Thursday, April 25, 2013

DPW Spotlight Interview: Leslie Macon

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

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

From Leslie's DPW Gallery page:

I am an oil painter living and working in Archer Lodge, North Carolina. I have painted professionally since 1994. My art career began as a wood carver in 1984 when I started carving duck decoys from basswood and tupelo. I eventually apprenticed under a world class cajun decoy carver and that was where I first discovered painting with oils.

I switched from carving to painting in pastel and oil mediums in the early 1990's. It was during this time that I competed in national and international competitions as a wildlife artist winning awards and selling through art galleries.

In 2001 I decided to experiment with other subjects and explored floral and still life. During that time I worked for a fine art publisher and had several collections published for the home decor market. I paint floral, still life, historic portraits, wildlife and visionary/fantasy art. My art is also licensed on products as fine art posters, bookmarks, and art tile installations.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I started my art career as a decorative wooden duck decoy carver in 1986. I was fortunate to study under a Cajun carver that taught me to paint my decoys with oil paints.

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

No, I have pretty much have done art since 1986. I had times I had to supplement my art income and work as a custom picture framer, but I always kept actively working as an artist. I think they call that burning the candle at both ends.

(click to see original image)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I have carved in wood, done beadwork, worked with pastels, painted with oil paint, done tile mosaics, laid ceramic tile, and worked with sheetrock. I am one of those creative types that can see something demonstrated on the DIY Network and I am sure that I can do it too. Monkey see, monkey do. As a result I can dismantle a house and put it back together... except for plumbing and electrical. I leave that to my husband. I am self taught in everything including art.

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

Oil painting is the only fine art focus I have right now but I am always doing home renovation. I look at pastels in the art store and get that longing feeling but then loose it real quick when I remember having to sharpen them every three seconds. I also wish I had kept up with carving duck decoys, but I am an old woman now and there are only so many hours I can stay awake.

(click to see original image)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

Oil painting is my only focus as far as art is concerned. I have so many other interests and I am always exploring life. I love to paint but I need to balance out my obsession with oil paint with other things. Painting is a tangible creative expression of my day to day experience. I need to do other things and have things happen to me to have something to say in paint. Yesterday, I was hauling grass clippings to the compost pile for my husband and a bird pooped on my head. That is how memories are made and paintings develop.

You are able to paint an incredible amount of detail on a very small canvas, how did you hone this skill?

I grid my reference to a half an inch and work down the page left to right. I am blind in my right eye and use reading glasses and an optivisor from my old carving days to be able to see what I am doing. I have been working this way for twenty years so you could definitely call it honing my skill.

A Joyful Noise
(click to see original image)

What does procrastination look like for you?

I have never had the luxury of procrastination. If I don't paint, I don't eat and I like to eat.

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

I am disciplined and keep a tight schedule. I am up around 3:30am and I paint Monday through Friday from 8am until 3pm, fix dinner and feed the pups, and usually fall asleep while watching Nascar Race Hub on the Speed Channel.

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I have Mother Nature to thank for all of the ideas I get. I have spent most of my life outdoors gardening and working with animals like horses and birds. When I am outside I am tuned in and my sixth sense is turned on. There is always something to observe and appreciate.

The Sentinel
(click 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 have only experienced burnout twice in my life and both times I was working for someone that was "art directing" me; in other words, telling me what to paint. Because of those experiences, I learned that authenticity is more precious than gold when it comes to creativity. Finding DailyPaintworks was the best thing that ever happened to me as an artist. I can finally paint what I want. Freedom to paint what I love inspires me, feeds my soul, and is the key to my existence.

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

How to feel comfortable and confident marketing my art to a very large audience. I am used to the gallery system selling my art so art auctions are still new to me. The art galleries I worked with never gave me information about who bought my art so I was disconnected from the people that collected my art. That all changed when I joined DPW and I have to say there are some incredibly nice people out there.

In the Pink
(click to see original image)

What makes you happiest about your art?

It gives me peace and balance. I can paint and wash a load of clothes at the same time. I can work at home and not have to leave my pups. I can take breaks and walk in my garden. It keeps me motivated and engaged in life. Now, it gives me a connection to the world outside of my small acre of land, thanks to DPW art auctions.

Thanks, Leslie!

© 2013 Sophie Marine

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