Thursday, January 9, 2014

DPW Spotlight Interview: Elizabeth Barrett

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

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

From Elizabeth's DPW Gallery page:

Elizabeth Barrett has enjoyed a passion for painting since early childhood. She has developed much of her artistic skill and style from self-education and practice. She is especially gifted at painting portraits and still life. Barrett captures the essence of a person or animal largely through facial expression, lighting, and highly crafted detail. Currently focusing her art on the old master’s technique, she incorporates years of painting experience using a variety of methods.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

My passion for art began in 6th grade. I remember seeing a classmate draw a picture of an island and the ocean. This inspired me to learn how to draw. My first painting was a landscape I did in 7th grade. I loved to search through magazines to practice drawing and painting from references.

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

Raising 4 boys kept me busy! I used to only paint a few paintings a year. Now that they are older I am pouring more time into my work.

(click to see original image)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

As a child, I wanted to experiment in every area. I used acrylic, watercolor, charcoal, pen/ink and pastels. I also tried sculpting and pottery. I loved the contrast when using charcoal along with white chalk on toned paper. I did a lot more drawing and less painting when younger. Pen and ink was also a favorite of mine. I taught art for a few years and tried to bring every medium into the classroom. Currently, I only work in oils and paint pet portraits, animals, still life, and figures/portraits. Once in awhile I will paint a landscape.

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

About twenty years ago, I purchased a Bob Ross paint kit and moved into oils. I never went back to painting with acrylic. My goal has always been to learn how to paint in realism. I found this was easiest using oils. I also like the opposite look of using a palette knife.

(click to see original image)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

It has been a long time since I have done drawings. Recently I have thought about getting back into creating charcoal drawings.

Who or what inspires you most?

Above all, creation inspires me the most. I love to paint animals with character and people. I think the Lord laughed many times as he created. Every day something catches my eye that I would love to paint. As far as artists go, Bouguereau has been a great inspiration for me. He has been one of many artists I have studied to learn the techniques in painting.

Child Portrait
(click to see original image)

What does procrastination look like for you?

There is always something else to do... a TV series to watch, recipes to try, Pinterest to search. It is always more fulfilling to focus on my work and get a lot done.

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

I try to limit my computer time and stay focused on my work. It is a battle between learning and working. If I am busy all day, I make sure to make time in the evening to paint.

(click to see original image)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Usually, it will be something that I see that inspires me to paint it. My eye is always on the lookout for interesting subjects with a lot of character. I also like to paint visions and dreams. This is an area I plan to do more of in the future. Up until now, I have mostly painted people and animals. I really enjoy painting still life and plan to set up an area in my home to make it easier to paint them.

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

Before finishing a painting, I always put it away for a day and come back to it the next day to do the final touches. Sometimes walking away from a painting and coming back to it will give you more perspective on improvements that can be made. I like to “turn the lights on” by strengthening the highlights and shadows as I add details. I am always working on more than one painting at a time. I give myself plenty of breaks as I work through the layers.

(click to see original image)

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

I am pretty much a self taught artist. I took a couple of art classes, but most of what I know is from research and practice. I like to study the techniques and the paintings of the old masters. I will always be in the process of learning and improving my techniques.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I am very blessed to have a gift that allows me to paint what God has created. It’s a good feeling to make something for others to enjoy.

Thanks, Elizabeth!

© 2013 Sophie Marine

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