Thursday, March 20, 2014

DPW Spotlight Interview: Janet Graham

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

To enter to win Janet's painting, "Blue Tit" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Janet's DPW Gallery page:

Hello and welcome to my gallery. I am an artist based in Brisbane, Australia.

My journey into the world of art began in 2002 after I had this underlying desire to create art. Deep down I have always wanted to paint and draw - even as a child, I used to love drawing animals.

I have dabbled in quite a few mediums over the years, but my favorite mediums are oils, acrylics and pencil (graphite). I don’t think I will ever settle on just one medium as each medium has its own unique characteristics that suits different subjects. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

Deep down, I have always wanted to paint and draw. Even as a child, I used to love drawing animals but I never pursued art past primary school. It was only in 2002, when I had this underlying desire to create art, that I enrolled in a six weeks drawing course and my journey into the world of art began. Although I did a few art courses between 2003 and 2006, it wasn’t until 2007 that I found a regular art class to attend and realized that art was what I was meant to be doing.

Blue Tit
(click to see original image)

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

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

I would say I only seriously started pursuing art as a career in 2012. I don’t plan on stopping any time soon.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I have experimented with quite a few mediums over the years: pencil, pastels, watercolors, gouache, oils, acrylics, colored pencil and ink. As for genres, I have painted wildlife, landscapes, seascapes, still lifes, and I have even done a few pencil portraits.

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

Acrylics, oils and pencils are still my favorite mediums. Lately, I have been playing around with watercolors, which I haven’t touched in years. Pastels have fallen away - mainly because of the dust generated from them as well as the difficulty in sharpening pastel pencils for the finer fur details. It is so much easier to paint fur and feathers with the pointed tip of a brush.

Painting wildlife is still my favorite subject but I also enjoy painting landscapes, seascapes and still lifes.

(click to see original image)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I am having fun exploring watercolor again. It is funny how I seem to have come full circle. I first started out painting with watercolors, but got very frustrated with the medium and decided to try others. I’m enjoying the freedom that watercolors offer and it is much more fun exploring the medium now that I have so much more experience.

I also want to paint more oil seascapes this year, as I have always been fascinated by the sea and the sea is literally a fifteen minute drive away from me.

Who or what inspires you most?

I would say nature/wildlife inspires me the most and is what I love painting.

European Eagle Owl
(click to see original image)

What does procrastination look like for you?

I wouldn’t say it is so much procrastination, but more having to make a decision on what to paint first. I usually have quite a few paintings planned in advance. I find I sometimes delay starting a new painting as I can’t always decide which one to start first.

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

I am working at making art my career, so I have set a goal of painting a certain number of paintings each week. It doesn’t always work out as planned due to the administration side of running my own business which can take up a fair chunk of my time. My best time to paint is during the day so I try to leave most of the administration tasks to the evening.

Leopard Cub
(click to see original image)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I paint a lot of wildlife and I would love to say that I always work from my own reference photos but that is just not practical. When I can, I use my own references but, for the most part, I rely on some very generous photographers that allow artists to use their photos as reference and I am exceedingly grateful to them. I still will only paint what I am drawn to, so I can spend hours in the evening surfing the internet for reference photos that I am allowed to use. I literally have hundreds of reference photos that I can draw upon so I am never short of ideas for paintings.

For the landscapes/seascapes that I do, I also use reference photos but I use a lot more artistic license – I will change things around, combine different elements from different reference photos and will even change the season. I love painting spring and autumn – they are so much more colorful to paint.

As for still lifes, I like to work from my own set ups, but I just don’t have enough hours in the day. They have been put on the back burner for now.

How Cute Am I
(click to see original image)

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

It is bit hard to explain, but unless I feel a connection to what I am painting it just does not work and I struggle to complete the painting. So, I have learnt to paint only what I am drawn to and that connection is then reflected in the final painting.

As to avoiding burn out, I paint a variety of subject matters and use a few different mediums which keeps things interesting. When I feel myself getting tired of painting detail, I will swap to watercolours and paint a looser watercolour landscape, or I will paint a landscape or seascape in acrylic or oils. After a few landscapes, I am ready to go back to painting detail and can’t wait to start my next wildlife painting.

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

Everything - I don’t think I will ever stop learning as there is so much to learn. I just wish there were more hours in the day.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I love to paint and I am happiest when I am painting so I am really grateful to be able to pursue a career that I love.

Thanks, Janet!

© 2014 Sophie Catalina Marine

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