Thursday, July 5, 2012

DPW Spotlight Interview: June Rollins

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings. 

To enter to win June Rollin's painting, Dreamscape No. 153, go to and click on the Spotlight Giveaway button in the top-left corner of the website.

From June Rollin's DPW gallery:
June Rollins is a signature member of the Southern Watercolor Society and Watercolor Society of North Carolina. Her artwork has received national recognition and numerous awards. She teaches Dreamscaping with June Rollins workshops in watercolor and alcohol inks. 
Tell us a bit about how you first started painting. Did you have any stops and starts in your painting career? 

My biggest “stop” happened before I ever really started. In 1972, I told my high school guidance counselor I knew I wanted to be an artist. She enrolled me in 9th grade Art. The first day, I was so intimidated by what the teacher said would be required of us, I ran to the guidance counselor’s office immediately after the class and told her I had been wrong, “Art's not for me, I think it's boring.” The truth was, I was afraid I would lose my B+ GPA and stopped before I started. That decision began my 17 year detour away from my heart’s desire.

Dreamscape No. 153

(click here to see original image)

Enter to win by clicking the "Artist Spotlight and Giveaway" button!

In college, I poured over the course handbook and wanted so badly to major in art, but didn’t think I had what it took. Again, fear won.

I took up photography as a hobby in the early1990’s and soon a desire to paint from my photographs emerged. A friend introduced me to watercolor by letting me use some of her paper and paints. I bought a Grumbacher student kit, checked out library books and videos and dabbled off and on for about a year. Soon, other life choices and responsibilities took precedence and time for art was squeezed out.

My breakthrough came in October of 1999 with the Y2K scare. I woke up one morning and thought, if the world is going to end, I would at least like to take a beginner watercolor class. I enrolled in a 10-week course at a nearby community college. Thankfully, I had an encouraging teacher and have not stopped painting since.

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 began in watercolor because it happened to be what I was introduced to first. I doubt I would have chosen it had I known it is considered by many to be the most difficult medium. I didn’t know any better and fell in love with it.

Fresh-Picked Daffodils
(click here to see original image)

I’ve mostly worked from my photographs and very early on was drawn to painting houses. I began getting requests for commissioned house portraits and used an opaque projector to save sketching time and for perspective.

My use of the opaque projector is falling away. Now, I’m wanting to sketch loosely from life or paint intuitively with no sketch.

In 2009, I had a strong desire to try other mediums via one-day introductory workshops. One of the mediums I tried, I had never heard of, alcohol inks. During that workshop it was like my inner child artist had finally been let out to play. All around me other artists were manipulating the inks with brushes, making impressive representational works, but I had a strong resistance to even picking up a brush! All I wanted to do was drop ink on the paper and observe what happened. Afterwards, through a spirit of experimentation and play the Dreamscaping theme emerged.

I began getting requests to teach and the instructor from that one day workshop gave me her blessing, saying I had developed my own style. Plans for my first instructional DVD, Level 1 Alcohol Ink Dreamscaping With June Rollins™ are now being made.

More important than choice of medium for me is the dreamscaping spirit I want to nourish and incorporate into all my art making. I now have a desire to dreamscape in watercolor, watercolor inks, oils and pastels.

Flower Power No. 6
(click here to see original image)

You're an accomplished watercolorist and you've also created bold, beautiful work using alcohol inks. What can you tell us about the differences in setting up compositions for each medium? What pulls you to either one? 

Many of my watercolors have been representational and were created from my photographs. Working in this manner requires more planning and preliminary set-up. It’s like putting together a difficult puzzle. It’s great when it all comes together and you feel a high degree of accomplishment.

You can work intentionally with alcohol inks too, but the Dreamscaping process I’ve developed is intuitive, using no brushes or pre-planned sketches. One of my students described it best, when she said, “When I pick up the ink bottle and begin dreamscaping, any tension I was feeling, begins draining away.”

How I’m using alcohol inks is influencing how I watercolor. My style is becoming looser. I’m having more fun, without trying so hard as I have in the past.

What does procrastination look like for you? What techniques work to ensure that you make time for your art? 

In the past, procrastination looked like a bag of Oreo cookies I had to open and eat or a load of laundry I had to start before I could begin to paint. Procrastination was my old friend, fear. We’ve just gotten used to each other. She doesn’t hold me back like she used to :-)

Dreamscape No. 143
(click here to see original image)

Competition deadlines have helped me. Not getting that art degree when I was younger made me want validation by attaining signature membership in art societies. Something I’m still aspiring to, but it’s not the be all, end all it once was. Getting so many rejections along the way has make me more resilient.

Since last November when I joined DPW, I’ve been inspired by other artists’ work and have benefitted from adopting the daily painting practice of working small. I’m an early riser and love starting the day Dreamscaping. Do I paint everyday? Well, maybe not on paper, but in my heart and mind I do.

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Just about everything I see, I’m interpreting into a painting. I’ll never be able to paint all that I want to paint which is one of the reasons my love for photography continues.

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

In 2009, I was experiencing a growing dissatisfaction with my art which is why I was prompted to try other mediums. Experimentation and play came to my rescue. Specifically, experimenting with alcohol inks revitalized my art making. It is such a fluid, forgiving medium.

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

I’m learning the less I try to control or force a preconceived outcome, the more soul-deep satisfying the creative process. I believe I’m learning joy. I’m noticing this joy I experience when creating, sometimes transfers to the viewer which seems to complete the circle.

Dreamscape No. 69
(click here to see original image)

What makes you happiest about your art? 

That I’m doing it. That fear didn’t win. I love experiencing the creative process and inspiring others to get in touch with their own creativity; either with how my art makes them feel or offering art instruction.

Thanks, June!

© Jennifer Newcomb Marine

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