Thursday, October 23, 2014

DPW Spotlight Interview: Suzanne Paddock

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

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

From Suzanne's DPW Gallery page:

Paddock's work focuses on the emotional threads triggered by relationships (intimate and public), memories, irony, loss and death.  She draws upon a variety of muses to create figures and skyscapes to convey real and fictional conversations.  While much of her work has been described as evocative and emotional, a lighter, more whimsical side can be seen especially in her animal portraits. (click to view gallery)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

First, thank you for selecting me for this interview.  Interest in my work and some of the things it entails is greatly appreciated.

I started painting as a teenager in art classes in high school.  Serious studies began when I majored in drawing and painting in college.  Oils attracted me because I felt a kind of endurance was needed to really understand and apply them successfully.  I knew they would take years to learn about and that was exciting.  It still is.

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

I have had my share of stops and starts in my career as an artist.  There was even a short, difficult time in my life when I did not paint at all.  Ironically, creativity is a discipline and each one of us makes a conscious decision to pursue it and to commit to it.

El Presidente
(click to see original image)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

Besides oil and graphite, past medium experimentation includes charcoal, pen and ink, acrylic, and many years ago I briefly worked with Photoshop and Illustrator.  Right now I am exploring chalk pastels. I am not sure what to make of them just yet.  Genre experimentation includes expressionism, realism, surrealism, illustration, and very experimental abstract.

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

Oil painting has become my focus and I work in an expressive narrative manner.  I do feel I am finally learning an appreciation for abstract, but I do not feel compelled to create in that way.

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I am looking forward to the chalk pastels. In the back of my mind is a little voice that keeps asking with glee, "What to do? What to do?"

Angel Pixie
(click to see original image)

Who or what inspires you most?

My inspiration has two main sources.  As far as technique, I am inspired by natural light.  It is something to puzzle over and contemplate again and again.  It creates color in the most amazing way and I am very aware of light when I am working.  Secondly, as far as subject matter, I am inspired by our uniquely human condition.  It is interesting to me that culture and society can create such tremendous differences between people and I am intrigued with creating visual narratives which instead show our universal connections.  The more evocative works reflect ruminations on loss, memory, and death.  The whimsical pieces speak to love, harmony, and humor.

What does procrastination look like for you?


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

I don't make the time for my art; I take the time. It just needs to be done.

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

My work is generally a response or a connection I have found to an event, observation, conversation, or even an occasional dream.  I enjoy visual narrative and find myself recording in a visual way all the time.  So the idea for the actual image that I paint is created in my mind as my answer to whatever has caught my attention.  Sometimes it is very personal, and sometimes it is very humorous.  I feel art is communication. Why do we speak? How do we decide what to talk about and what words to use?

Stones on the Shore Block Island, RI
(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 think my difficulty with focusing inadvertently keep my work fresh.  What some have called innovative, I would say is really just a natural restlessness.  I have different veins of thought I tapped into and they are extreme.  Going from one to the other helps avoid burn out.  A major way to stay engaging, I find, is to look at other people's art and be active in the local arts community.  It is another aspect of your career, and it keeps you in that creative zone as you interact with other artistic and refreshingly like-minded people.  Being able to talk to someone who completely understands when you freak out about a certain shade of blue, or you chatter on about textured paper is not only healthy for the creative psyche, it can feel life affirming. I can become very isolated in my studio and so sharing with other artists is very important.

Pillow Fight
(click to see original image)

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

Right now I am learning about strategy and commitment.  I am learning about which of my paintings make the strongest connections and why. I am involved in a couple of painting series that are pushing my ability to commit and endure in order to complete them.

Also too, as we all know, a career as an artist is so much more than creating works of art.  The tenacity, courage and confidence every artist has when in their studio can be applied to these other important aspects and I am steeped in figuring out that as well.  It should make for some great paintings.

(click to see original image)

What makes you happiest about your art?

What makes me happiest about my art is a responding viewer.  It does not matter if they love it or hate it; to have any reaction at all means I have made a connection.  A place for sharing and conversation has been created.

Thanks, Suzanne!

© 2014 Sophie Catalina Marine Cruse

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