Thursday, June 4, 2020

DPW Spotlight Interview: Patricia Tomes

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

From Patricia's DPW Gallery Page:

I make small oil paintings of big spaces focused on the rural landscape. I strive to interpret the broad skies and far horizons surrounding me with hope that the viewer may renew their own sense of place in the world.

I paint with oils, primarily on panels using painting knives and mark-making to parallel the texture of the land and sky. I began painting in a small format several years ago, mainly out of a desire to simplify and found working small is not only conducive to maintaining a daily painting practice but it also affords me a greater opportunity to achieve my goal to provide a quiet, intimate interpretation of the land. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting?

When I was just a child, my mother had enrolled in a correspondence painting course. I suppose it was a 1950’s version of today’s on-line courses. She had assignments that she mailed in and they were returned with handwritten critiques by a handful of working artists. She worked in oils at a tripod easel and often told the story of how as toddlers, my sister and I ruined one of her pieces by using it for a finger painting. I don’t have an actual memory of that but I do remember her fascinating course books that covered everything from anatomy to still life and I used them for years as my introduction to oil painting. Later, as a young teen, I enrolled in my first formal courses at a local arts academy where we had models and I created my first color charts. My mother also introduced us to Plein Air painting at an early age. In the summer we had favorite places to stop with a picnic lunch and watercolors.

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

Though I can’t remember a time I didn’t paint, I certainly explored a lot of other avenues in the process of finding my way to the daily painting practice that I enjoy today. I received a Fine Arts degree with a focus on sculpture and at the time, I don’t believe I even considered how I was going to make a living as an artist. Most of my life, I worked in an administrative career with non-profit organizations and painted intermittently in my spare time. I have always given myself a space/place to paint and a bench to tinker at but it wasn’t until my retirement that I finally made a commitment to paint every day and I finally allowed myself to earnestly work toward and achieve the goals of showing and selling my work.

Today, I am happy to say, most of my house is studio space.

Cloud Spectacle
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

For a long time, probably half my life, I painted figurative work or still life focused on things like clothing, individual figures and even over-sized fruit. Acrylics have never been a go-to for me though I have used them for special project pieces.

I use a few different underpainting techniques and sometimes use refillable acrylic markers as well as oil sticks. I like to experiment with thick heavy textures. I rarely, rarely use a brush. Most all my works are done with painting knives and silicone spatulas, so I can go thick and use textures that follow the shapes in the landscape. That’s a sculptural connection for me.

I started painting small pieces about the same time I committed to a daily painting routine, the two go hand in hand. I live in a small house, I can easily carry pieces outside to work on a landscape and I’m not tripping all over my work here.

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

I still love charcoal and leads. I can’t imagine that will ever leave me. There are times when a painting just isn’t happening so I take a break from it by sitting quietly with my sketch pad. Sometimes I just focus on an element or texture right in front of me. That’s a very relaxing meditation for me. When I lived in New Mexico I used oil pigment sticks on hardwood panels quite a lot. Like watercolor, it was a convenient medium to go camping with.

Oils of course are my first choice for doing finished works. I try to maintain a solvent free studio and rarely use any additional paint mediums. There was a time when I didn’t paint without some toxic additive, it’s nice to not be bothered with that anymore. Thick paint and painting knives are another good pairing and also less reason to have to rely on any additives.

April Showers
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

Gouache is on my list of “wants”. I think it will translate well in the small format paintings that I do. I also like the idea of using it in a sketch book. I think it will force me to bring more discipline to my marks. I just got a new bicycle and I’m thinking of rigging it with a little Plein Air set that will be a far less intrusive way to access special places. I really hope I can make it work because I just don’t enjoy dragging oil paints and wet panels around anymore. And I'm enjoying being out on my bike.

I’ve also been doing a small amount of digital work with a tablet and pen, nothing that’s ready for prime time but I could see doing more color field work in a digital format. I do use a digital tablet to work out questions of color and sometimes composition which is very convenient.

Who or what inspires you most?

The inspirational ‘what’ is easy to answer: the colors of the day, the morning sunrise, the cloud formations rising and changing in a few moments of time, the deep shadowed spaces with just a bit of light filtering through. Maybe more than anything else, some dynamic clouds will cause me to drop what I’m doing and grab the paints - or my camera!

There are so many artists who I have found because of the internet and a few I would go out of my way to see in a gallery or museum. I think the artists that inspire me the most do two things: they leave a lot of mystery in their work and they get a color/light in a canvas like I have never seen captured.

These are at the top of my list: Michael Workman can capture the atmosphere of big western space using loose, nearly abstracted mark making like few others. When I came across the work of Brad Teare a few years ago, I was instantly inspired to try some thick paint techniques. He is on a totally different level and his disciplined process is amazing. Brian Rutenberg is a hugely dynamic artist whose large, bright, thickly painted abstracted landscapes bring me great joy not to mention his many videos. If Rutenberg doesn’t get you excited about color, nothing will! He is the reason I bought my first tube of Cobalt Teal - wow!

And a few others that I find truly inspirational: Shushana Rucker from Philadelphia (and Idaho), Marcus Bohne from Massachusetts, John Felsing from Michigan, William Hawkins from Arizona, Clifford How from Australia, Stephanie Hartshorne from Colorado and Harley Manifold from Australia.

I began following Mary Bentz Gilkerson several years ago (about the same time I found DPW) and credit her videos as the original inspiration for me to make a commitment to a daily painting practice. Her message, that as artists we have a responsibility to show our work, continues to provide me with encouragement.

Heading to Town
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Procrastination for me is having a deadline to get frames completed and waiting until the week or even night before. I think my pieces show better in frames and I’m not yet at the place where I can afford to have them made so for now I make them myself. I can enjoy the process but it takes time and I tend to put it off until the last moment.

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

I count myself fortunate that I’m able to get up in the morning and go right to my easel, if I have good energy going with a piece, I might not even bother with the coffee. A good painting day is four hours in the morning and another two or three hours in late evening or the reverse of that. A lot depends on the weather but I do like to start my mornings at the easel. I just recently gave myself permission to not paint for a day or even two - like a weekend break. My biggest challenge happens if I get in a rut of too many bad paintings in a row, like nothing seems to go smoothly, I think all of us have those phases. That’s when I try to get to a museum or gallery, look at something other than my own work.

Making Our Way
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I think I’m just constantly looking at the light, the shapes, the color of the landscape. In good weather I take a walk through the fields or ride my bike. I sometimes take my sketch book but not always and I’ve gotten away from doing plein air paintings much beyond my own back yard. There is still so much for me to see right outside my door. If I see something I really want to capture away from the house, I’ll take photos and work out some thumbnail sketches later and maybe revisit the location after I have done some sketches.

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

Though I live in the country, it’s an easy day trip for me to visit Philadelphia or the Baltimore - DC area, so a lot of museums and galleries are normally accessible. Without being able to actually visit I rely on social media but that’s not the same. I’m really missing that access now because of the Covid-19 shut down.

You know, the smallest things can excite me, new mark-making, new adjacent colors that I hadn’t tried before. I think experimenting with process or looking at the little secret spots in a landscape keep me engaged. I have been experimenting taking my landscapes to an abstracted level that keeps me excited. I’m trying to focus on shapes and colors found in the shadows of the landscape both distant and close. Lately I’ve been looking at the shadows in the landscape and trying to force myself to look at the smaller elements. That’s not so easy for me since I always want to paint big sky.

Anticipation
(click to view)

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

In my paintings, I’ve been trying to focus on the impact that edges and deep shadows have on the atmosphere of a piece, there’s a balance I feel like I’m searching for. I’m also trying to relax more about a piece that just isn’t working the way I want it to and let it go, move on to another piece.

This has certainly been a challenging year for showing work and even though I’ve had two scheduled solo shows completely canceled, the Covid-19 quarantine has given me a chance to focus on building my presence on-line, particularly here at DPW. The business end of maintaining a painting practice can be very demanding and quite a challenge. I’m really glad that DPW exists for artists.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I think what feels especially good is when a viewer gets excited enough to want to own a painting and they share with me how they have connected to it on a very personal level. That means a lot to me, that I can create an image that touches the heart of someone. That, I think, can be called success.

Thanks, Patricia!

© 2020 Sophie Marine

Thursday, May 28, 2020

DPW Spotlight Interview: Barbara Benedetti Newton

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

From Barbara's DPW Gallery Page:

"The [pastel and oil] landscapes by Barbara Benedetti Newton are suffused with gossamer colors....In these paintings she plays with the paint, sometimes feathering it out, at other times carefully defining each element of the landscape. Look for the bursts of color in many of the paintings, bursts like subtle fireworks that are powerfully effective."

Review 3/21/14, The Seattle Times, Nancy Worssam

(click to read more from Barbara's bio)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I have been drawing as long as I can remember. As a child, I was apparently fascinated with women in fancy clothes because that is what I remember drawing. I have an example of that from age six.

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

After high school I became a hairdresser to support myself through art school. I was then employed by a major Seattle Department Store as a Fashion Illustrator. When I married and moved to a working farm on Vashon Island near Seattle, I took a twenty year sabbatical from making art to support the farm and raise our two children.

Ginger Pot
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

Fashion illustration in those days was mostly pen and ink. After my sabbatical, in 1990 I discovered colored pencil and worked exclusively in that medium for a decade creating still life drawings. I co-authored Colored Pencil Solution Book. When I tired of the medium, I switched my subject to landscapes and worked in pastel for the next decade and wrote Art Answers: Pastel Drawing. I work in a medium until I begin to get bored. I’m currently working primarily in oil.

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

I have experience in and have taught pen and ink, colored pencil, watercolor, mixed media, pastel and oil. I use acrylic as under-paintings only so I would say acrylic doesn’t suit me for finished work.

Loved Ones
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I don’t hear any other mediums calling me right now though encaustic always sounds interesting.

Who or what inspires you most?

I am a fan of Ingrid Christensen, Tibor Nagey, and Colley Whisson. Watching Colley paint makes me jump up and run to my easel.

Cedar River Picnic
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

I don’t procrastinate but I do re-invent. I love rearranging my studio, organizing my art database and switching mediums for a fresh start. These days I switch between pastel and oil.

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

I don’t thrive (and neither does my work) on long days in the studio. If I can paint a couple hours a day I’m happy.

Yellow Mug with Lemon
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

For me in the past, the medium seemed to dictate the subject. I couldn’t imagine creating a landscape in colored pencil and with pastel I intuitively gravitated to landscape. Oil paint has been the exception and I’m happy with almost any subject.

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

I paint when I feel like painting, not as if it is a job or an obligation. That is why I cut my gallery representation from six to three and I no longer enter competitions. Changing the size of my work helps. Painting really big or very small is stimulating.

Infatuation
(click to view)

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

I’m interested in the value and temperature of paint to lead the viewer into and around a scene. Nuanced color and value is exciting and simplification of a scene is my current challenge.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I am happiest when I paint with abandon, make confident choices of hue, value and temperature and walk away from the easel while the scene is fresh.

Thanks, Barbara!

© 2020 Sophie Marine

Thursday, May 21, 2020

DPW Spotlight Interview: Maria Morris

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 "Baby Ranunculus" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Maria's DPW Gallery Page:

Hi! I’m a portrait painter who has sold almost two hundred paintings in the past twenty-five years. Although portraits are my first love, I’m currently obsessed with florals and landscapes!

I took several years off my art because I didn't believe in art as my true calling. Since then, God has assured me that He has created me to create and that He has a plan for my art that goes beyond what I can imagine. I offer an online painting course and giclee prints on Etsy.

Painting Workshop                            Etsy Shop

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

When my family of ten would have drawing contests, I would win even though I was the youngest. I would draw or paint every day growing up and took art classes at a visual arts high school in the D.C. area. I later majored in art.

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

After college, I lived in Paraguay for several years, where my husband was a pastor. I painted and sold over one-hundred and fifty watercolors, mostly portraits, during our time overseas. But, after having children, we experienced violence and trauma overseas, so we came back to the States. I went through a time of PTSD and raising my two kids that made it hard to paint. I also didn't know how to market my paintings here in the States. So when my kids were around ten, I started a family photography business because there was a demand for photographic portraiture. I learned a lot about business and customer service, but I didn't paint during those seven years either.

At age fifty, I am starting over painting full time and I could not be happier. Although I have regrets about not painting for so many years, I'm also grateful that I am free to dive into my calling as an artist.

Baby Ranunculus
(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 watercolor for many years, learned oil painting two years ago, and then settled on gouache on canvas. I don't really follow a genre. I'm just naturally a modern realist with fauvist colors.

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I have played with resin, painting on wood, inks, paper art, and digital art, so now is the time to focus on gouache. My exploration comes in subject matter and refining my skill.

Who or what inspires you most?

God's creation inspires me the most. Light, color, children's faces, flowers, mountains and water. 

Jenny Lake
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

I'm done procrastinating! I'm making up for lost time by painting boldly, without fear. Fear is what leaves us paralyzed and procrastinating. But, "art takes courage" (Henri Matisse) and being an artist means not being afraid to fail.

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

First, I needed to believe that I am called to be an artist. To accept, embrace and execute that calling. When I am convinced that art is a priority, I have no problem making time for art. I also make it easy on myself by having a functional art space and easy process. I teach a five-step process to fail-proof painting in my online painting course that I follow with each painting. It involves a quick way to cover the white of the canvas with strong form and color that guide me through the rest of the process.

Pike Place Market
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I go to beautiful places at beautiful times of the day and use my photography skills to capture great composition. I later paint from the photographs I am most excited about.

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

I have a passion for realizing the God-given potential within me. I'm not currently at the skill level I want to be, so challenging myself keeps me engaged. And if I am excited and engaged in a painting, others will get excited about it.

Glory Clouds
(click to view)

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

I am learning so much as an artist and creative entrepreneur right now. A few things I'm learning are:

The more I paint, the more I want to paint.
The more I paint, the better I get at it.
The more I paint, the more God blesses my business.

My art isn't all about me. It's about magnifying the beauty of the Lord. It's about blessing others and bringing joy.

The better I am -- physically, emotionally and spiritually -- the better my art is. Art is a manifestation of the soul of the artist.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I derive the greatest happiness when my art brings joy, love and/or comfort to people.

When a print makes the perfect gift for a special day.
When a floral brings life and joy to a home and reminds them of a special day or place.
When a portrait brings tears to a mother's eyes.
When that portrait brings comfort after one of the family members has passed.

Spring in Seattle
(click to view)
Thanks, Maria!

© 2020 Sophie Marine

Thursday, May 14, 2020

DPW Spotlight Interview: Nicole Nappi

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

From Nicole's DPW Gallery Page:

Many years ago I was accepted to attend the Art Institute of Chicago.  Instead, and last minute, I changed my mind and enlisted in the US Navy.  Well, life happened as it does, months became years... and there was no time for art. In 2016, after 30 years, I found my way back to the canvas and began painting again.

Although I've had no formal art education, with today's technology, I've taken full advantage of online courses and tutorials offered by some talented and knowledgable artists over the past few years as I develop my own style. My favorite medium is acrylic, but I'm starting to dabble in gouache and think this may become a close second!

I've recently started with daily paintings and have found joy in creating smaller pieces. If I'm not working on a daily painting, then I'm working on a larger painting or learning new techniques, but I make sure to paint something every day. Not out of necessity, but out of the enjoyment and peace it provides me.

I feel privileged to share my work with all of the talented artists in this group and thank you for stopping by.

Red Pitcher
(click to view)

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

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I loved art class as a kid. I fooled around with watercolors and acrylics in high school, but didn’t get serious about it until many years later after my children had grown up and left home. One night several years ago, I attended a "Paint and Sip" with my daughter and as they say, "that’s all she wrote!" The next day, I went out and purchased some paints, a couple of how-to books, and enrolled in online art classes. A couple of years later, I began selling my work. First at local art/craft fairs and then online. Today, painting is my full time passion and I can honestly say it’s given me real happiness when others enjoy what I have to offer.

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?

I’ve played a little with charcoal, pastels, watercolors, oils, acrylics and gouache. My favorite is acrylic because of its versatility and fast dry time. Most of my work is done with acrylics. I’ve recently started exploring design gouache and love it’s creamy, opaque nature, as well as its ability to be reworked after drying. I’m also looking forward to painting en plein air this summer with art friends.

Egret
(click to view)

Who or what inspires you most?

I belong to a couple of online art groups filled with some incredibly talented artists. Seeing their work every day inspires me to keep painting. I also love painting from the old masters. Two of my favorites are Martin Johnson Heade (still life) and Frits Thaulow (water and landscape). There is so much to learn from artists of today and the past. I love learning and I’m always trying to improve my work by being open-minded to new ideas and techniques.

What does procrastination look like for you?

Sitting on the couch with my iPad searching and saving reference photos! This is exactly how I procrastinate. When I get into this groove, I change it up and do things such as varnish paintings, prep canvases, order supplies, or practice techniques. I also watch a lot of painting videos, continually learning. I’ve learned that procrastination is part of my cycle or method, and it affords me time to complete other things that need to get done. Sometime it provides me with new ideas and challenges.

Winter on the Farm
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Ah, the million dollar question! I find that I am always thinking of what I’m going to paint next. I paint what appeals to me at the moment, and that can be anything! Sometimes I will paint seasonal paintings, but mostly I paint things that I tell myself "I can’t paint." I love to challenge myself and I’m my biggest critic. I’m hardly ever satisfied and I strive to become better.

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

By constantly learning and trying to get better. Being enrolled in online painting classes. When I’m working on a difficult painting, I’ll usually have another one or two I’m painting at the same time. I find this keeps me painting at times when I would otherwise give up if I got stuck. I can just put that painting to the side, work on something else, and come back to it a different day. Painting provides me inner peace. I cannot imagine it ever getting boring or mundane.

When Life Gives You Lemons
(click to view)

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

Color mastery, values and painting with cool and warm tones. As with any endeavor, to truly become proficient one must learn all that they can. I am always trying to improve myself for myself.

What makes you happiest about your art?

The process of painting makes me happy. It’s my center, my therapy, my happy place. Making other people happy with my work is an even better feeling. Knowing that I created something that brings joy to someone else is very rewarding. That truly makes my soul soar.

Follow the Leader
(click to view)

Thanks, Nicole!

© 2020 Sophie Marine

Thursday, May 7, 2020

DPW Spotlight Interview: Melinda Patrick

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

From Melinda's DPW Gallery Page:

"I saw. I liked. I painted. That about sums it up. That's how and why I paint."

Melinda Patrick began developing her art when she was a very young child. Her paintings are her vision of the places she loves, the colorful cityscapes and ordinary people that catch her eye. Melinda received her BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. While in public school, she attended the scholarship class at the Houston Museum of Fine Art. In addition to painting, Melinda is an illustrator and has worked most of her life as a graphic and web designer for small studios and Fortune 500 companies. She lives in a pine forest near her native Houston.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

My grandfather was an artist and put a brush in my hand by the time I was five. He gave me tempera and newsprint and had me paint things I saw. When I was in third grade, the teacher had us each draw the State of Texas and my drawing really looked like it. I didn’t realize how well I drew it till that teacher gushed over my drawing. That gave me the confidence and desire to create more art.

My art teachers in public school gave me a lot of attention and promoted my art in my schools and art competitions. I started to believe that I should have an art career.

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

Yes. When my kids came along it was too hard for me to be a mom and a painter. They took front and center in my life. When I divorced, I had to get a “real” job to support us. Then, while I was working as a graphic designer in Product Marketing at Compaq Computer Corp., I made friends with one of the Marketing Managers who not only worked a high pressure job, had kids but he managed to carve out time to paint. I told myself that if he can do all that, I can surely do it all too. So I did. I got a table top easel, small canvases and paints and painted every night on my dining table. And I’m still painting.

Onion Vinaigrette
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

As I mentioned, my grandfather started me in tempera and later introduced me to chalk and oil pastels. I set up a studio area in my parents’ garage and drew with the pastels every night, mostly portraits of famous people. My junior high school art teacher saw my portraits and arranged for a P.E. student to come to the art room for me to create a portrait in chalk pastels. Then she put me in a booth at the annual school celebration (Roundup, it was called) and we sold portraits on the fly for $1 each. She also taught us how to make batiks. Loved that but not enough to keep it up.

My grandfather also provided me with canvas and oils and I loved them. I gave acrylics a try (it was the 60’s and Liquitex was the only available brand back then) and I hated them. I used oils all the way through college till I started to paint again. At that point I switched to acrylic only because I didn’t want the smell of oils in my cramped space.

After college I got very interested in printmaking. I created some etchings in college but continuing was out of the question since I had no access to the equipment needed after college. I did some screen printing and block printing instead and loved it.

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

Acrylic has changed a lot and is now in my blood. I enjoy other media but acrylics on canvas are my go-to passion. I’ve done a little block printing in the last few years along with painting with gouache on paper and look forward to working with that media more. I’ve done a lot of pen and ink drawings. I love to do those but they seem to always take a back seat with me.

Side by Side
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I’ve had a bunch of scratchboard in a drawer for a few years and one of these days I’m going to pull it out and see what I can do with it. I want to do more in gouache, ink and block printing but I always seem to get tangled back into the acrylic web. My secret desire is to work with colored pencils. No secret anymore.

Who or what inspires you most?

I’m inspired by art by other artists such as Edward Hopper, William Buffet and Jack Vettriano. And I’m inspired by things I see around me. When I travel I take thousands of photos of things I want to paint. I review those photos over and over and over again, deciding if the image would work well for painting and if so, should I change the imagery up or paint it just as I see it. When I’m painting something I think I will love, I’m inspired to get it finished so I can see the finished painting. I’m impatient to see it.

Red Ribbon
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

If I feel the need to procrastinate, I push the art aside and do other things I need/want to do. Housework, web design, vector design (I create an original design for my annual Christmas card in Adobe Illustrator), knitting. The longer I avoid painting, the more the creative juices build up and I get to a point where I am very ready to paint again.

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

I used to schedule studio time every day. I spent the first two to three hours alone in the studio. Then I did the other things I needed to do and usually went back into the studio. Now I spend afternoons in the studio and often evenings as well. I always keep a space for a home studio so I can paint any time I want.

Bright Blue and a Boat
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I constantly go through my photos and photos I find from other sources to decide what I want to paint. It’s a running process that never stops. I look at art from artists that I admire. I have favorite genres of subject matter and I tend to rotate them: cityscapes, beach scenes, vintage boats, neon signs, pelicans. I accept commissions and they get easier to do every time I do one.

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

I paint what I want to paint as a rule. And when I feel like my work isn’t fresh or interesting, I take a step back. I stay out of the studio and clear my mind till I go back in with a new attitude.

Your work will always be good if you paint from your heart and if I don’t feel it in my heart, I don’t paint it. Unless it’s a commission. But people who want a commission piece always come to me because my work speaks to what they want in their painting.

Sunflower Brunch
(click to view)

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

I recently downsized my home. My studio went from 144 square feet to 40 square feet. I learned that space doesn’t really matter if you really want to create. I went to San Francisco Art Institute and one of the most important things I learned there is that you can create art anywhere with anything. Art comes from the heart and that will always make great art.

What makes you happiest about your art?

Finishing a new painting. I can’t wait to see the finished product.

I like to paint what I would like to hang on my walls. When I started to paint again while working at Compaq, I had just designed a house and we were building it. I wanted my art all over the walls so I painted art to hang in my house. My kids would come over and say “Mom I want that.” So they took what they wanted and I painted more. Now I’m an art-lending-library for them.

I hung some of the paintings on my office wall at work and people would come by to see what’s new and I enjoyed hearing what they had to say. I participated in art shows and loved the interaction with people looking at the art. People that see my art always want to talk about it and that’s always fun.

Short answer to the question: I love the interaction with people that it spurs. And I like to look at it.

Friedrich Nietzsche said “We have art so that we shall not die of reality.”

Thanks, Melinda!

© 2020 Sophie Marine

Thursday, April 30, 2020

DPW Spotlight Interview: Nathan Newell

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


Tell us a bit about how you first started drawing.

One morning in 2001, my dad was working in the yard while simultaneously keeping an eye on my twin brother and I while we played in the backyard with each other. It doesn't take much to distract two-year-old twin boys. After a while, my dad realized he couldn't hear the nonsense chatter of his kids. He quickly paused his gardening duties and rushed inside to find us. He followed dozens of Sharpie scribbles through the kitchen and up the stairs, to find us happily drawing away on the walls with permanent marker. As they say, they rest is history. Drawing became an essential part of who I was. From kindergarten to my Senior year of high school, I was known as "the kid who draws".

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

I've always been pretty constant in my desires to create art. In 2014, my brother and I made an account on Instagram to share our art with friends and family. That really motivated me to continue drawing because I loved seeing others' reactions to my art. In late 2017, I took a two-year break from my normal life to serve as a full-time missionary in the jungles of Peru for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I did a few watercolor pieces during that time but I was mostly focused on service projects and showing others how they can improve their lives through love, patience, and faith in Christ. Once I returned from Peru, I picked up just where I left off. I created a new account on Instagram (@nathan.newell.art) specifically for my art. I upload progress videos of my artwork as well as final products.

Green Bow
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I have always been fascinated by the simplicity and detail of hyperrealistic still-lifes. Rather than the classic arrangement of vases, fruit, and flowers, I enjoy painting colorful objects such as soda cans, gummy bears, and gift bows. I almost look at it as a branch of pop art because of the intense color against a white background, and the modern subject matter. Something that really catches my eye is shiny objects. If the reference or photograph itself glows with light, then once I recreate it as a drawing, my artwork will also radiate light. I enjoy working with colored pencils and oil paint to accomplish that.

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

Something that really catches my attention are large pieces of artwork. In the future I want to experiment with larger canvas sizes. Maybe a mural. Obviously it would take longer, but it allows for more detail to be included in the piece. Because we are all experiencing a pause in life, with the current COVID-19 pandemic, I think it's the perfect time to dedicate more to my artwork and develop my potential as an artist.

CRUSHED IT
(click to view)

Who or what inspires you most?

One of my favorite artists and inspirations is Cj Hendry. She draws similar colorful objects such as paint samples and flower petals. She also uses her artwork to benefit others, like the time she drew a massive pair of Nike sneakers, sold it for thousands of dollars, and used it to buy shoes for children in NYC. I may not have the ability right now to help with world poverty, however, I hope that my artwork can make people smile. We can accomplish seemingly impossible ideas if we move one step at a time. It's in the little things.

What does procrastination look like for you?

Sometimes when I've been working on a drawing for a long time, my eyes get so tired of looking at the same thing. I start to criticize my artwork and look for flaws. When that happens I end up taking a break. Usually when I come back, I'm amazed at all the progress I've made, and that motivates me to keep going. It's often hard to see how far we've come until we look back and see the progress.

Yellow Paint
(click to view)

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

When I find myself busy with school, or work, I try to find time for art. This usually means working on smaller projects that aren't so time consuming. What's important to me is that I always make time to practice, so that I can continue to magnify my potential and talent.

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Because I mostly draw or paint still-life, I often take pictures with my phone whenever I come across something I know could turn into a glorious piece of art some day. Just this morning, I was painting the wall with my sister in her bedroom. As I dipped the paint brush in the can and watched as the paint seemed to melt off the bristles, I snapped a few shots for future artwork. I usually try to take my own reference photos so that I don't have to deal with copyright.

Gummy Bears
(click to view)

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

I keep a list on my phone of new ideas that I come up with. I always get excited about what I'm going to draw next. This keeps me motivated to finish my current project so that I can get going on the next one. It's kind of a cycle that just repeats itself.

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

Currently I am learning how to reach more people with my art and start up an actual business to sell it. I just created my website where I can sell prints. I'm trying to work out all the kinks and find the best way to make prints and send orders. It's a process, but I'm hoping to talk to other artists in my city and get suggestions for what works best in my area.

Angel Moroni
(click to view)

What makes you happiest about your art?

As I mentioned earlier, I find joy in the whole process of a project. I love seeing how photographing the subject, editing it on photoshop, sketching it out on the canvas, and shading all come together to create a work of art. There's a lot more to art than just drawing or painting. I think of it as a road trip sometimes. It's so important to enjoy the ride and not just the destination. Great things can be accomplished with hard work, dedication, and diligence.

Thanks, Nathan!

© 2020 Sophie Marine

Thursday, April 23, 2020

DPW Spotlight Interview: Susan McManamen

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

From Susan's DPW Gallery Page:

I am a very grateful product of the daily painting movement. Almost eight years ago, I started painting daily. After a week of p
osting on DPW, I began to regularly sell my work. Hurrah!!! Since then I've sold many paintings, won several awards and now I teach weekly oil painting classes and the occasional workshop. I cannot believe my good fortune. To the people who started the daily painting movement and developed it into what it is today, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Without you I would be currently working in the cafeteria of the local high school. Instead, I'm doing what I love.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I have been playing with paint since I discovered my mom’s toolbox of acrylics around the age of six. Throughout school, I was fortunate to have many encouraging people in my life, including my mom and art teachers. Unfortunately, in college, a few teachers were less than helpful and sometimes downright discouraging. This ultimately derailed my passion for painting for years. When both of my daughters entered school, I decided to try it once again. It was at this time that I found Elizabeth Kincaid, an amazing watercolorist and wonderful teacher. I was off and running once again! My focus on watercolor lasted for several years before I fell in love with oil while plein air painting. Plein air painting has since become quite a passion of mine. My biggest strides as an artist occurred, however, when I decided to become a daily painter.

Carefully Stacked
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

If you can name it, I‘ve probably tried it. There was acrylic, charcoal, ink, and papier-mâché in high school and college. Paper sculpture had its moment after college. Then watercolor when I returned to painting. My current love is oil. Regarding genres, I love to work in all different types. I feel to maintain a daily painter's pace and not burn out, one needs to try every subject or genre under the sun.

Which genres and mediums have "stuck"?

Oil painting has definitely stuck for me in a major way. I find the texture and rich color are completely captivating. Regarding genres, I enjoy painting a wide variety, namely still life, floral, landscape, and urbanscapes.


Which media and genre are you looking forward to exploring?

There are many types of media I am excited to try! I’ve been telling myself for years that I will take up pastels in my sixties. It gives me something to look forward to. I’ve recently seen beautiful paintings created in gouache and decided to make that my “lockdown distraction.” I just signed up for an online class and purchased several tubes of lovely gouache. I’m so excited! Also would love to explore portraiture in the near future.

Who or what inspires you most?

That is so hard to narrow down! There are so many, many incredible artists past and present out there whom I find inspiring. A favorite from the past would be Mary Cassat, an Instagram favorite would be Adam Clague and a daily painting favorite would be Julien Merrow-Smith. I’m enchanted with the way each handles light, color and texture.


What does procrastination look like for you?

Procrastination is my middle name. I’m a master. And it explains why I’m often found painting very late in my studio or as the sun sets outdoors. Accountability keeps it from becoming a total crutch. Setting up a painting challenge where I post the results publicly is huge motivation to get working. My credit card bill is also another big motivator.

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

I often create painting challenges for myself, and this helps combat procrastination as well as gets me excited to do something new! Last year I participated in a “365 paintings in 365 days challenge” and created a YouTube channel to document my process. This year I decided to take on “365 plein air paintings in one year.” This one has been a bear of a challenge. It was especially difficult during the long, wet winter. Thank God for heated vests and big umbrellas! When I participate in a challenge, my first thought in the morning is when and where am I going to do my painting for the day. Then I build the rest of the day’s activities around that.


How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

A lot of my painting subjects are seasonal in nature. In the spring I often paint a lot of flowers, in the summer I paint in the field doing landscapes, in the fall there’s pumpkins and sunflowers and in the winter there’s Christmas. My extensive prop collection is very helpful. I’ve gleefully collected from many an antique shop and thrift store over the years. My crowded, untidy, prop shelves can be quite inspiring. There are also my oil painting students and artist friends who often have wonderful ideas to share. Never underestimate the power of collaboration.

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

Easily the best way I have found to keep my art fresh is to take a class, either in person or online, with an artist I admire. The next best is to be willing to paint a large variety of subjects indoors and out. In the end, regardless of the subject, it’s all just shapes and colors, right?


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

Color, unquestionably. I am always striving to be more sensitive to color subtleties and be more expressive. Then of course there is value. So much power and poetry in properly handled values.

What makes you happiest about your art?  

Two things make me happy really, really happy about my art. First is the opportunity to spend so much time observing and soaking in something beautiful. Second is the thank you note I get from a collector who loves their newest painting. :)

I have to say a huge thank you to everyone at Daily Paintworks. It’s here that I was able to first consistently sell my work, giving me the confidence to keep painting and build the business I have today. You guys rock!!

Thanks, Susan!

© 2020 Sophie Marine

Thursday, April 16, 2020

DPW Spotlight Interview: Ferial Nassirzadeh

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

From Ferial's DPW Gallery Page:


I love living in So. California, very close to Laguna Beach! It is beautiful and inspiring with so many art related happenings! I paint in oils and I do a lot of studio paintings from life. Setting my still lifes are fun and it takes a long time for me to get the right composition, mood and effect, but certainly worth the time!

I love the play of light on objects and flowers. The shadows help to dramatize the paintings and are an important part. I have had quite a lot of artistic influences in workshops with such masters like David Leffel, Jeff Watts, John Cosby, Jackie Kamin, Daniel J. Keys and others whose work I admire. I study their works, I learn from them, they help me in my artistic journey. I am always a student of arts!


I have won several awards, have been featured in Southwest Art as "Artists to Watch" and I am represented by Artist Eye Gallery in Laguna Beach and Cottage Gallery in San Juan Capistrano. I love painting still life and floral paintings, but I also do figurative and landscapes.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I have always been good with my hands. I did embroidery and crafty things for many years. About fifteen years ago I took art classes at the local college and then painting workshops and I was hooked! I have taken classes and workshops in atelier settings and from many artists whose work I love.

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

When I started painting it was just a hobby. I was working (still am part time) and didn’t have too much time, but since 2012, I became serious about my art, got representation in local galleries and now I paint a lot more.

Roses in Glass Vase
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I started with watercolors. I have worked with acrylics, oils, and charcoal. But I love oils. I love the way it moves and I can push it around. As far as genres go, I started with plein air painting and I loved it, but after a few years I had to stop because of physical difficulties.  I do portraits, figurative, landscapes, cityscapes and still life paintings. I love still life paintings and I paint from life.

Which ones have stuck and which ones have fallen away?

I love painting flowers. I also like still life arrangements. Most of my still lifes have flowers in them though!

English Roses in Antique Pitcher
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I think figurative and cityscapes.

Who or what inspires you most?

Masters like Fantin Latour, Sargent, Sorolla, Bischoff, Frans Mortelmans, Richard Schmid, David Leffel, Daniel Keys, Dennis Perrin... There are so many great artists past and present! I also get inspired by nature. Beautiful flowers, beautiful places, and just beauty!

Chinese Lanterns
(click to view)

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

It is so much easier to make time when you live by yourself! I don’t watch much TV, only enough to know what is going on in the world. I discipline myself to paint at least four days a week or more. Even if I come home in the evening, I will do a small study.

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I am always studying art books and art magazines and watching art videos. I am always going to antique stores to look for something that grabs me and makes me want to put it in my paintings. I have fresh flowers in my house at all times and look for beautiful flowers with pretty colors and shapes. I love roses. I paint them a lot. They are a very complex flower and I am always experimenting with new ways to paint them. Beauty inspires me.

Brass Pot and Roses
(click to view)

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

There are so many flowers and each one has their own voice and beauty. I love to paint all of them, so I never get burned out. There are too many beautiful things to paint. I also try and paint different subjects and different sizes. I love the smaller paintings as I like to paint wet on wet and I can usually finish them in one day. Arranging my still life set ups and my flowers excite me.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I am always learning. I am a student of art. I like to try different approaches and when something works and I have a beautiful, solid painting, it makes me happy. I love what I do and it makes me happy if my viewer can feel what I felt when I painted that painting: excitement and love.

Lune on the Big Chair
(click to view)

Thanks, Ferial!

© 2020 Sophie Marine

Friday, April 10, 2020

DPW Spotlight Interview: Kevin Reisenbichler

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

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

The first time I oil painted I was in high school. I later went to the University of Central Missouri and majored in commercial art with an emphasis on illustration, graduating in 2003. I took the required painting classes and maybe one or two others but mostly used acrylic paint until switching to oil after graduating.

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

I can’t count all of the stops and starts in my painting career. Some were months and some were years. After I graduated college I would consistently be thinking about painting but it seemed like there was always something more pressing to be done. I applied for a job on the fire department and I’ve been a Kansas City firefighter for fifteen years now. Along the way I would pick up painting for a few weeks and then fall back out of the habit for all of the same reasons most artists stop and start (family, work, home projects etc...) I recently turned forty and decided that I was going to make painting a priority. Since then I’ve been painting steadily every day that I’m not at the fire station.

LaFrance
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?


I’ve experimented with most of the standard mediums at some point. I’ve used graphite, water color, acrylic, pastel and oil all at some point. It’s easy to want to try using a different medium after you have a long series of failed drawings or paintings. I’ve decided that oil paint is what I prefer to use because of its versatility and durability. I’ve experimented with abstract paintings at different points but really prefer to work flat boxes of color and gestural lines into representational shapes.

What ones have stuck and which ones have fallen away?

For the last six months I’ve been using oil exclusively with the exception of when I pick up my sketch book.

Crossroads Northbound
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I would love to try using gouache at some point and give pastel another shot. For the moment I’m pretty committed to oil and using different tools (squeegees, ink rollers, scrapers and different brushes) to get a desired effect.

Who or what inspires you?

As far as painting is concerned there are so many painters out there that inspire me. I recently started using social media (mainly Instagram) after keeping my distance from it for the last ten years. I follow different painters and hashtags and it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the amount of talent that’s out there.

Yellow Kicks
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

I’m most definitely a procrastinator but as I get older I’ve been able to find a little more discipline.  I’ll find myself cleaning or going through my news apps to avoid a painting when it’s at that point where it could go either way (success or failure). Once something feels like it’s going to be successful and it’s ninety percent finished it’s easy to return to the easel and put the finishing touches on. I recently deleted all of those news apps that absorb way too much of my time with little return.

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

I think what works the best for me is just making sure that I paint first before all of the other things that need to be done. There’s always mundane house chores that have to be done but lately I paint first. I’ll give myself till a certain time and then I’ll work on those other things or go to the gym. It makes for a pretty tight schedule every day but it’s really the only thing that works for me. If I wait till the end of the day to paint it usually won’t happen. Painting absorbs a lot of energy and if I put it off I don’t feel like I’m mentally there.

Untitled
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at the ideas for your paintings?

Lately, I’ll drive around the city looking for things that I feel have potential. I usually leave work around 7 or 8 am and the sun is coming up so the light is usually interesting. Sometimes I come across something that catches my eye and I’ll give it a shot and sometimes I’ll drive around for a couple hours and come up empty handed. Like most artists I’d prefer to work from life but sometimes that’s just not possible and an iPhone photo is all you have. They can be great tools and they’re super concealable and I always have mine with me.

How do you keep your art fresh?  

Lately I’ve been working on a lot of cityscape paintings but sometimes I’ll need to take a step back from those and give some other subject a shot. I find myself doing that a lot the last six months but I’ll flip through Instagram and see someone else’s awe inspiring cityscape and I’ll come right back to it. Experimenting with different tools also helps keep it interesting for me.

Vintage John Deere #1
(click to view)

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

Honestly, everything. Color, light, value, color mixing, etc... Things that I’m sure some would consider fundamental painting skills present problems almost every time I paint. I just try and take a step back and work through all of those problems. More specifically though I’ve been working on a couple of paintings that I felt worked as small paintings and turned them into larger ones. It’s crazy how all you’re doing is putting the same image in a larger space and it’s a huge challenge. All of of the squiggly goop that worked well in the smaller painting doesn’t always work in the larger painting and it feels flat and boring.

What makes you happiest about your art?

Progressing! I couldn’t achieve the same effects that I can now a year ago and hopefully I’ll be able to say the same thing in 2021.

Thanks, Kevin!

© 2020 Sophie Marine