Thursday, September 27, 2012

DPW Spotlight Interview: Barbara Jaenicke

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

To enter to win Barbara Jaenicke's painting, "Happy as Sunflowers," go to DailyPaintworks and click on the Spotlight Giveaway button in the top-left corner of the website.

From Barbara's DPW gallery page:
I teach weekly pastel classes in the Atlanta area and also travel to teach workshops around the country. I’m a Signature Member of the Pastel Society of America, a member of the International Association of Pastel Societies Master Circle and a Member of Excellence in the Southeastern Pastel Society.
Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

Although I did have a grandmother who was an artist, my motivation developed simply from my own love of drawing. I didn't have any natural talent -- no friends or family members ever commented during my early childhood that I showed promise as an artist. As a preteen I loved to curl up on the couch and draw, usually copying anything that had pretty image printed on it. As I eventually became somewhat skilled at drawing, I began taking a painting class at a small gallery/art school in Bordentown, NJ, as well as every elective art class I could in school. I was an art major in college, but focused my career toward advertising/art direction.

Happy as Sunflowers
(click here to see original image)

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

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

After college, I worked long hours in advertising as an art director and didn't have much time for fine art. Many years later, after a career switch into more of a corporate setting which had less creative focus, I longed to have art back in my life, and began taking classes in drawing and painting. A few years later, the small company I for which I worked downsized, and I found myself happily with more time to devote to art! I was at a point shortly thereafter in which I was ready to start teaching art and showing/selling my work, so the timing worked well.

Harvest Farm
(click here to see original image)

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?

Going way back to my school days, I suppose I used a variety of mediums, such as graphite, pen and ink, watercolor, acrylic and oil. But getting back into it years later, I started with drawing to brush up on my skills, and then progressed to pastel, with the plan of soon moving into oil. For some reason, pastel stuck for quite awhile.

I made some false starts several times to move into oil, but kept going back to pastel. I guess because I love to draw, pastel was just a very comfortable medium for me. However, in the past few years, I've been spending roughly equal amounts of time in pastel and oil, and enjoy them both. I still feel like pastel is my "first language" of art, but feel like I'm finally becoming a bit more "fluent" in oil. My goal is to become equally skilled.

Many of your paintings capture a mood of reverie, as if we're seeing what someone else might have, if they sat down for a spell and relaxed. Can you describe what you're drawn to and what you choose to paint?

For my landscape work, I like to paint locations in which I'd want to spend a lot of time. Even though I currently live in the suburbs, I'd much rather live out in the country. That's where I feel most comfortable. I don't often paint grand vistas, but usually more intimate sections of quiet places.

Afternoon Glow
(click here to see original image)

I like the challenge of painting something simple and basic, and creating something very special with it using what I call my "artistic bag of tricks" in which I interpret the scene by manipulating color, edges, contrast, composition, etc. I approach my still life work this same way, using only basic still life props, but attempting to create a magical moment through the interpretation of those items.

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

Procrastination happens for me when I have trouble deciding what to do with a particular painting. I keep myself well stocked with reference photos, and since I paint often on location, I have plenty of plein air studies from which to work. But sometimes deciding how to interpret a particular subject matter becomes my stumbling block. However, I give myself deadlines and do all that I can to stick to them. However, since I have an eight year-old, interruptions are typically more the problem than procrastination.

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

For my studio work, I plan my paintings by doing compositional thumbnails and value sketches to work through what I want to say with the painting. When I'm stumped, I pour through examples of other artist's work either by going though my art magazines and books, or by visiting the websites of my favorite artists to see how they interpreted similar subject matter. I never copy other artists' work, but this process just tends to jumpstart my own ideas.

Sand Dune Shadows
(click here to see original image)

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

I do sometimes go through slumps when I seem to paint one mediocre painting after another (with the occasional "really bad" painting mixed in), which is of course discouraging. But I've been at this long enough to know that it's temporary and I just need to work through it. By staying engaged with the multitude of resources out there for artists (organizations, publications, websites, etc.), I try to view great artwork continuously, which is always inspiring to me and I never tire of it.

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

For the past couple of years, I've really stepped up my time spent painting on location. For me, plein air painting has helped me stretch my painting skills in a way that probably wouldn't have happened otherwise. I've learned to really SEE things in artwork that you don't experience working only from a photograph. And by having a time limit forced upon you by the changing light, I've learned to increase my painting speed, which has enhanced my ability to determine more quickly and concisely what I want to say with a painting.

Front Porch Petunias
(click here to see original image)

What makes you happiest about your art?

When I look back over the course of several months, or a year, or several years, I feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment when I see noticeable improvements in my art and realize that the hard work is showing positive results.

Thanks, Barbara!

© 2012 Jennifer Newcomb Marine

1 comment:

  1. I have been a huge fan of Barbara Jaenicke for some time now. I love her use of colour and values as much as her choice of subject matter. This is a great interview. Thanks so much for posting it. <ost inspiring!