Thursday, October 16, 2014

DPW Spotlight Interview: Susan Duda

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

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

From Susan's DPW Gallery page:

I am constantly searching for beauty through my eyes and camera lens. Once I have captured the found beauty, then I can share it with you through my brush onto paper or canvas. (I also sell photo prints on my website.)

I have resided most of my life in the Sunshine State on the Gulf Coast as a fine artist and art instructor. I paint in my home studio in oil, acrylic, and watercolor mediums. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

During my childhood, I often enjoyed drawing and painting. When I was in the sixth grade, I saw Dali's "Absence of Time" painting on the cover of a magazine and I decided then that I was going to be an artist when I grew up. My mother was an artist also and she encouraged me with art supplies and my first easel. I was also fortunate to attend a high school that offered a vocational program of commercial art and I participated in three hour daily art classes for two years.

Party Cupcake
(click to see original image)

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

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

I have survived lots of starts and stops during my painting career. For instance, having to work as manager of an art department and only being able to express ideas through directing others on how to do the actual artwork. I also worked as a photographer in photography studios which helped to satisfy my creative desires but left no energy to do any painting on the side. I was an art teacher for many years and during that period my personal art production suffered. I recently retired from instructing and in the first two weeks I produced ten paintings, so you might say I am back in the saddle.

What medium and genres have you experimented with?

I think I have worked in almost every medium throughout my artistic life. I have settled into working in watercolor, acrylic, oil and mixed media. I would say my favorite medium is watercolor and enjoy the challenge of the medium. My main genre is realism and any subject that piques my interest.

Spanish Eyes
(click to see original image)

Which ones have stuck and which ones have fallen away?

Actually, my watercolor painting has taken a backseat at this time because of the cost of mats and framing and I have been concentrating on acrylic or oil on canvas.  I have been involved in many years of alla prima portrait/figurative groups in the past, however, I am not participating in any currently.

Who or what inspires you most?

All of God's creation is a catalyst for my imagination to want to create. But because I live in Florida, I am inspired by the preponderance of it's beautiful landscapes, birds, flowers, sunsets. Still life is also something that inspires me; I enjoy setting up vignettes and photographing them, then painting from the photos. I don't have the space to leave them set up for days or paint quick enough to always work with them from life.

Fish Fry
(click to see original image)

What does procrastination look like for you?

I am the president of Florida's chapter of Procrastinators of America, however we have yet to decide when to have our first meeting.

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

Since I have retired from teaching art, I have tried to devote four hours a day, at least five days a week, to my painting. So far, it's working.

Grace Defined
(click to see original image)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I have thousands of photographs from years of shooting and I set up still life photo shoots at least once a week to add to inventory of photographs to choose from. My fiance is a professional nature photographer and we go out into nature to shoot regularly.

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

I think my photography helps to diversify my mindset and painting. Also, I have a group of artist friends that meet monthly and we have a "Monthly Challenge" that we work on throughout each month. The challenge can be a particular technique, style, genre. In the evenings, instead of spending time watching TV, I watch videos of artist's painting techniques and research the masters' works.

(click to see original image)

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

At this juncture, just learning to use only large brushes and use an economy of brushstrokes more. I am also trying to be less precise about the details in my paintings; trying to let go and let loose.

What makes you happiest about your art?

To me art is about communication, I love that people understand what I am trying to communicate and allow me to share with them through my art.  It's a great joy when someone offers their hard earned money to purchase one of my paintings because it speaks to them. Teaching art used to be my mission, but now "my" painting is my passion and my mission.

Thanks, Susan!

© 2014 Sophie Catalina Marine Cruse

1 comment:

  1. Such beautiful work and such a beautiful person. So inspired! Trish Demasky