, farms and farm machinery to portrait and life and still life. We not only talk about composition and tonal contrast but also about areal perspective and colour harmony. And recently, with the abstract realism classes we are drifting into stronger or enhanced colour with an emphasis on complementaries.

Abstract Autumn
(click to view)

Who or what inspires you most?

I am inspired quite often by the people in my classes. Every now an again someone will produce something wonderful and completely different and I find that totally exciting. And to think that I might have had a part to do with it is why I am teaching.

Of course I have lists of other artists I admire, as everyone does and I have the greatest fun and satisfaction exploring how other artists have handled and resolved their own personal problems. And like everyone I use their techniques to enhance my own work in my own way. I also love playing with new colour combinations and looking at other artists' work is also a massive source of inspiration. A chap in my class the other day was trying to figure out a colour for a section of his painting. He is colour blind to red and green and used Sap green and Cerulean blue. Thinking the blue was a red. The combination in his painting was fabulous. I have yet to try this myself. But I most definitely will.

All About Colour
(click to view)

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

I don’t even think about it. The classes keep me on my toes, thinking of new subjects constantly. When I go out painting I am thinking of the beauty that surrounds me and away I go. Sometimes successfully and sometimes not so much. Just like everyone else.

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

Over several decades the things I have learnt come, to a great degree, from my experience dealing with the people in my classes. I follow them in their trials and tribulations and occasionally their joy in producing wonderful paintings. It’s exhilarating and reminds me constantly what my artistic life has been. I love teaching. I get the greatest pleasure when someone has that revelation moment when things pull together and start to work.

Norfolk Landscape
(click to view)

What makes you happiest about your art?

What makes me happiest about painting is when I produce something that moves my soul. Which, of course, is few and far between. Just as it should be. But we still strive to get better.

Thanks, John!

© 2019 Sophie Marine

Thursday, November 21, 2019

DPW Spotlight Interview: Nikolina Primorac

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

From Nikolina's DPW Gallery Page:

My name is Nikolina, I'm a 25-year-old self-taught artist. I work primarily in oils, with animals as my favorite subject to paint. I like to use different materials, such as wood slices and blocks, silver and gold foils. I also enjoy using watercolors and graphite pencils in my sketchbooks, often creating a study sketch before painting or just exploring new ideas and styles. I'm grateful to have my work in private homes across the United States, England, Ireland, Cyprus, Croatia, and Netherland. You can contact me if you have any questions about my paintings or process, I would love to hear from you!

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I always loved to draw as a child but growing up I put it aside even though the thought of being an artist never left my mind. Coming from a small country affected by the war for most people, including my family, art was considered just a hobby and not something worth pursuing.  Five years ago, I decided to learn on my own, first with graphite pencils and later with watercolors. Two years after I felt it is time to move onto oil painting. I fell in love with it and slowly started building confidence to show and offer my work for sale. My mediums and favorite subjects changed over time but the goal remained the same from day one, and it is to keep practicing and perfecting my skills with each painting.

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

There were times where I felt I'm not getting any better and I will never reach the level where I'm happy with my work. I was thinking of quitting and throwing away all my art supplies and paintings.
But those silly dramatic periods were just a few days long before I would pick up my brushes again.
I just couldn't see my future without painting in it. With time I learned to be patient, relax and just look forward to the painting process.

Blue Jay
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I worked with graphite pencils, charcoal, watercolors, and oils. I paint mostly animals and scenery, with some portraits here and there.

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

Oil paints are my favorite medium to work with, although I still sometimes use pencils and watercolors in my sketchbook. They are great for studies and relaxing evening sketches.

Cow
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I want to try gouache paints, they seem like a good substitute for oils when I feel like sketching loose and exploring new ideas. I'm slowly moving to bigger paintings also. Big canvas seemed intimidating for a long time, but I feel I'm ready and looking forward to creating some larger work.

Who or what inspires you most?

I'm inspired by a lot of artists, old and new ones, as well as genres. Animals will always be my favorite subjects to paint, I just love the process of creating the painting and the end result.  I always hope I will manage to capture ''that something'' which will evoke emotion in a viewer.

Flamingo
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

I try to paint every day, for at least a couple of hours. If I don't feel inspired enough to paint I will take that time to organize my art space, prepare panels for future paintings, search for more ideas and references and flip through some art books. Usually, by then I already feel like going back to the easel and painting.

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

I schedule the time for painting. I like to paint in natural daylight and in short winter days I know I have to start early. For me, the day without creating art is wasted and if something prevents me from it I will try to make it up the next day by painting longer.

Great Grey Owl
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

It is usually something that I want to paint for some time, like certain animals. I have a list and keep adding to it. Animal documentaries often make me curious and excited to research and portray all those beautiful, unique creatures. I like to paint some scenery and portrait for fun and as practice sometimes.

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

I keep learning and painting, reading art books, trying to enjoy the process as much as possible and also be happy with the final painting which gives me confidence and inspires me to create more.

Red Kite
(click to view)

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

I feel like my paintings are getting closer to the vision that I have in my mind. I'm learning more about the painting style and directions I would like to go, as well as my value as an artist.

What makes you happiest about your art?

Everything about art makes me happy, from first ideas and sketches until finished paintings. I'm also happy and truly grateful for all those lovely people who chose my paintings to be part of their home.

Chimpanzee
(click to view)

Thanks, Nikolina!

© 2019 Sophie Marine