Friday, November 23, 2012

DPW Spotlight Interview: Abigail Gutting

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

To enter to win Abigail Gutting's painting, "Fruit of Autumn," go to go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing her interview.

From Abigail's DPW gallery page:
Abi is a full time artist by day and an art instructor by night, working with children and teenagers. Her students are award winning young artists.
Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I've been drawing and painting for as long as I can remember! When I was little, my mom, artist Susan Gutting, would work at her drawing table in the afternoon while my brother and I were down for naps. I would get up early, slip into her work area, and she would make room for me at the drawing table and we'd "work" together! She studied at the American Academy of Art in Chicago and has been my primary instructor throughout most of my childhood.

Fruit of Autumn
(click here to see original image)

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

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

Starts and stops... not really! I've been pretty focused on developing my skills since day one. During my high school years I was focused more on music (classical piano and singing), but never stopped pursuing fine art. When my high school work was done, I cut back on everything except fine art.

Horse Study #2
(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?

I've been oil painting for 8 years. Before that, I was primarily a colored pencil/ watercolor artist. I was pursuing a career in children's book illustration until one year the Oil Painter of America National Show came to Seattle. After spending a day in the presence of so many professional oil painters and being surrounded by such incredible work, I started oil painting and never looked back! And right now I have no desire to move on to anything else. There is so much to learn about this medium... it never grows old!

Morning Glow
(click here to see original image)

Your subject matter runs the gamut from classic Western features, to warm and evocative portraits, to quiet still lifes. What's it like transitioning from one to the other and making sure you do each subject justice?

Transitioning between subject matter... hmm. It's never been a challenge to switch back and forth, mainly because it all interests and inspires me! The advice for artists is usually to avoid such a wide range of subjects, but I love it all. My goal is to tell a story with my work that enables people to dwell on what is lovely and wholesome.

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

I'm very guarded with my painting time. Because it's such a solitary endeavor it's easy to let things slide. To avoid that, I've treated it like a 9-5 job for the last several years.

Bucking and Kicking
(click here to see original image)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I like to have my paintings planned out ahead of time, so when one is finished I move right on to the next one without delay. I photograph rodeos all summer long. I plan photo shoots with models, both human and animal. I'm always gathering items for still lifes. I have model sessions in my studio, so I can paint from life. I plein air paint with my mom (who is the landscape artist in the family), so I can apply those studies to my studio paintings. There is never just one source for my ideas... they come from all of life!

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

How do I avoid burn-out? Well, one of the workshops I've taken in the past was from Bruce Greene, Cowboy Artist of America at the Scottsdale Artist School. He emphasized throughout the class that the pursuit of excellence in art should be kept in it's place. There is a time for everything and I think part of being disciplined as an artist is knowing when to call it quits for the day. Family comes first. Friendships are invaluable. This, along with all the other "stuff of life" enriches and inspires me when I come to my easel everyday.

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

The same principles over and over again! Value, color temperature, composition, accurate drawing, etc. Each new painting is a lesson in applying these timeless theories.

Tea and Apples
(click here to see original image)

What makes you happiest about your art?

Seeing others enjoy it! I believe that is the purpose of an artist... to portray the beauty of Creation to other people.

Thanks, Abigail!

© 2012 Jennifer Newcomb Marine

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