Thursday, October 22, 2020

DPW Spotlight Interview: Jeff Mott

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

From Jeffrey's DPW Gallery Page:

Born and raised on East Coast but living on West coast for last 20+ years. I come from an artistic family but made a career in the Tech world and have now recently retired. Currently residing in Tucson, AZ with my wife (my biggest supporter) and our many critters. I am self taught and have painted on and off for many years, exclusively in watercolor, and now hope to become a more regular painter. I enjoy loose and impressionistic styles (of all media) and struggle to simplify my work to meet these goals. I enjoy the outdoors and try to incorporate my many wanderings into a visual journey. Thanks for stopping by!

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting?

I started painting in my late thirties as a way to relax from my regular work. I come from an art family but chose a different career path into the world of Semiconductor fabrication and found I needed a distraction from that daily workload. I took a few Adult Education courses in watercolor painting and found this to be most rewarding. I continued playing with watercolor on and off as time went on.

Did you have stops and starts in your painting career?

Yes, I had way too many stops and starts, in my opinion. Changes in jobs, houses and states have played out over the last many years. We moved from the NY area to Tucson, AZ in 1998 and then to CA in 2013 and back to Tucson in 2020 all in support of my professional career. Time for art was not really possible during some of this period. I had done sketching during these years as it was easy to do and not time consuming but actually sitting down and painting was difficult during some of this time. I did some watercolor in the early 2000’s and I joined a watercolor group in Tucson from about 2002-2008 but demands of my career limited much of my art time after 2008.

Quiet Evening
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I have always used watercolor. Growing up in an art household with the aroma of turpentine, mineral spirits and varnish wafting about made me want to stay away from oils. I have pretty much stayed with landscape and nature painting. However, I am partial to railroad art as well, my interest in trains is a carry-over from my childhood and my father. I have never done figure work but might try that one day. My father told me that he never really became an artist until he could master life drawing and painting, the human form. He told me that over forty years ago and from what I read today about “learning” art that is still sound advice.

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

I guess that since I am hooked on watercolor, all other mediums have fallen away or I've at least not tried them yet.

Southern Pacific No.5
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I am not sure but there is a lot of nice work I have been seeing with gouache and that would seem to be a logical progression (or maybe a regression if you are a watercolor purist!) If you consider plein air a genre then that is something I have not done but plan to start.

Who or what inspires you most?

Wow! This could be a very long answer! In terms of who, there is the standard list of Sargent and Wyeth and for the modern day I admire Dean Mitchell, Andy Evanson and David Drummond’s work. From the UK I really like Richard Thorn and Robert Brindley’s work. But there are so many less known but extremely talented people, I am just scratching the surface with these names, just look at DPW, there is a ton of talent here.

In terms of what inspires me it is very much the outdoors. I have great memories of the East coast and New England areas, the desert Southwest is a different type of rugged beauty with canyons, mountains and colored rock and the West coast is totally wild and rugged compared to the East coast line and all are inspiring. The smaller things such as shadows, textures and colors of rocks, flowers and leaves, rock color and shadows in clear water of a running stream, old barn siding, rusting metals, fall colors in any location  and snow all inspire me as well. Seeing how others capture these images and how they convey that emotion is also inspiring to me to try and be an effective teller of the story.

Narrow Path Saguaro West
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like to you?

LOL! Well, its me sitting with a brush in hand staring at a white sheet of watercolor paper and not having any idea of what to do next, maybe this is more fear than procrastination. But seriously, I have set up a workspace with my supplies and books and it usually is me sitting and thumbing through my reference photos, looking at my reference books, (can I say looking at DPW since I really do that?) looking at my prior work, sometimes just doodling just to get a shape or image going and trying to get into the mindset. I will play with notan at times and if I get really desperate I will throw paint onto paper and see if it develops into anything inspiring. I will admit that there are times when this lasts days but you just have to work through that. I recently saw a coffee cup on a DPW artist bio page (I’m sorry I can't remember who!) that said something to the effect... Just do a painting today even if it sucks! ...this sounds like good advice. 

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

Structure is easy for me, I am predictable and boring, ask my wife. Since I have retired I can now paint nearly every day if I want so it's easy for me now to make the time. I mainly focus on art in the afternoons. I am probably doing two to six hours a day related to art. It's not all painting, it's a lot of reading, YouTubing, DPW’ing, reading other artists' blogs and just looking and absorbing.

Winter Blanket
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at your ideas for a painting?

Since I enjoy nature and hiking it's easy to find inspiration in my reference photos, books and other reference material but I do look for images that I can connect with and feel some form of emotion. To me, Art is really about communication so that is important to me. What does that image say to me; how do I, or can I, communicate that to someone else; how do I emphasize what drew me to that place or image. Once I find an idea I get more technical and do preliminary sketches or drawings and a value study and see how things progress and try to see if I have been successful in getting the feeling onto paper. 

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

This is an interesting question. I have not really thought much about this but I would say that to avoid burnout you need other avenues to distract you so something not related to art; try for some balance and not have it an obsession. Obviously that is easy for me to say since I am now retired and I do not rely on art for any income but it's ok to take a break and walk away if you lose your focus or passion, it will return.

In terms of keeping work fresh, I would say that as I look at other people's art I will look at the details of “how did they do that?" Is there a way to get that effect, create that feeling in watercolor. I do love texture and color so I am always trying to get these to be visible in my work. I have recently moved to smaller format pieces and that was a change for me. It was initially for studies and planning but seemed to work out better for some ideas but doing a variety of sizes will assist in keeping things fresh. In terms of engagement, it's about communication, have I put the feeling into the painting? I am doing a lot more self critiques these days and doing painting series rather than skipping subject to subject or size to size, this seems to help me. I really enjoy wet in wet techniques and color mixing on the paper but also there are times when hard edges are a must and so a variety of styles helps to keep things fresh. Try to keep an “I can do this'' and not an “I can't do this'' attitude. I will say that I have a closet full of bad work and a drawer full of good work.

Arizona Rocks!
(click to view)

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

I think I am getting much more technical about design and composition in order to improve my painting. I have really tried to do value studies and have been watching Andy Evanson videos on YouTube, and there are plenty of other artists as well that offer their advice on there. As all professional artists will tell you, doing value studies is essential and he is a really good teacher and communicator of his ideas and methods. I have been doing a lot of color studies and mixing studies. Color studies were something that I didn't think were really necessary early on because as an artist you can represent any scene anyway that pleases you but I now think this is true only to a point. I think color harmony is important and so have been revisiting early teachings that I neglected. I have started using a limited pallet, I have reduced my pallet to essential reds, blues and yellows. I have also been studying other oil and pastel artists for their processes and techniques but in general I think I am just getting much more technical in my approach to painting.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I think it's two things. The first is when someone can make a connection to one of your paintings, a feeling, a memory, an object, a time, whatever, it can be almost anything that makes that connection but it is made. That is the feeling of success. The second would be the personal satisfaction that I did a successful painting, I like what I see in front of me. I have captured something other than an image and whatever I captured is appealing.

Fall Stream
(click to view)

Thanks, Jeff!

© 2020 Sophie Marine

Friday, October 16, 2020

DPW Spotlight Interview: Mk Cha

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings. To enter to win Mk's painting "Grapefruit" 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.

Luckily, I had a lot of opportunities to travel and reside in many different countries for years. As I visited various museums, I realized that visiting art museums and looking at paintings makes me happy. Since then, my hobby has been appreciating paintings. One day, I came to this idea of, "Why not start painting on my own?" However, at that time, I couldn't even draw a tiger that my son asked for, let alone draw a cat, and ended up drawing a mouse-looking animal.
Grapefruit
( click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experienced with? Which ones have “ stuck” and which ones fallen away?

When I first started painting, I started with watercolors as it could be easily prepared. The subtle colors and expressions of watercolor were enough to fascinate me. However, watercolor isn't an easy medium for beginners to learn by themselves. Not only did I have to deal with the concentration of water and paint well, but I also had to have a definite plan on highlighting and shading before starting any work. However, oil painting was different. I was able to freely correct any mistakes or to apply a change of ideas at any time. The rich color and lively brush stroke produced unexpectedly good results and made me delighted beyond my expectations.

Sliced fruits on black
( click to view)

Who or what inspires you most?

Throughout life, everyone feels both joy and sorrow, although the emotion ratio is not equivalent objectively or subjectively. Some feel more sorrows and others think they have more joys in their lives. I want to keep and maintain those "joy" emotions/moments such as beauty, happiness, and peacefulness in my life for a long time by painting and capturing these moments (even when there are more "sorrow" emotions/moments). I wish anyone could feel comfort, joy, and rest while looking at my painting.

The little pleasures in my daily life (having a cup of coffee with friends or freshness of a plate of fresh fruit) and the thrilling scenery from planned trips are enough to inspire my painting activities.

For lovers who are starting
( click to view)

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

I usually set deadlines for my paintings and try to meet them to prevent myself from procrastinating and use my time more efficiently. 

But, there are occasions when I cannot complete the paintings on time even when I try my best. When this happens, I think to myself that I do not have adequate painting skills to express what I want on time yet, but I know that these struggling moments will eventually lead me to where I want my painting skills to be. This motivates me to work harder everyday.

On a peaceful day
( click to view)

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

I admire artists who practice/paint similar art objects countless times because I find it difficult to even practice the same type of paintings. When I get bored of painting Still Life, I move onto Landscape. Then, when I get sick of Landscape, I start painting Portraits.

I understand that painting such a variety of genres as a beginner is less efficient, but I believe that this is my way to keep drawing.

Lunch with lily of the nile
( click to view)

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

My initial interest in art derived from famous paintings in museums, so my standards/expectations of paintings as an observer were at the level of famous Virtuosos. When I actually started painting at a late age, I was discouraged due to the gap between my painting abilities and my expectations. Thinking back to it now, I am embarrassed of how ignorant I was. It reminded me of the nature of things - I cannot reach what I want to pursue in a short period of time. I learned that I could only develop step by step while enjoying every step and process as an artist and a person.

Thanks, Mk!

© 2020 Sophie Marine

Thursday, October 8, 2020

DPW Spotlight Interview: Matthew Miller

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

From Matthew's DPW Gallery Page:

Matthew Miller is an artist and architect who lives near Washington DC with his wife and corgi. His art comes from a wide variety of inspirations, ranging from capturing a moment or memory from his travels, to finding beauty in the little things. Regardless of the subject, Matthew loves using oil or acrylic paints to celebrate the light, mood, and atmosphere of a place, person, or object.

Matthew first picked up a paint brush when he was in middle school and has not put it down since. Although he has two degrees in architecture and practices architecture by day, he has been developing his art career with fervor, and, because of his dedication to the fine arts, he has consistently been participating in festivals, gallery exhibits, and competitions. Matthew would love for one of his pieces to be a part of your home.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

When I was young, I had an affinity to doodling, and my mother recognized it as a means for my expression, so she bought me “How to Draw" books as well as some art materials. I studied them, I replicated the images, and I moved from "How to Draw" to "How to Paint" within a few years. By middle school, I was selling my friends drawings of their favorite sports cars. I took it upon myself to continue to challenge and critique my work so that, at any step in my painting career, I would be proud of the work I am producing, but always searching for the next step for improvement.

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

Halfway through my undergraduate degree and through my Master’s degree, I took a break from painting. Architecture school is very demanding, and when you are working fourteen hours a day on school work, you have to rearrange your life priorities. I chose to prioritize my sleep! In the six years after graduation, I have been very productive, and I am excited to see my growth as an artist.

Ruby Red Grapefruit
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I had primarily worked in acrylic up until a year ago. I had just had my first solo show, and felt that it was the perfect time to try something new, with no deadlines in sight and the excitement of having accomplished a successful show. From that point, I switched to oil paint, and I am loving it! I feared that the slower drying times and the introduction to mediums and solvents would complicate the process; however, it has done nothing but open new doors to how I approach painting.

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

Oil painting has been a joy, and for me, it is here to stay. I have occasionally used watercolor for in situ painting or quick studies. I applaud those who can master watercolor, but I could take it or leave it. It is certainly handy for travel, but I do not anticipate watercolor being my main medium.

Cherry Tomatoes
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

Since I am relatively new to oil paint, I am looking forward to continuing my exploration of the medium. I am excited to try different surfaces, try both classic techniques and alla prima painting, and try varying degrees of realism and impressionism. The sky's the limit!

Who or what inspires you most?

One day, I hope to be able to paint like John Singer Sargent. His mastery and command of his brushstrokes seem effortless but at the same precise. His paintings, especially the Venice paintings, model light and color beautifully, and the varying degrees of focus and detail mimic our eyes' ability to see.

Castel St. Angelo
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Painting is my second career. I work full time, and at the end of the day, when it is time to paint, I am exhausted. Sometimes the couch is much more inviting than the easel, but I know that once I mentally get over the procrastination hump and once I make the effort to open up a tube of paint and place a dab on the palette, that exhaustion melts away; I am reinvigorated and ready to tackle a painting session.

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

I keep a running checklist of daily tasks, and I ensure that I allot enough time to progress my paintings, especially if I have a show in the near future or commissions in the works. For me, this works wonders, because I know that I feel good when I am able to accomplish my daily goals, and on the flip side, I feel guilty if I get sidetracked.

Capri
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

As an architect, I feel that experiencing the world around me is imperative to honing my craft. As an artist, I enjoy capturing a memory from my travels so that I can 1) learn from and commit to memory that moment in time through the sheer act of recreating it, and 2) share with others something I feel is worth sharing. Lately, because of COVID, the world I experience has gotten smaller, but it has not been without beauty. I have since found solace in painting some items I have found within the confines of my house. 

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

I never want to be pinned down to one subject matter. I will create a series of cityscapes, and then several months later, a series of still lifes, followed by a series of portraits. This constant changing of subjects has allowed me to breathe fresh air into my painting experience. Once painting starts to become a chore or repetitive, I know it's time to shake things up and paint something that excites me.

Kara Walker
(click to view)

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

Currently, I am working on a series of portraits. I find that portraiture, unlike any other subject matter, has a high degree of difficulty. If your brushstroke is off, the expression of the subject changes. If several brushstrokes are off, your painting becomes a different person! I relish this challenge to, not only capture a person’s likeness, but also mood, personality, and expression. At the core of this challenge is developing my ability to see. If I am able to properly see and interpret my subject, then I stand a decent chance of properly representing my subject.

What makes you happiest about your art?

The process. Don’t get me wrong; the final product is rewarding, and even more so if someone chooses to hang one of my works in their home, but sitting down at my easel, with some good music and my palette loaded up -- nothing beats that. Every time I paint a painting, I learn something from it. Sometimes it's reinforcing or developing fundamentals, sometimes it is experimentation with a surface or medium mixture, and sometimes it's diving deep into the subject and living within the colors, forms and values. Occasionally, the process can be frustrating when things are not going the right way, but that only fuels me to step up to the challenge and approach the painting with trust that the process will lead to a great experience.

Thanks, Matthew!

© 2020 Sophie Marine

Thursday, October 1, 2020

DPW Spotlight Interview: Richard Brunet

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings. To enter to win Richard's painting "Après l'averse, un jour d'été / After the rain..." go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Richard's DPW Gallery Page:

Since 2006, I have been exploring photography as an art medium using different techniques. Macrophotography, infrared, portrait and long exposures are part of my field of exploration.

Inspired by nature and by the seasons, I try through my photos to present a place, a place or a moment as if it were a painting. An influence undoubtedly coming from my theatrical training. For the past few years, my interest has been towards working with grey filters, a technique that allows me to try more and more to create photos that resemble paintings. From there, and following a trip to Provence in 2014, including a visit to Cézanne's studio and the monastery of St-Paul de Maussole, the idea of moving on to painting was born.

Just like in photography, I am self-taught in painting and I start my first attempts in October 2014. Very quickly I realized that painting becomes an extension of my years of photography in both research and inspiration. (click to read more)

Tell us a little bit about how you started to paint?

I had been doing art photography of nature for several years; infrared, macro, long exposures to get blurred. Then I started producing effects with Photoshop to reproduce these photos as if they were paintings. 

There were also visits during a trip to Provence of Cézanne's workshop, the monastery of St-Paul de Maussole where we discovered Van Gogh's room where the idea of painting was born. But me painting..., while I have no notion of design, nor colors, no training at all! And then five years ago, I quietly started two years before my retirement to paint when I had the time. About fifty small canvases that all went into the garbage. When the time came to retire, I wanted to take painting lessons and my wife, who had been an art teacher, told me to paint, often and very often, that it was better to evolve. I took this advice and that's what I did a little more than three years ago now. I used the basics of photography that I had and I explored...

Après l'averse, un jour d'été / After the rain...
(click to view)

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

Have you had ups and downs in your painting career?

My career as a painter is just beginning, painting is too recent for me, but I must say that for the last twelve months, my exploration has been going well. That I discovered in this last year my way of painting.

What are the mediums that you have experimented with? Which ones have "stayed" and which ones have "fallen away"?

I have a temperament where everything must end as soon as I can. So acrylic is perfect for me! Both working with knives and brushes. I did try some experiments with pastels, but without much success. I have also painted on reclaimed oak wood, but with paintings that are much too heavy, it becomes difficult to ship them.

Temps d'arrêt / Stopping time
(click to view)

Which ones do you look forward to exploring?

Oh I think I still have a lot to learn with this first medium! It's an ongoing quest.

Who or what inspires you the most?

The great landscapes and reliefs, those places where you go into contemplative mode. I try to invent landscapes by extrapolating those I have seen in my travels. Travels in Iceland, the landscapes of Scotland have taught me to see the colors of nature, to see that all colors can be found in these landscapes. I discovered then that all the possibilities could be in the landscapes of nature. I just had to let go and dare!

Les beaux jardins / The beautiful gardens
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like to you?

I always take a break of two or three days between each painting. Ideas have to simmer in my head before when I start, even if I won't necessarily go where I originally planned to go. The worst thing for me is to have two ideas in my head for the same painting. That's where it gets complicated. I also spend a lot of time looking at all the paintings I can find on the internet in the styles and genres that I like the most.

What are the techniques that allow you to save time for your art?

The last thing I want is to save time, I want to stay in my bubble in the moment. That's the most precious thing I get from painting. This relaxation and this pleasure to project myself in my universe.

Repenti
(click to view)

How do you usually manage to find ideas for your paintings?

I often start from my previous paintings, a color, a very small stain and then I improvise directly on the canvas. I start from an atmosphere that I remember from my travels. Or I give brushstrokes of different colors here and there on the canvas until I see appear what I like. It works most of the time, but occasionally you hit a wall. I stop and start again the next day... 

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

Passive observation. I often stand in front of some of my canvases on my easel and stand in front for long minutes and observe. I let my imagination run wild. It's a technique I love and it's very effective for me.  Sometimes I focus on the colors, sometimes on the composition. It all depends on what I want to explore in the following canvases.

Les terres éloignées / The Far Lands
(click to view)

What do you think you're learning as an artist right now?

Time. Since I started painting when I retired, there is an urgency to paint in my home. So time is always present in my paintings. Taking the time, the time that passes, being in the present moment. Moreover several of my paintings have the word "time" in the title.

What makes you happiest about your art?

To be moved! One day, I understood why I would like to paint. I was in front of some of Van Gogh's fruit tree canvases, and something happened, I was looking at these canvases and tears came to me, it was as if I no longer saw the subject but simply the beauty of the canvas. And it reminded me of a sentence that a friend of mine said to me about the art photography I was doing at the time. I told him that I didn't understand why I was taking pictures, that not many people were interested, etc... He replied "the important thing is that somehow there is only one person who feels something" ....I had looked at these paintings at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and I just let the emotion enter me.

La berceuse du temps / lullaby of time
(click to view)

Thanks, Richard!

© 2020 Sophie Marine

Thursday, September 24, 2020

DPW Spotlight Interview: Irina Beskina

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

From Irina's DPW Gallery Page:

To me, subject matter is not as important as the dramatic presence of light in a scene. Whatever I paint – a still life, a landscape or a cityscape – I try to paint not things, but rather the effects of the light. Capturing its fleeting magic is what I try to achieve in my works.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

As all kids, I liked to draw and paint, but I don't think I did it better than other kids around me. I kept making quick pencil sketches on every piece of paper throughout my school and university years, and my classmates made jokes that there was no need to put my name on my notebooks as they were easily recognizable by countless heads and figures covering every empty spot, but I never thought about painting seriously until I turned twenty-five. By that time I had gotten a master degree in applied math and worked as a software engineer, so I found a year-long night course in drawing and painting, and that's how it all started.

Radishes
(click to view)

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

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

Yes, I hardly did anything art-related between thirty and forty. During that decade I started a family, and  we moved to another country twice. Combining a full time job, family, studying a new language and just learning to live in a new place took all my time, but those were interesting and very intense years. I hardly  regret not being able to paint then.

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

I tried gouache, soft and oil pastels, but once I started painting with oils I hardly ever wanted to do anything else. What I love about oils is their versatility, rich color and texture, and also the fact that it is a very forgiving medium: one can hardly make a fatal mistake with oils, and that gives me the freedom of experimenting.

Green Apples
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

There are so many things to learn about oils, that a lifetime is not enough to master it.

Who or what inspires you most?

Тhe world around us is so picturesque that I constantly catch myself thinking how I would paint things that I see. Another source of inspiration is works of other artists, both great and famous painters whose paintings you can find in museums and not so famous, but also great artists that show their art on Daily Paintworks, on Facebook, Instagram, etc.

New Shoes
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

For quite a few years I combined a full time job and daily painting, and there was no room for procrastination: I knew that if I didn't start painting right after I was done with my work, I wouldn't paint that day at all, and knowing that was enough to run and start painting as soon as I was free. A couple of years ago I started painting full time, and now it happens that I delay the moment of starting a new painting. My recipe is simple: take a piece of paper and start making a quick sketch for the new painting. If it turns out good, I usually can't wait to start painting.

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

That's simple: since I like painting more than doing most other things, I just go and paint. If I don't have time during the day, I can paint at night. Actually, about half of my paintings were started after 10pm.

Here Comes The Sun!
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I believe that pretty much anything can be a subject for an interesting work of art. The most mundane things can be painted beautifully. An artist has so many tools for that: one can use an engaging composition, choose an unusual point of view, catchy brushwork, interesting color combinations, etc. Sometimes when I need to kill time waiting for something, I play a game: I ask myself, what would I paint, if I had to do a painting standing right where I am now? Usually it's not a problem to find something "paintable". It can be a sun-lit bright-red fire hydrant standing knee-deep in the green grass, an old window with dusty cracked glass, or even clutter around my kitchen sink. Ideas are all around us, we should just look carefully.

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

I think the universal way to avoid burnout is to keep learning something new. Trying new approaches and techniques, picking up subjects that I've never tried before, taking workshops with artists whose works I admire - all those things help to move forward.

Black Cat
(click to view)

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

I like painting from life, but for years I've been painting in the evening, and my favorite genre was still life. A couple of years ago I started painting en plein air. Painting outdoors is so different from studio painting, that I have a whole lot to learn about it.

What makes you happiest about your art?

When I do a painting following all the usual "rules" like finding a strong composition, making a careful sketch, not hurrying up the value stage, carefully mixing colors, etc, I often may come up with an okay piece, but for the painting to turn out really well I need something more: a bit of good luck, some sort of "painter's tailwind". That happens extremely rarely, but when it happens, it gives such a powerful feeling of flight and freedom, that it's worth all those hundreds of failed paintings I did in the past.

Broken Egg
(click to view)

Thanks, Irina!

© 2020 Sophie Marine

Friday, September 18, 2020

DPW Spotlight Interview: Tamami Tokutake

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

From Tamami's DPW Gallery Page:

Always been a secretively creative sort. In the past I have pursued — in various degrees — oil painting, photography, watercolor, drawing, creative writing, and textile arts. My current passion is pastel, and I am drawn to the colors and texture of it. I find the tactile aspect of fiber art in creating pastel painting.

Now I start thinking about the next painting the moment I wake up. Create daily, because you know, life is short.

I am a native of Japan, and now call Northern California and Nevada home.

Everything is Temporary
(click to view)

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

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

A few years back, my family and I just happened to stroll into a local small art supply store that was having a closeout sale. I was still working full-time and with a young child, so I didn't want to get into a time-consuming art adventure. After all, I already had a bunch of watercolor paper and brush in the corner of the garage somewhere... Then I found a beautiful wooden box with Russian-made soft pastels at a discounted price. I always wanted to try pastel. For when I retire and have more time, I said to myself, and the pastels came home with me. It sat on my bookshelf for a couple years, until I came across a pastel painting class at a community college. I'm still not retired, but why should that stop me?

Birds Calling
(click to view)

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I have tried oil (middle school art club!), watercolor and pencil drawing. I liked them all, but pastel suits my personality; it's forgiving and I can go as quickly or slowly as I want. I can even reuse the paper! I would like to try oil again sometime, as the brush strokes look very fresh and expressive. I would love to get my hands onto portraiture also. Taking a class is not easy right now with the global pandemic, but we are fortunate to have so many good online materials.

Old Gate
(click to view)

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

It's a constant learning process. Lately I keep asking myself as I paint; "What am I trying to express? What is my story?" I think it's important that you don't forget this inner voice. I want to go beyond just painting beautiful things beautifully, but I'm not sure what it is yet. One of the things I love about the act of painting is this silent conversation you have with yourself. Especially right now, I feel fortunate to have art in my life.

Chill in the Air
(click to view)

What makes you happiest about your art?

Last month, I painted a small floral piece, but I wasn't quite happy about it. I debated whether to scrap it or not, but I posted it on DPW and Twitter. An old coworker of mine found it and bought it (at a friend discount price!). She said it brought her a much needed brightness; "Keep on painting. It makes a difference in other people's lives." This comment from her has given me a lot of encouragement.

Blue for Saturday
(click to view)

Why create?

"When you don't create things, you become defined by your tastes rather than ability. Your tastes are only narrow and exclude people. So create." -- Why The Lucky Stiff

Val
(click to view)

Thanks, Tamami!


© 2020 Sophie Marine

Thursday, September 3, 2020

DPW Spotlight Interview: Laurie Johnson Lepkowska

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

From Laurie's DPW Gallery Page:

Hi! I studied art in college and like so many, life got in the way and carried me in another direction... later in life I made the decision to quit my job, sell my home and study full time at the Scottsdale Artist School... taking over thirty-two workshops and classes; and studying with such notable artists as Michael Malm, Kim English, Dan Gerhartz, Sherry McGraw, Nancy Chaboun and Peggi Kroll Roberts. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

When I was twelve years old, my dad brought home some drawing paper, pencils, an easel and other art supplies just for me. I must have shown some desire to create art that he would think to do that. I remember drawing every night in our living room after that, so he sent me to Saturday art classes at the local art center. I painted there for years. I definitely was just an average kid painting silly things but I learned to love the atmosphere of creativity and loved the smells of paint and turpentine and anything that smelled like an art studio.

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

Oh yes, after high school I headed off to college and planned to be someone famous in the art world and then love entered the picture. One day, while I was drawing a fountain on campus, a young photographer asked if he could take my picture and years later we married. Life just got in the way. I went to work so he could finish his studies and become a CPA and after he graduated I stayed in sales. Many moons later, I realized I took a wrong turn and so now divorced with no children, decided to take a leap of faith and move to Scottsdale, Arizona to study art full time. That is where I learned the true fundamentals of painting and drawing. I remember a great instructor saying to the class when we were all complaining about how hard it was to produce a good painting - "If you want to do something easy, then become a brain surgeon. You can be one in seven years."

Rose Colored Glasses
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have yo
u experimented with?

I experiment and waste lots of money trying all kinds of supplies. I'm sure the people at the local art store love seeing me because I never leave without spending at least $150... and after experimenting, I always come back to oil painting. I have found a true love for gouache and I also love slow drying acrylics when I paint at home. I'd love to try sculpture at some point in my life.

Who or what inspires you most?

I LOVE to go to art museums - I'll be the person tearing up in the corner because I just got to see a John Singer Sargent in real life. There is nothing more wonderful - I remember one year being in Paris with an art group and we walked through the Louvre at night and I remember staring at this wonderful little Vermeer painting in the moonlight and pinching myself because I was there. The masters like Sargent, Sorolla, Cassatt, Bouguereau and Zorn all inspire me to keep going. I'm sure I'll never be in the art history books (like I thought in college) but damn, the journey's been GREAT!... who cares!

Sunlit
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Knowing you have to get some paintings done for a show and not knowing where to begin, so you freeze. I've been there and it's not a good feeling. 

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

I still work full time, so I get up every morning at 4:00 AM and paint or draw until I have to get ready for the day. I always get in a good couple of hours of checking out art on Daily Paintworks and Instagram and then starting a painting or producing a drawing. I've been doing that for many years and can see the difference in my work. 

Inspired by the Beauty Around Us
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

There are times that people walk into my studio or I see someone in a store and I'll ask if I can paint or draw them. So far no one has called the police. I always have success when someone's beautiful face inspires me. I also look for photos that make me smile - lately I've been on SKTCHY and have found so many interesting photos to inspire me.

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

I often try new colors on my palette after studying other artists' work - lately I've been putting more blues and greens in faces and I'm liking the results. I also take two painting classes a year to have an artist pass through my life for a few days and learn from but sadly that hasn't this year... yet !

Distracted
(click to view)

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

Patience for sure... there are so many great artists on Instagram that I admire and wish that I could paint one tenth as well as - I know it will take time and I can't compare myself... I just have to keep learning and eventually I'll see the improvement . I always get excited when I think, wow ten years from today, I'll be a really good painter... maybe... hmmmm... maybe that brain surgeon idea wasn't such a bad one!

What makes you happiest about your art?

That I always have a friend. I am never lonely. We will be "buds" to the end!

The Copper Pot
(click to view)
Thanks, Laurie!

© 2020 Sophie Marine

Thursday, August 27, 2020

DPW Spotlight Interview: Elena Konysheva

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

From Elena's DPW Gallery Page:

Hello! I'm Lena! I'm from Ukraine. I really like to draw from childhood. As far as I can remember, I draw all the time. In my works I try to reveal the theme of childhood - carefree, bright and joyful. I want my work to bring joy and happiness!

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

Since childhood, I have loved to draw.

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

There were stops: for a couple of years, I did not draw at all. I realized that I can't live without painting, it's my battery.

Friendship
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I paint with acrylic paints, they are bright and resistant to light, therefore the work is always colorful and also dries quickly.

Sunfowers
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I am a self-taught artist with genres of painting I have not experimented with yet. For example, Impressionism; I want to work in this direction.

Beloved Friend
(click to view)

Who or what inspires you most?

Children inspire most of all, their pure and bright emotions I want to draw over and over again.

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

I draw in the morning while everyone is asleep.

Backyard Flowers
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I take ideas from my child and my childhood. I am a mother myself, when I look at my child, I will change my childhood.

Young Artist in Garden
(click to view)

What makes you happiest about your art?

I feel happy to be able to paint. Painting lightens my mood for the whole day. I will be very happy if my work can bring joy to someone and return them a little to childhood.

Roses
(click to view)

Thanks, Elena!

© 2020 Sophie Marine