Thursday, April 17, 2014

DPW Spotlight Interview: Carol Zirkle

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

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

From Carol's DPW Gallery page:

My passion is all about the sky!!!

There is nothing that demands my attention like a piercing, brilliant sunrise or sunset. The colors are so vibrant and clear. The clouds are pure drama. And, it is all so fleeting!

I love the way a peaceful sky with soft white clouds and bright blue skies can make me feel like everything is right with the world. When the storm clouds give way to the sun, the sense of relief is palpable. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

Art class in grade school was always one of my favorites. In high school, I took a drawing class that I really enjoyed, so I decided to major in Fine Art in college.

After college, I worked in a non-art related corporate job. Fifteen years went by, then one day I picked up a pencil and drew a picture. After showing it to friends at work, one of them wanted me to draw her child. That gave me confidence to do more.

I worked on my drawings in the evenings and on the weekends and began participating in art shows. At one of these shows, a full time artist came into my booth and told me I would have to make the leap to full time. It seemed like a dream but within a couple years, I finally quit my corporate job and moved from Minnesota to Montana to be an artist.

It has been a really good move for me!

(click to see original image)

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

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

Once I made the decision to make painting my career, I have not stopped.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

Regarding mediums, I started with pencil. Pastel paintings were next, because it was a way to learn color while drawing. From there, I have focused on oils. That was more challenging than pastel because there are more parts to it. It has been a fun journey so far.

As far genres, my favorite is skyscapes. Painting landscapes and animals, as well as the occasional person, are fun, but the skies are where my passions lay.

Dragon Dreams
(click to see original image)

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

Pastel and oils have stuck. The color has become a special fascination and these mediums are both great for bold, colorful statements.

The genre that has stuck has been skies. It seems that this muse picked me more than the other way around. At first, it was not an obvious choice. But, if I veer very far from skies, I always come back.

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

Using dyes to paint on silk has been something I have been considering and researching.

Who or what inspires you most?

When I was learning about pastels, Harley Brown's work and book "Harley Brown's Eternal Truths for Every Artist" were very inspiring. I would strongly suggest this book for any new artist!

Half Moon Over the Lane
(click to see original image)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Sometimes I procrastinate if there isn't enough time available for the tasks in front of me. For example, an hour and a half is a good painting session for me. If there is only a half hour available, I tend to find something non-art related to do.

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

Based on the things that happen at my home, I figure that I can fit in an hour and a half session in the morning, and two in the afternoon.

Also, it helps to have everything set up all the time. My studio is set up in an extra room. It is set up so that I can easily switch my materials from oils to pastels. I always try to leave my projects and materials set up for the next day.

(click to see original image)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Montana is known as Big Sky country. When I see a spectacular sky, I grab the camera.

In order to manage the vast number of photos, I identify and keep the best compositions in a separate file on my computer. I also will print a number of them off and keep them in photo albums. I never toss the lesser photos, in case I need more ideas.

When it is time for new painting ideas, I just look through my computer file and photo albums. I love working in sets, so it's just a matter of choosing 4 to 6 photos that look good together.

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

Lately, I have tried a couple ideas.

The first was changing my compositions a little. I took the land out and the remaining sky images were very exciting to me.

The other thing I'm working on is airbrushing with acrylics for my oil under paintings. I learned airbrush years ago and just love it. It works very well for me to get a 3-D feeling for the piece in short order.

Wind Dance
(click to see original image)

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

I'm learning that there is always more to learn. When an idea comes, it's important to research it. If it seems like a good one, time to take action.

What makes you happiest about your art?

When I'm having a show, it is so fun to walk into the gallery and see all the sky paintings together. It is most fun to talk about the paintings with art lovers and sky enthusiasts. That makes me happy!

Thanks, Carol!

© 2014 Sophie Catalina Marine Cruse

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