Thursday, January 23, 2014

DPW Spotlight Interview: Kandice Keith

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

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

From Kandice's DPW Gallery page:

Kandice Keith is a contemporary acrylic painter living in Squamish, BC.

Kandice first starting painting with acrylics in 2002, but her passion and appreciation for art began much earlier. Growing up in Winnipeg, Manitoba, she spent much of her childhood at the family cottage where she received the support of a creative extended family. At the age of eighteen, Kandice relocated to the West Coast, but never lost touch with those early influences - the beautiful prairies and a love for creating.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I have a pretty artistic family. I can't remember a time in my life when I wasn't creating one thing or another. Painting was just something I always wanted to try. In 2002, I asked for a painters kit for Christmas and enrolled in a workshop that was suggested to me by the local art supply store.

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

I can't say I have had any breaks. I worry when we go on vacation about how I will manage being away from my studio and not being able to paint. I've had more "blocks" than stops and starts I'd say.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I've always worked in acrylics. I've tried acrylics that mimic oils and I really struggled with them. Fluid and full body acrylics is what I particularly like working with. I tend to use fluid acrylics for my darker or cooler tones, and full body paint for my warmer colours. I'm not sure why.

Every once in a while I feel tempted to try oils. My only reason for this would be the negative judgement I sometimes feel by other artists for using acrylics, and to try something new. I just don't think my patience could handle the slow drying nature of oils, and I'd probably make a bigger mess than what I do with the acrylics.

(click to see original image)

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

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

For the most of my artistic career, I painted using a square/pointillism technique. Gradually, I've unconsciously been dropping the squares, and now I aim for a looser look. For the first 10 years of painting, I also strictly painted landscapes. I think I was too scared to try anything else, but was getting frustrated painting landscapes in my current style. The squares were feeling restrictive, tight and took forever to paint.

In 2011, I decided that if I wanted to improve as an artist, the best way improve would be to try still life. I have seen other artists rapidly improve their skills by painting apples and oranges again and again.

In the spring of 2013, I thought I'd reach even further out of my comfort zone and try painting a hummingbird. Now, I'm painting all sorts of animals/birds and loving it. It brings back happy childhood memories and somehow makes me feel like a kid again. I love the personality and character out of the animals I paint and I can't see myself veering from it anytime soon.

Mr. Big
(click to see original image)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I'm currently working on some owls using a similar composition. I love to be able to explore using different backgrounds and seeing how they compare with their surrounding colours, and the different looks of each bird. I often like to paint the same reference photo over and over again, as I find it has proven to be the best way for me to grow and improve as an artist. I look forward to exploring more animals, different kind of birds, maybe some sea life and hopefully more pet portraits.

Who or what inspires you most?

Family, nature and my surroundings in Squamish, BC. It's not unusual for me to see a bear in my yard, eagles or herons flying above, and I can hear the cows and roosters from the farm next door.

(click to see original image)

What does procrastination look like for you?

I wouldn't say I procrastinate much when it comes to painting, but I often get held up by fear. Fear that the piece is going really well and I might wreck it if I go further. Or fear that I like it and nobody else will, judgement, etc. I usually will hang the partially or almost completed piece up until I get the courage to finish it up. I might take weeks, months or even years to go back to it (if I even go back to it at all).

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

I think I get a bit obsessive with my art and I always make time to paint (often at the sacrifice of other things around my house). Even if I only have a few moments, I might quickly sketch out a piece, prep a canvas, or lay a layer of glaze. Being a busy mom of three, I try and "steal" every moment I can ( I'm fortunate that my studio is just next to my toy room ). I usually paint during nap time, and I will often use a timer while I paint. I find I do my best work when I have to work quickly and stay in the moment.

Blue Feet
(click to see original image)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I never seem to run short of ideas for paintings. I have sticky notes, and reference photos everywhere! Generally, I really try and listen to that inner voice when I think to myself, "I should try and paint a dog." It's amazing where that can lead. I've also been doing a few commissions lately. I feel honoured when someone wants a painting from one of their precious photos, usually of a sentimental subject. I enjoy the challenge of trying to incorporate their preferences, and I've learned a lot from the process.

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

I work hard at trying to push myself out of my comfort zone all the time, either in the business side of things or the actually paintings themselves. When I feel fear about trying something new, I know that I have to try it. I think it's the competitive side of me that keeps me going.

Plus, painting is what I do to avoid burnout in the rest of my life. Painting is what I do to relieve my stress, feel good, and "fill my bucket" as my six-year-old daughter would say. I also find it helps to listen to the most energizing music and dance while I paint; I'm sure I'm quite the sight!

(click to see original image)

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

I feel like I learn both emotionally and skillfully with each piece I paint. I'm trying to focus my attention on growing my art career, so I have to tackle some pretty big emotional fears and confidence issues to try and sell my work. I know that if I want to earn an income from my art, I better get over those issues pretty quickly and get used to stepping out of my comfort zone. As an artist, I feel like I've matured immensely over the past year and I attribute much of that to my painting daily.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I love the feeling I get the day after a successful late night in the studio. It's almost like Christmas morning when I wake up: I get excited, and quickly go check on the pieces from the night before to make sure that they were as good as I remembered. I may be tired, but I feel revived from a night of being in the zone, and a feeling of accomplishment from a piece. That makes me smile.

Thanks, Kandice!

© 2014 Sophie Marine

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