Thursday, May 12, 2022

DPW Spotlight Interview: Robert Harris

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings. To enter to win Robert's painting "banana 02" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Robert's DPW Gallery Page: 


I was lost until I started painting. I'm still lost but slightly less so.



banana 02
(click to view)

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

What did you want to be growing up?  
 
I always find this a bit of a strange question because I really didn't even consider ever wanting to do any "traditional job" as a child. I was more concerned with just wanting to play and goofing around. I suppose once I became a teenager I became pretty enamored with film and wanted to be a filmmaker but I quickly realized that it's a very collaborative profession and as someone who struggled a lot with social anxiety it wasn't really in the cards for me. In one way I guess painting really suits me in that sense because it's largely a solo activity.

When did your artistic journey begin?  
 
I took art classes in high school but I can't really say it was ever an interest at that point. I never made art outside of the assignments for classes and I can't say I was particularly any good at it. Right now I'm 40 and I didn't start really learning how to draw until a few years ago at age 37 and didn't begin painting until I was 38. I was feeling pretty lost several years ago and really just decided to learn to draw on a whim as a challenge to myself which eventually led to painting. I started by learning to draw with an online course called Drawabox.com which I'm currently a teaching assistant at and have been for the past two years. I took a few community college courses for drawing and painting which were helpful but the bulk of my learning has been from various online courses and books.

grapefruit 01
(click to view)

Did you have any long periods without creative expression? How did you get back on the horse?

Most of my life has been spent living without creative expression. I've always been interested in the arts through filmmaking, music, novels, etc but never actually created anything myself. I had a brief sojourn into learning guitar in my twenties but despite practicing it daily for a few years I never really developed a knack for the fundamentals so I ended up shelving it. I guess in some sense I was feeling burnt out from a life of only consumption which sparked my interest in drawing. It's funny I don't even really consider myself a creative person now but rather a translator more than anything else.

Which mediums and genres do you gravitate toward? Which ones don’t appeal?

I am pretty exclusively an oil painter at this point. I still practice drawing regularly with graphite and ink but never any "finished pieces". I've tried watercolor, gouache, and pastel but I had a really hard time adapting to those mediums. Oils make sense to me and I really like to be able to use heavy impasto and texture that isn't really present in those other mediums. In terms of what I paint, the subject almost doesn't matter to me. My work is heavily informed by realism and impressionism but I try to push abstraction into the work as much as possible. I primarily tackle still life and landscape right now but plan to start doing figurative work and portraits eventually. It's really a matter of getting my drawing ability up to a level where I can execute those more complex subject matters at a satisfactory level.

tools 01
(click to view)

What was the process like of pinpointing your personal style or finding your voice? 

I don't really think I have a personal style or a voice at this point. Almost every painting is still an experiment for me. I still consider myself a beginner and don't really worry about trying to find a style as it's sort of baked into everything you make anyways.

Name an artist (or artists), well-known or not, who you admire. Why? 

It's funny my knowledge of painting is very new and I really couldn't have even named any painters besides maybe Rembrandt and Van Gogh three years ago. It's really been a whirlwind of information trying to learn about all of this art history and contemporary painters the past few years. I would say I like the same three masters painters that everyone does who paints realism. Sargent, Zorn, and Sorolla although I definitely gravitate more towards Sorolla as his outdoor paintings are a huge inspiration and I love how much he drenches his paintings in purple. I also really love Isaac Levitan and the sensitivity in which he depicts the everyday landscape that was around him. My favorite living painter is Fred Cuming. His ability to capture the mood and atmosphere of the scenes he paints is incredible. The way he exaggerates colors and pushes abstraction while still making his subjects ring incredibly true and evoke a mood is something I hope to achieve with my work. The last artist I want to mention is my cousin Lee who died a few years ago. He was a talented writer and filmmaker and always the most creative and inspirational person I knew growing up. He really turned me onto a lot of art that I ended up liking. I really wish he could have seen my paintings.

bridgeview golden hour 01
(click to view)

If you could offer one piece of advice to your younger, creative self — what would that be?

This is a tough one because in a sense I didn't have a younger creative self. While I was interested in the arts and I did want to create, I didn't have the type of mindset that would allow that creation to happen. I guess I would tell him that it's okay to produce a lot of bad work and not only is it okay but it's absolutely necessary in order to ever be able to make something good. 
 
Do you utilize any habits or tricks for winning the distraction and procrastination battle? 

This is a battle I've largely lost most of my life. There really is no "trick" I've found that works but instead it's about developing enough self discipline to force yourself to do the work even when you don't want to do it. I have found that some of the best paintings I've done were executed when I really wasn't in the mood to paint but forced myself to do it anyway. In a lot of ways I find that my mental mood going into a painting is largely irrelevant as painting is such a complex process that requires most of your faculties that what you are feeling mentally sort of vanishes as your brain enters a problem solving mode trying to work out a painting.
 
Waiting
(click to view)

In moments of self-doubt or adversity, how do you push forward?

Self doubt is a huge struggle for me and has been my entire life. I suffer from severe depression and have since I was a teenager. In some ways painting is a godsend for me as it's a distraction that takes my mind off negative thought patterns but that said I still wouldn't say it's particularly enjoyable because it's such a mentally draining activity.

What are some of your long and short term goals for yourself or your art?

My long term goal is to be able to support myself with painting full time. I'm currently working other jobs while painting in my spare time and would really like to be able to dedicate all my time towards perfecting this craft. In the short term I would really just like to start selling on a regular basis. Currently almost all of my sales have been to personal friends and that has been very sporadic.

grapes 01
(click to view)

What does success mean to you personally? 

I'm not really sure what that means to me honestly. I can say that I've never felt successful with anything in my life up to this point. Painting is probably the first thing I've done that has even given me a glimpse towards something better. But that said I wouldn't consider myself a successful painter at this point.
 
What is one of your proudest moments in your creative life?

This is another tough one for me as I can't say I really have any. I've never entered my art into any competitions or even sold anything to someone who didn't somewhat know me already. The one thing that comes back to me is that in the Beginning Painting course I took at a community college there was a final project painting that was the fourth oil painting I ever made which a lot of my classmates really liked and some even ended up taking pictures of it. That was the first time I ever felt like maybe I was onto something with painting.

some pairs 23
(click to view)

Thanks, Robert!

© 2022 Maddie Marine

Thursday, April 28, 2022

DPW Spotlight Interview: Bunny Griffeth

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


From Bunny's DPW Gallery Page: 

Although I have always painted all my life, when I retired from nursing I started the discipline of painting every day. Soon I was invited to illustrate a children's book, which led to other books, one of which I authored and illustrated. I love painting a lot of different beautiful things - birds, animal portraits, flowers, landscapes and ocean scenes including turtles and underwater sea life. 

Peach Tulip
(click to view)

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


What did I want to be when I grew up? 

I think I always wanted to be an artist. I always looked for creative things to do. We had a children’s encyclopedia with books ‘Things to make and Things to Do’ and I would go through those for hours. I remember falling in love with different colors in the crayon box. I was always drawing. In elementary school I was the ‘go to’ person in our half hour art class on Fridays to draw on their paper whatever we were drawing.

When did your artistic journey begin?
 
When I was a teenager looking for a job I made a portfolio of my work and went on an interview for a position as an artist. The man was very kind and I think amused at my boldness (and lack of expertise and training). He let me down easily and I knew I would need to have classes, but that wasn’t possible. So I had to get a job doing office work, but continued in my spare time to draw and paint. 

Pink Lily
(click to view)

Did you have any long periods without creative expression? How did you get back on the horse?

Yes, I was away from painting when I was married and my children were born. As they started to get a little bit older I could sometimes paint but I was using oils at the time and it was hard and messy. When I worked as a nurse I didn’t have a lot of spare time, with four children and a full time job, plus overtime. I did take some classes at RI School of Design in the evenings which were great.

I decided to take a small watercolor class at an artist’s studio one night a week after work. That at least ensured I would be painting one night a week! She made once a year trips to Block Island for 2 weeks which I started doing every year. When I retired is when I began doing artwork full time. 

Which mediums and genres do you gravitate toward? Which ones don’t appeal? 

With any medium it’s a question of getting familiar with how it works and working with it. I gravitated to watercolors for ease of clean up but have really come to love working in them. I took portrait classes with pastels which I absolutely love also. I tried a lot of different mediums and the only one I really don’t like is oil pastels. 

GREAT EGRET
(click to view)

What was the process like of pinpointing your personal style or finding your voice?  

I think that comes with just the process of painting. You start to realize that certain things appeal to you and it affects your painting. 

Name an artist (or artists), well-known or not, who you admire. Why?   

There’s so many great artists. I remember as a child looking at a Rembrandt painting at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and the hand and just being in awe of how it was painted. The detail was amazing. John Singer Sargent is one of my most favorite painters. I love how he paints the lights and his brush strokes are just gorgeous.

LEMONS IN BRIGHT SUN
(click to view)

If you could offer one piece of advice to your younger, creative self — what would that be? 

 I would say to look for and take all the artist classes that you can. 

Do you utilize any habits or tricks for winning the distraction and procrastination battle?  

One of the things that helped me the most is to have a special place for painting with whatever you need to make you feel comfortable that’s all ready to go. Setting up is tedious. 

Shih tzu Dog 
(click to view)

In moments of self-doubt or adversity, how do you push forward? 

If you love doing something you will push forward! Having a goal helps. When I retired I had a goal to make a blog for selling my artwork. I spent a lot of time researching everything that had to do with blogging. After a year I was contacted to do the children’s illustrations in a book already approved for publication. I think our first reaction to something we’ve never done before is to doubt. If you believe in yourself and take a step forward, God meets you the rest of the way. 

What are some of your long and short term goals for yourself or your art? 

I love to paint and it’s meditative and enjoyable. Just to be able to keep doing what I’m doing!

Basking in the Sun
(click to view)

What does success mean to you personally? 

I think having people that love my work gives me incentive, and seeing how it makes them happy. I’ve heard a lot of interesting stories about paintings I did that just touched them. One was a starling bird that I loved for the reflections on his wings in the sunlight, and the woman who bought it told me a whole story of how she rescued her starling bird and it didn’t want to leave when it was ready. It sits on her shoulder and it talks, she said.  

 What is one of your proudest moments in your creative life? 

My first book that I illustrated was doing ‘The WaterFire Duck’ with the author Kiki Latimer. Working with artist Barnaby Evans who originated the WaterFire installation was an honor. The book’s initial debut was at WaterFire in Providence. I had been on Block Island with the art group and I got home with the newspaper calling me for an interview, and a message from the news station who wanted to do an interview with the author and I. It was very exciting. 

WaterFire is an art installation that spans the whole Providence River and thousands throng there in the summer months. They play beautiful music through speakers along the river and there are fires burning all along -- so you have all of your senses involved. They have boats with volunteers who replace the wood throughout the night, and gondola rides and boat rides. There’s all kinds of other activities going on in the city surrounding the river, depending on what the theme is of the night. 

Kiki and I were honored to light the fires that night, with these giant torches in a procession through the crowds gathered there. It began with a huge gong, and then one by one the braziers were lit in a ceremonial fashion as the eerie but beautiful music played. 
 
Here’s a 4 minute video you might enjoy: https://youtu.be/veCJonVElq0 

SHORELINE SUNSET
(click to view)

Thanks, Bunny!

© 2022 Maddie Marine

Thursday, April 14, 2022

DPW Spotlight Interview: Daphne Boder

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

ARTIST’S STATEMENT

Fresh. Light. Creation. Warmth. Peaceful. Joyful. Contrast. Surprise.

These are words that describe what I want my paintings to convey. There are beautiful places and spaces that go unnoticed and overlooked.  Painting opens my eyes to see what might not be noticed as I walk along a path. But when a piece of landscape is captured on paper with soft pastels I elevate the overlooked and unnoticed to a memorable and special status.


Yellow Bush
(click to view)

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

What did you want to be growing up? 

I always did want to be an artist. When I was in elementary school my best friend enjoyed writing so we decided I would illustrate her stories. In high school I was the school newspaper artist and took private lessons. But for some reason I decided to major in political science. Big mistake. So in my junior year I changed my major to art and then after that year I went to the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. 
 
When did your artistic journey begin? 

After finishing school I worked for printers in production art design and layout and began working seriously in watercolors. 

Bright Path
(click to view)

Did you have any long periods without creative expression? How did you get back on the horse?

While I was raising children I put the paints away. And then when everyone went away to school I began tiptoeing back into various artistic mediums. I began an art journal and that led to monoprinting. Finally my son, who was working in an art gallery at the time, showed me some paintings and said they were soft pastels. I immediately went and purchased some inexpensive ones and some paper and I have never looked back. That was about 5 years ago.

Which mediums and genres do you gravitate toward? Which ones don’t appeal?

I love soft pastels. I love not having to mix color. The color is immediately available. I also enjoy watercolors and I have been experimenting with oil and cold wax. I am a committed landscape painter and I have done some still life. I am not interested yet in portraits. 

Distant Storm
(click to view)

What was the process like of pinpointing your personal style or finding your voice? 

I think there is nothing like painting daily, or at least 5 out of 7 days. I read Carol Marine’s book, Daily Painting, which made so much sense to me. Oddly enough, the pandemic has been part of that process. There wasn’t much else to do! I thank God for that time. I also think that taking workshops from artists I admire has made a huge impact. Learning from master pastelists has given me the tools to explore and given me the freedom to ask the questions, “What if I tried this?” 
 
Name an artist (or artists), well-known or not, who you admire. Why? 

I admire Winslow Homer and Andrew Wyeth. These two come to my mind first. There are many contemporary artists whose work I love as well: David Lidbetter, Russell Chatham, Tony Allain, Marla Baggetta, Lyn Asselta, Teresa Saia, Alain Picard…there are so many! How much space do I have? 
 
Beginnings of Fall
(click to view)

If you could offer one piece of advice to your younger, creative self — what would that be? 

Don’t be afraid! 
 
Do you utilize any habits or tricks for winning the distraction and procrastination battle? 

For some reason, I feel like all the busy-ness of a day needs to be dealt with before I can get started. I can’t have anything hanging around in my head that I need to do before I paint. Clear the deck, so to speak, so there can be no distraction, nothing else calling my name. 

Winter Bones
(click to view)

In moments of self-doubt or adversity, how do you push forward?

I remind myself that this is not something unique to me. Every artist must confront those thoughts. So if they can continue, so can I. So in those times of self doubt I will work on something more familiar rather than try something brand new. That way I am protecting myself from further discouragement. 

What are some of your long and short term goals for yourself or your art?

I want to become a Signature member of the Pastel Society of America. That’s a long term goal. In the short term, I work towards submitting art for local and national juried exhibitions. I think those two goals keep me striving for the best I can do. And personally, I want to continue to produce work that reflects the beauty all around us. 

Pond Sparkles
(click to view)

What does success mean to you personally? 

When someone buys a painting and tells me they can imagine themselves in that place or that the landscape calls them out to explore for themselves, that means so much to me. One buyer told me when she opened the package the painting brought tears to her eyes. That’s success. 
 
What is one of your proudest moments in your creative life?

Being invited to be A Spotlight Artist is pretty special. I have received a couple of Awards of Excellence. Those were proud moments, also. I think when folks purchase a painting, that might be the best success of all. 

Spring!
(click to view)

Thanks, Daphne!

© 2022 Maddie Marine

Thursday, March 31, 2022

DPW Spotlight Interview: Kirsten Elson

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

From Kirsten's DPW Gallery Page: 

In another lifetime, I was a weather forecaster.

I ended up there by my love of the thunderstorms I grew up watching in Colorado, and the ever-present need to make ends meet in life. But my heart was elsewhere, listening to thunder and drawing everything I see around me. Feeling that "line-to-mind" connection with objects, people, and nature is vital to me. 


I am currently a math tutor for middle and high school students. I love doing it, but after about 10 years, my introvert self aches to be in the paint room at my house, sun splayed across my desk, dog beside me in his cozy cave, planning another painting. It's my heaven on earth and I thank God for letting me feel that.


Along came Carol Marine's daily painting movement and it is exactly what I needed. It has made the difference in getting me to pick up a paintbrush and get going! 


Oh, and I love a good podcast for accompaniment to painting!


Prickly Situation
(click to view)

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

What did you want to be growing up?  


Geez. I can’t remember that, it’s been eons. Early on, I wanted to be Elvis Presley’s girlfriend but time and wisdom have helped me realize I dodged a bullet there! I always loved expression through art though. As a senior in high school, I decided to go to my local Art Institute because I had no idea what to do. I loved that experience; I graduated and started at the bottom in an advertising profession. Lack of confidence and low pay turned me toward college again, and I was driven by my love of a good thunderstorm to get my degree in atmospheric sciences. Art and creativity were always in my heart though.


When did your artistic journey begin?  


Most likely, my artistic journey began in second grade. Mrs. Shively wanted us to make stick puppets for a class performance of “The Three Billy Goats Gruff.” She would choose the best puppets for the play. She kept saying “make them big; they need to be big.” I made this big fat billy goat. She chose him for the play, and that first sense of “wow, I got chosen” possessed me.


Hayden Flies
(click to view)

Did you have any long periods without creative expression? How did you get back on the horse?


I have had long periods without artistic expression. Being a person who tends toward depression at times, I have to remind myself to get drawing as a way to get out of a hole. I always felt I was not a painter, though, and that has only changed in the past couple of years. Carol Marine’s method and book, Daily Painting have helped me immensely. I wouldn’t be painting if I hadn’t stumbled across it. Primarily, I prayed to God to let me do well at this thing I love. So, for the record, thank you Mrs. Shively, Carol Marine, and God. You all helped bring me to this awesome place of considering myself a painter.


Which mediums and genres do you gravitate toward? Which ones don’t appeal?


I love oil painting. I used acrylics briefly but was drawn back to oils when I discovered the odorless solvents really were odorless! I was on a long stint of drawing with ball-point pens, and I still love the challenge of making something nice from an ordinary medium that is literally pennies to purchase. I dabbled with encaustics too, and will do that again. I can’t do pastels. I love the results they give, but I have some sensory “freak outs”, and I can’t stand the dust on my hands. Genre-wise, I love just about everything. Abstracts usually have to work hard to catch my eye though.


Aaron
(click to view)

What was the process like of pinpointing your personal style or finding your voice?  


I’m still in that process, so I can’t really say in a definitive way. I’m trying to loosen up but I tend to veer back to more realistic, so that’s always a struggle. I did portraits of my immediate family with close-ups of them making goofy faces. I like a non-conventional approach and want to stick to the fun side of representing people and things, but I also work with what people ask me to paint. I don’t know if I really see a specific style yet, but I ‘m working on it.


Name an artist (or artists), well-known or not, who you admire. Why?


I love Z.Z. Wei’s work. His paintings are magical. He has focused on a geographical area that I adore, the Palouse region of eastern Washington. His paintings are friendly and they go about their business, but somehow…they like you back at the same time that you are liking them. There is so much personality in a Z.Z. painting! I have several framed gallery posters of Wei’s work but have had them up so long, they are fading. I have loved them into the realm of the Velveteen Rabbit!


Pico
(click to view)

If you could offer one piece of advice to your younger, creative self — what would that be?  


Do competitions, take the time to paint, give up the cheesy television shows that you will forget in a month! Paint, paint, paint! If you love it, you’ve got to do it always! And don’t be afraid to show people.


Do you utilize any habits or tricks for winning the distraction and procrastination battle?  


My pup, Jasper, wants to be in the sunny, warm studio while I paint. He is pushy and insistent. If I don’t get in there early enough, he comes up beside and me flips my elbow in the air with his nose - repeatedly. It’s incredibly annoying and the only way I can get him to stop is to get painting. On a more practical level, I suppose I compartmentalize. If I don’t feel like standing and painting, maybe I’ll watch a movie while transferring an idea to a board via grid. I try to break painting into more than one task to be done in more than one spot. Don’t want to clean the garage? There might be an unexpected still life just waiting to happen in there. You never know…


Jasper
(click to view)

In moments of self-doubt or adversity, how do you push forward?


If things just aren’t working for me, I make myself take a break even if I don’t want to. Conversely, if I’m not getting the time to myself to paint, I make some paint time for myself. I guess I’m just kind to myself as needed (and probably too often). I know there are going to be dry days. I can tell you this: I wipe a finished painting at least a couple times a week.


What are some of your long and short term goals for yourself or your art?


Short term goals include moving up in size to 10x10’s and then maybe 16x20’s (joking, but not entirely)! Long term, I would love to actually get some works into a real, storefront gallery. Also, I am relocating to the center of the country soon, and looking forward to trying some sweeping Great Plains landscapes.

Cool Stream
(click to view)


What does success mean to you personally?


Loving what I am doing (really LOVING IT) and being able to make others happy at the same time. It’s fun to surprise people with paintings. I love being alone in the sunny room with the dog, listening to a good podcast and making art that will please someone. 


What is one of your proudest moments in your creative life?


I’m pretty sure that day in Mrs. Shively’s class was right up there! Actually, a good moment for me was when my dad asked me for the URL to my gallery page. He heard rumblings about it in the family and wanted to see it. That made me feel pretty good.


Thanks for the platform for those of us who are late bloomers and introverted about our work. DPW has changed a lot for me, and I appreciate it!


Patio Party 1
(click to view)
Thanks, Kirsten!

© 2022 Maddie Marine

Thursday, March 24, 2022

DPW Spotlight Interview: Sarah Maccario

 Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings. To enter to win Sarah Maccario's painting "La Montagne Sainte Victoire bleu lilas" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

An Introduction from Sarah Maccario:

Hello I’m Sarah and I’m delighted to have been invited to be DPW’s Spotlight Artist. I’m British and I live in the South of France with my French husband, Georges, in a small village near Aix-en-Provence. Painting for me is a kind of creative visual diary, a way to express myself and share the poetry of life. We live near Cezanne’s famous muse, La Montagne Sainte Victoire. I’ve been enjoying documenting my surroundings through painting the beautiful countryside and also aspects of everyday life. I’m just building up a new body of work including some pieces which I will no doubt share on Daily Paintworks.

La Montagne Sainte Victoire bleu lilas
(click to view)

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

What did you want to be growing up?  

I didn’t think too much about it. I was interested in many things, nature, wildlife, existential questions, all sorts. I liked to be outside and experience things, the weather, places. I liked art, making things, colour, pattern and writing. 
 
When did your artistic journey begin?  

When I was very young, I liked colouring, making mud sculptures and miniature gardens. I remember enjoying basket weaving, natural dyeing and embroidery using neon colours! At school in the 1960s and 70s, I discovered how much I enjoyed painting, drawing and modelling clay. Applying paint, evoking a feeling, a place, being transported and totally immersed, losing sense of time for a while. I particularly remember a book cover project, I painted Gondolas in Venice. I dreamt of painting giant cheese plant leaves on my bedroom walls. I also wanted to fill my bedroom to the brim with gossamer or coloured silks or ferns.

I went to art school in my late teens and again twenty years later, which in fact is twenty years ago now! I loved doing the Foundation course and it was then I began to consider myself as an ‘Artist’ and really lived and breathed art for 4 life changing years at Winchester School of Art, part of the University of Southampton. I was so happy to finally get my Bachelors of Art Degree in Fine Art, Painting.
Did you have any long periods without creative expression? How did you get back on the horse?

I’ve always found creative outlets. I have painted intermittently throughout my life but there are many forms of art and ways to be creative. I have enjoyed gardening and making clothes at different times, photography and frequently, just doodling on the back of an envelope. I love travel and exploring so I’m never short of inspiration. Actually, Daily Paintworks has been a real motivation to paint frequently again and I’m enjoying seeing my painting develop.

Which mediums and genres do you gravitate toward? Which ones don’t appeal?

When we lived in Southampton, UK, I belonged to an art collective and had a large studio space for a few years alongside 15 or 20 artists. At that time, I made big works on wood panels or canvas using acrylic paints. I also made a lot of sculptures from found objects. When I was at art school, (for the second time around in 2002-6) I made lots of 3D work from plastic debris collected on the beach. Quite unusual at the time but our impact on the planet became concerning to me. Some of my sculptures were included in exhibitions in the South of England. I enjoy conceptual art too, sometimes you can get a big idea across without making an enormous artwork but then I like enormous artworks too! Currently I’m trying to find what appeals to others and aligns with my own ideas for Daily Paintworks. I’ve been quite experimental, using oils and trying different techniques but I’ve also started using acrylics again as I feel at home with them. I really would like to use eco-friendly paints. A few years ago, I made a collection of artworks on my iPhone, just using a basic painting app, for an exhibition about my home town, Southampton. It was fun drawing on my phone ‘en plein air’. I sometimes use watercolours or biros or markers or whatever’s around. Sand or pebbles on the beach. Fallen twigs in the park. An arrangement of wildflowers from a walk. Not all art lasts forever or even a day.

Les Trois Sages
(click to view)

What was the process like of pinpointing your personal style or finding your voice?  

I don’t think about it too much. It’s probably embedded anyway. I don’t really want to be defined as ‘the person who paints such and such….’ I like the freedom that art gives you if you take it. It’s interesting that famous artists are often known for a particular thing but actually they have a whole repertoire if you look deeper. Usually, I prefer to paint semi-abstract but for Daily Paintworks I was teaching myself to paint in oils again after using acrylics for so long so I tried a range of subject matter and style. I’ve always been quite experimental with techniques and approaches. Sometimes the work is just about an idea. I would be interested to know if viewers can see a connection in my Daily Paintworks paintings. Please do let me know.

Now that we are living in the south of France again and near the majestic mountain St Victoire, Cezanne’s muse, I feel compelled to go out and sketch and paint some of the beautiful scenery. My artwork is a kind of visual diary, sharing some of my thoughts, favourite places and things around me in my daily paintings. Daily Paintworks is like Instagram or Twitter for Painters! Love seeing what others are up to.

Name an artist (or artists), well-known or not, who you admire. Why? 

There are so many artists I admire and I find new ones every week but broadly it's more 19th and 20th century painters British and French painters including John Singer Sargent, Gwen John, Toulouse Lautrec, French Impressionists, Matisse and Les Fauves, The Nabis, St Ives Artists, Prunella Clough and of course all the American Abstract Expressionists … I like them for different reasons, the brush strokes, the portrayal of light, the semi abstract forms, the outrageous or subdued use of colour or just the feeling I get looking at their work. I love very contemporary art too in all its forms and go to as many exhibitions as I can. At Art School we visited Paris and New York. I’ve been to the Venice Biennale twice and it’s awesome! So much art in all genres, film, installations, sculpture, drawing, performance. I loved Phyllida Barlow’s ‘Folly’ at the British Pavilion. Always good to champion women artists and there are plenty to choose from! There are many good artists on Daily Paintworks and I enjoy seeing the progression of another artist. I do buy artworks from other artists as do many of my artist friends. It’s important to support each other and also a privilege to have their work on my wall!

Jaune de Cadmium
(click to view)

If you could offer one piece of advice to your younger, creative self — what would that be?

‘Do an apprenticeship to get qualified in a creative profession so that you can fall back on that when you need to earn money!’ I’ve had endless, not very well-paid, part-time jobs to support my artistic career and haven’t been able to always offer myself the studio space or the amount of time needed to make my art. Mind you, I have had some interesting part time jobs, Grape Picker, CBS Records Receptionist, English as a Foreign Language Teacher, Railway Station Staff at Monaco, Librarian, Contemporary Art Gallery Assistant, Seamstress, to name a few. I’ve met some amazing people along the way. Sometimes I wish I was a qualified gardener/architect/clothes designer/graphic designer.
 
Do you utilize any habits or tricks for winning the distraction and procrastination battle?  

Try to get started early in the day on the creative mission. Don’t get distracted by the admin until later in the day! But here I am typing at 9am! Being a full-time artist involves about 10 different roles to support your art. It feels like you are doing 10 jobs simultaneously. Record keeping, photographer, social media, supplies coordinator, packaging and mailroom assistant, secretary… and that’s before you’ve picked up a paintbrush! It’s very difficult to stick to a strict routine making artwork.
 
Belle vue méditerranée
(click to view)

In moments of self-doubt or adversity, how do you push forward? 

Either take a break or just keep going!

What are some of your long and short term goals for yourself or your art? 

So it feels like I’ve been what they call an ‘emerging artist’ for years and I’m ready to become ‘established’ but realistically, I need a studio space again to do that. As my (French) husband and I moved back to France two years ago, I have had to start making new friends and finding my feet again in the French art world. I have artwork in a Gallery in Aix-en-Provence and I belong to two local art groups. I just participated in an exhibition (which generated sales) in our village, part of several related events on the theme of Water. Integrating into French life and becoming established as an artist are my main goals. There is a fair amount of paperwork involved too!

Figues de Barberie
(click to view)

What does success mean to you personally?  

I have a love/hate relationship with the artworld. I worked in a gallery where artworks by Gerhard Richter were individually worth more than my house. Special paintings. I had to make sure people didn’t touch them! That feels like a different world of celebrity and excessive wealth. I’m not in that league and not particularly keen to be. I consider myself lucky to be an Artist and spend time making art. I suppose then that I would like to be totally self-supporting in my artistic endeavours and that my art is considered ‘valuable’ but I would prefer that it is because it offers a particular and original view of the world.

What is one of your proudest moments in your creative life?

A few years ago, my home city, Southampton in the UK, was starting the process of submitting a bid for UK City of Culture 2025. I was invited, as a local Artist, to participate and create an artwork in response. I wanted to inspire people to get on board with the idea and I created an interactive map with supporting artworks to encourage people to reflect on all the creativity at grass roots level already extant in the city and to build on that. I am proud of my initial contribution to this ongoing, city-wide project and happy to say that Southampton has been longlisted to final 8! Although I live in France now, I really hope Southampton achieves City of Culture 2025 and I hope to participate in building and being a part of a creative community locally here in France. Art, especially at grass roots level and in this difficult time, is a panacea and more vital than ever, for everyone.

Happy painting! Sarah x

Fleurs
(click to view)

Thanks, Sarah!

© 2022 Maddie Marine