Thursday, November 28, 2013

DPW Spotlight Interview: Andy Sewell

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

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

From Andy's DPW Gallery page:

I have been an artist and loved to draw all my life. After studying art, architecture and graphic design in college, I graduated from the University of Idaho (USA) in 1989. From there I worked as a graphic designer for fifteen years. I never quit painting on the side. I love watercolor painting from loose flowing washes to tightly rendered details. And now the more I paint in oils, the more I grow very fond of oil painting as well as its buttery blending and the option for texture.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I started in college. My first year of college, I wanted to take a watercolor class and my dad would not let me so the following year I started to study architecture. I had to take art classes for architecture so that's how I got my foot in the door and I really enjoyed watercolor from the get-go.

Colorful Cosmos
(click to see original image)

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

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

I started painting watercolors in college in 1987 and never really quit. In the late 90s, I started gearing up to try to sell my work at 'Art In the Park' type shows and that's what got me really painting a lot more. In 2003, I went full-time as an artist and have been going strong since then. I just started oil painting within the last two years and the more I do it the more really like it. I'm sure it will be a lot of what I do in the future.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

When I was in college I did take one class that introduced me to some acrylic painting but I preferred watercolor a lot more. I also took a silkscreening class. Another term I took serigraph and I liked that a lot. There also was a time where I made some t-shirts. I really respect serigraphs; I think they are misunderstood and not respected as much as they should be. I wished I would've taken and learn more about other forms of printmaking when I was in college because I think printmaking is a really neat medium as well. For example, when you print on nice cotton paper you can then go back and watercolor over it.

Slippery When Wet
(click to see original image)

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

Watercolor has definitely stuck and I think it has made me more of the artist I am today than anything else. I am really glad I learned to start painting with watercolor because I think it teaches you a great foundation for whatever medium you pick up from there. I really enjoy the spontaneity of it and the challenge of trying to control it with its washes and how there's almost an outside force involved and painting with you. It's really a great medium but I also think that oils will stick because there's just a lot of things about oils that I'm finding are practical and really more flexible and forgiving.

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

Oil painting is so new to me and I'm excited to explore more of what it can do. I want to explore and see what I can do with texture, glazing and just all the different options it gives you. Whether you paint one painting in a couple hours via plein air while it's wet or you let it dry overnight and paint that way, there's still a lot for me to learn in oil painting.

Who or what inspires you most?

I love God and he inspires me and guides more than anything else with his Holy Spirit and his beautiful creation. I am compelled to give him all the glory and credit for this. Once, I did a painting inspired by God. It was an image of gumball machines in the sky as though there's an endless supply and the label on the gumball machines were all different. Some of the labels were love, peace, joy, hope, healing, freedom, goodness, and kindness. They represented all that God has for us if we just become aware of that and look up, we position ourselves to receive from him all of his good stuff. I think too many people think that God is not good, but I hope my art can help people see that he really is good and he wants to bless us.

(click to see original image)
One time, when I was in prayer I imagined a picture from God that I want to paint someday, but I haven't been able to yet.  I need to get models and somebody who looks kind of like the traditional Jesus because he's going to be in the painting. The gist of the painting is Jesus driving an old rusty truck down a dirt country road. Jesus is also in the back of the truck having an ice cream cone and playing with a bunch of kids. The message for the painting would be that we are his kids and we're happy to let Jesus drive and guide our life. We enjoy joking around as we sit in the back of his restored old truck munching on good stuff and having a really good time together, safe with him.

What does procrastination look like for you?

I guess one of the main things procrastination is to me is not shipping orders out as fast as I should. I would much rather paint a new painting then package one up to ship. Shipping out things is kind of boring. It would be cool to be kind a like Amazon or these big hotdog companies that can ship out within a day or two but when it's just one guy doing everything, it's kind of tricky sometimes.

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

I like to eat and selling art helps me do that. I like to stay living in my house and paying my bills and because this is what I do to pay the bills and buy food, I am motivated to keep painting and framing. I also find that it seems like I am just made to paint and when I do I'm happy. When I have a day or two or even a week goes by where I don't get the paint, I start to get irritated because I'm just not doing what I'm supposed to be doing. So, I think I can only go so long without painting/creating; it is just something I love to do and I have to do it.

Pansy Trio
(click to see original image)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I alluded to this earlier, I am definitely inspired by God and his creation, beauty and goodness. Also, the things around me and things I love.

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

Recently, I partook in an event where thirty artists painted thirty paintings in thirty days and sold them for thirty bucks which was neat. It made me work faster, looser and without getting too involved in thinking about what I'm painting. I could be more spontaneous and paint something that I wanted to try but didn't know if it would turn out very well. I really like the idea of giving myself a deadline or having to paint something small in a short period of time. You can experiment and if it's a mistake, it's not a big one. You are willing to risk things because there's not so much at risk.

Misty Morning Bull
(click to see original image)

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

I'm always learning how to be more disciplined and more diligent. Can you ever quit learning that kind of stuff? I'm always learning more how to market my work and sell it. Creative new ways to sell work is always something I'm interested in. As I said, I'm new to oil painting so I'm still learning that medium. I want to get better at not being so tight and meticulous but instead looser, fresher and more impressionistic with bigger brushes, lost lines and freshness.

What makes you happiest about your art?

What really makes me happy is following God, knowing him and doing what I believe he made me to do. I believe everybody has gifts and talents that they are made to express. When they find that and walk into it, that's what makes one happy. I am also happy that I can create things that make other people blessed and happy. I love the idea of people getting up in the morning, looking at a painting or picture that I made and making their day a brighter day. That's really a cool thing.

Thanks, Andy!

© 2013 Sophie Marine

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