Thursday, October 24, 2013

DPW Spotlight Interview: Nancy Paris Pruden

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

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

From Nancy's DPW Gallery page:

I got a scholarship in the 5th grade along with twenty other students in elementary schools across Ft. Worth, Texas. The scholarship was art instruction twice a week and I was in the program through high school. So by the time I got to college, I knew I wanted to be a professional artist.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I started painting at a very early age, maybe ten. I was having a lot of trouble in school because I couldn't read and nobody understood dyslexia in the 50's. Naturally I felt stupid, my ego was shot, but my dear Mother encouraged me to draw and paint. By 5th grade, I finally got some help with reading but art was my refuge.

Sonoma at Sunset
(click to see original image)

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

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

Painting and teaching painting is now my life, but while I was single and then when my children were young I made my living doing illustration and commercial art. My first job after college, I worked as a designer and illustrator for Montag Stationary in Atlanta. In the early 70's, I moved to Houston and started freelancing for Advertising agencies and by the 80's I moved into designing contemporary Texas-style Christmas cards. I sold that company to Nu-Art out of Chicago and thought, "At Last! It's time to Paint!" I still consider painting like desert and become anxious if I don't paint just about every day.

Lake Travis, Austin
(click to see original image)

What mediums and genres have you experimented with? Which ones have "stuck" and which ones have fallen away?

I started out with water color and acrylic but quickly moved to oil. There is nothing like the versatility of oil and I love the saturated color.

Initially, I did portraits but felt I was too tight. Then, I moved into still life and found painting from life invaluable. However, in the last few years landscapes have also occupied much of my time. I don't know if I will ever be good at landscapes but feel that plein air work really pushes me.

Home Grown Oranges
(click to see original image)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

Texture is something that interests me.

Who or what inspires you most?

Right now I admire Fechin, Quang Ho, and Richard Schmid. However, Sorolla and Sargent continue to knock me out for their elegance of brushwork and design.

Etretat, France with Boats
(click to see original image)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Who can be procrastinating when "Time's a Wasting!"

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

Naturally, as an artist, I will never be good enough, but as a teacher, all these years of painting have helped. I have a small art school with a great studio in Houston and teach three days a week during the school year. There is nothing like showing instead of telling a student how to do something, so I am painting while teaching. However, I believe you should not make anyone paint the way you do, so I try to help each artist find their own style.

Hay Bales, Fields of Gold
(click to see original image)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings? How do you keep art "fresh?" What techniques have helped you avoid burnout and keep your work vibrant and engaging?

In the summer, I take groups on painting trips to Europe and Mexico. The small paintings I put on Daily Paintworks are plein air paintings from these trips. Because I had so many years as an illustrator, I can draw, but to paint is something else again.

What do you feel you are learning about right now as an artist?
I have always loved drapery studies as a time honored discipline and it's great that they are something I can set up in my studio. They really are just abstract shapes so they have a contemporary feel. I will be having a show of these drapery studies in San Miguel de Allende in Mexico sometime next year.

Thanks, Nancy!

© 2013 Sophie Marine

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