Thursday, July 3, 2014

DPW Spotlight Interview: Marla Baggetta

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

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

From Marla's DPW Gallery page:

"I've been a painter my whole life! There is really nothing I'd rather be doing than painting. I marvel at how challenging it can be and how humbling, but every now and again, something really special happens and those are the moments that seem to make me go back for more!"

A prolific painter and teacher, Marla's artwork and workshops have been nationally sought after and represented throughout the country for over 25 years. Contributing to many art publications such as Pastel Journal, she is a signature PSA member and an IAPS Master Circle recipient. Professionally, Marla is well-known for her 100 Variation Series.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I first started drawing and painting as a little girl. I copied one of those cartoons in a T.V. Guide. My mom saw it and realized that I could draw. From then on she made sure I had “real” art supplies which we found in a kind of kiosk at a local hardware store! I loved drawing animals and started using Conte’ pencils. I kept drawing and painting and eventually applied to art school. I was fortunate to get a great academic art education at Art Center College of Design. I graduated from the illustration program there and worked as an illustrator for about 15 years before beginning to do some landscape painting in between the commercial work. That quickly took off and I had the pleasure of being able to turn down the very deadline driven, laborious illustration work for the far more creative and satisfying work of the landscape.

A Touch of Blue
(click to see original image)

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

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

Oh, yes! I had a son who was extremely premature. I spent all my time during the first five or six years taking care of him. He’s twenty-four now and a great person! He has a brother who is twenty-one who is also a great person!

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I love to experiment and often have two or three easel set-ups with different media. I think I’ve experimented with everything! I am not a big watercolor person, though I use it for underpainting occasionally. I haven’t done any sculpture, although I’d like to.

Luscher Farm
(click to see original image)

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

I love, love, love pastels and oils. Acrylics are great fun and wonderful to experiment with. I don’t do too much drawing anymore, but I do carry a sketchbook.

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

Some day I hope I get to try sculpture.

Summer Walk
(click to see original image)

Who or what inspires you most?

I am very inspired by the wonder of the natural world and the divine nature of it. I am also amazed by the artists both contemporary and historical that have stood behind me as I’m working! Dan McCaw, Richard Mckinley, Gerhart Reichter, George Inness, Bonnard, Pissaro, on and on!

What does procrastination look like for you?

Procrastination is my middle name! I love to do it. It’s funny, although I have all the wonderful support and motivation that an artist could possibly hope for, I sometimes find myself preferring to clean the floors or something akin to that, rather than paint. I’ve come to the conclusion that this is a necessary part of the process and speaks to the great resistance we put up when faced with that empty canvas.

I have developed some strategies for myself to overcome this resistance: I make sure that I have all my materials on hand all the time. I make sure I’m comfortable, have food, warmth, etc. I never start the day from scratch. I have several things in progress or at least planned, so when I wake up in the morning, I know where I’m going to head. I make it easy on myself by working in series so I don’t have to figure everything out every time.

Before and After
(click to see original image)

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

Well, some of this I answered in the previous question, but I do think of my painting time as very precious and keep it close, meaning that I value it so much. When I’m really in it, it’s hard to get me to give it up. When it comes to doing the other tasks of my business, I try to move through them as thoroughly as possible, so I don’t get interrupted by them. A friend told me he liked to have something come across his desk only once and then he takes care of it. That has helped me a great deal. Also, being grateful for even the stressful stuff. Those are there for a reason too!

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

For every work you have to start with some “thing", even an abstract! I often take photos, but then move as quickly as possible and as far as possible from any kind of reference. I want to make only a nod to the reference. I’m trying to make a painting, not copy a piece of reference. I do this by doing thumbnails and value studies and working directly from those rather than the photo or scene. I look at work that I admire and for some of my contemporary work like my animals and goddesses, I am responding to the process by starting and building on what happens. Very fun!

A Lazy Tuesday
(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?

I feel like painting is such a challenging and exciting endeavor that one can never completely “learn” about. I do mix it up by painting lots of subjects and with different materials. Most people are familiar with only a small piece of what I do, and that’s totally fine. I don’t do most of the work for any kind of recognition.

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

Not to be worried about the market. Painting is not about the market.

What makes you happiest about your art?

That I still get to do it every day.

Thanks, Marla!

© 2014 Sophie Catalina Marine Cruse

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