Thursday, October 3, 2013

DPW Spotlight Interview: Michael Teel

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

To enter to win Michael's painting, "Happy Painting" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing his interview.

From Michael's DPW Gallery page:

I'm the Creative Director for Progressity, Inc., a marketing company in Charleston, WV. I was born in Brooklyn, NY. but grew up in West Virginia.

I'm a graduate of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. I've been married to my lovely wife, Elizabeth, for over 18 years. I have four children, two that live with me (Suzanna and Madeline) and two that are adults (Chasity and Michael). I worked in the Washington DC area for over 16 years for a Fortune 500 company as an Art Director/Senior Designer.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

My “re-birth” began about 2 years ago. I’ve always dabbled here and there throughout the years, but when I turn the big 50, I decided it was time to get serious about it. Kind of a “now or never” mindset.

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

As mentioned above, I’ve had an on and off career. I worked for awhile as a free lance illustrator in the Washington, DC area. I’d get the painting bug and have a few months where I would work. Then, feeling satisfied, I’d decide to take a few days off. Before I knew it, it would be a few months off. Once a year I’d take a workshop to get my juices going. That was one of the great values of living near the nation’s capitol, the variety of workshops available.

Happy Painting
(click to see original image)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I was a big watercolor guy for years. Most of my illustration work was watercolor. Very tight rendering though. Not your typical lose, free flowing watercolor style. Most of the freelance work I was doing was for science and educational magazines, so lots of detail work.

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

Well, I’d like to “unstick” the tight, need to be precise type work I used to do. I think I suffer like a lot of new painters do, overworking my paintings. Since starting with oils a few years ago, I’ve gotten better at it. But I have a long way to go. In some ways I feel like I’m starting over, starting from scratch with oils. Trying to paint in a “painterly” manner. I know what I want my work to look like, I’m just working hard to get there.

Field of Flowers
(click to see original image)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I’m always striving for the “less is more” philosophy. I’m a web and print designer by trade, and that’s always been my modus operandi. I just keep plugging away and taking my time as I paint. I think what happens to me as I’m painting is I tend to get lost in the moment and forget my goals of simplicity and definitive brush strokes. Oh well, hopefully I’ll have at least another 30 years to work on that.

Who or what inspires you most?

Well, Carol Marine inspired me to take up the painting a day blog. Though, mine have been more like “painting a day, then one month off blog”. I like to search the internet for other artist’s work. I’m a big fan of some of the illustrators from the Golden Age of Illustration like Howard Pyle and N.C. Wyeth. I also like the regionalist painters from the mid 20th century.

Bird with Flowers
(click to see original image)

What does procrastination look like for you?

I have a great wife and two lovely daughters at home, so sometimes I use them as an excuse to not paint. Right now I’m getting ready to exhibit some work locally, so I’ve been busy building homemade frames to display my work in. Once I get through this week I’ll be able to start up my blog again, which by the way, I’ve re-titled “Michael Teel’s nearly 2 paintings a week blog”. And, I’m already behind.

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

I have to begin right after I get home from work or right after dinner. Being a Dad, I sometimes need to help with my daughter’s school projects. See, there’s that procrastination thing again.

Evening Rain
(click to see original image)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

For my small blog paintings, I’ve been collecting items at second-hand stores and keeping them in my studio. I’ll just grab a few things and start moving them around. I also recently discovered fabric swatch books at the local thrift shop. These books are great for helping with color choices. I just pull the books apart and use them as backdrops or set my items on them. For my larger pieces, I just have ideas come to me as I’m day dreaming or just driving around town with my camera.

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

I like to Google other artists to see the possibilities. I haven’t quite found my “niche” yet, so I’m constantly searching for my way.

Puppy Dog Tails
(click to see original image)

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

Patience and perseverance. I once read an article about a famous artist. She stated in the interview that she “loved having completed the work, but hated the process”. Painting can be an emotional rollercoaster. How I feel about myself as an artist is based on the last painting I just completed. If it turned out nice, I feel great. If it turned out poor, I think I’m not getting anywhere with my work and I need to do something different. Hopefully my ride will be less bumpy as I get better.

What makes you happiest about your art?

Seeing a finished piece and knowing that I did my best. But also knowing that I’ll only get better the more I work.

Thanks, Michael!

© 2013 Sophie Marine

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