Thursday, December 11, 2014

DPW Spotlight Interview: Kat Corrigan

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

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

From Kat's DPW Gallery page:

I am inspired by light and shadow, how color works together to make areas pulse and recede, and the way brush strokes and layers of paint can influence emotional responses to a work. My work is expressionistic, in a realistic manner. I paint in acrylic on black-gessoed masonite or canvas, allowing some of the black to show through; this contrasts against the brightness of the colors in a way that thrills me. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I'd been calling myself an artist for years after college, despite the fact that I usually only painted in the summer at workshops or in spurts for some exhibition, and every time I did that forced effort, it felt feeble and unsupported.  It was always painful to start again.

In 2009, I was on a summer road trip with my parents and my then three-month old son. I had been struggling with how to continue as an artist with this new baby (and I am still incredibly lucky to have stupendous support from the various art groups I participate in!) and I ran into Clair Hartmann in Wilmington, NC at an outdoor art fest.  She had just completed her "100 Dogs in 100 Days" painting project and was showing them.  I was very impressed with her work and with her open and generous personality and thought to myself, "Well hey!  YOU can paint a dog a day for 100 days too!" and then reality struck and I realized that a hundred days is longer than three months, which is more than the summer vacation from my teaching job that I allotted to myself to paint these paintings.

It really was meeting Clair and starting a blog for my "30 Dogs in 30 Days" Projects that kickstarted my career!

(click to see original image)

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

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

I am an art teacher and an artist, and for a long time the "teacher" part took precedence over the "artist" part.  I recently joined a faculty at a school which highly appreciates the ARTIST part of my life, and I can honestly say that the "artist" part is now at the forefront of my personal label.  And I know it sounds like a cliche because I meet tons of people who say, "I want to paint more, I really do! But I am too busy!" but you have to make time for it!

The entire Daily Painting Movement has changed my life.  It doesn't take a lot of time to paint, especially when you are doing it every day.  It's like you are just continuing where you left off, instead of having to remember what you learned last year and relearning it!  I have been committed to painting (just about) every day since 2009, and it is that commitment that makes the painting easier.  I went through a mentoring program from 2007 to 2009 and that also was a wonderful kick-in-the-pants for me in the sense of having to meet with my mentor every month and report on what I'd accomplished.  A blog continues to act as that exterior motivation for me.  You have to figure out what it is that will keep you going!

Parkway Evening Drive, Winter
(click to see original image)

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I have worked in oils and use Golden Heavy Body Acrylics now.  I love painting on black gessoed panel because I get to create the light from the darkness, and I paint on panel because I tend to be a bit rough on canvas.  Lately I've been playing with pastels and chalk along with the acrylic and I like the effect but have a lot to learn.  I don't like the temporariness of pastel, however, and am looking for ways to fix it more permanently.

I have been fortunate to have a hugely eclectic art life, in that my world of art includes local puppet and mask theater (Barebones and Heart of the Beast), Art Car Parade, Art Shanties, a women's stilting cooperative (Chicks-On-Sticks) and being married to a sculptor and puppet maker.  Mind you, these are large scale cardboard puppets for pageants and parades, not sock puppets.  And it is these communities that have kept me sane and creative.

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I am working towards a better understanding of how to paint humans.  I love animals so much and have studied them since an introverted, bookish child. I am now loving my current human companions so much I have to paint them as well.  But not other people's humans, just yet!  I am also playing with pastel and chalk in my paintings, mostly in landscapes at the moment.  I love the colors and the blending but not the transitory nebulous quality.  It rubs off too easily.  So I am exploring options.

Bear Chuckle
(click to see original image)

Who or what inspires you most?

Light and dark catches my eye.  There are lakes I drive past on my daily drive and I use my iPhone to snap random photos out the window without looking.  These are SO fun to go through later and find the gems that I want to paint!  I know the ones that will work when I see them - that goes for the goats at the zoo as well.  I take tons of photos of animals when I come across them, especially animals that let you get close!  Then, I look through the photos later and find the love!

I am also so inspired by artists I meet and artists who have passed on.  I go to our local art museums as often as I can, and hover and rest in the presence of those pieces that vibrate with me.  I remember seeing Helen Frankenthaler's work at the National Gallery and tears rushing to my eyes.  And Van Gogh's crabs in London - same reaction.

I was a guard at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts for several years and I know that was one of the best art educations I received!  Just living with art for eight hours a day, if you are open, will teach you so much.

March 4, Carlos
(click to see original image)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Getting up and fussing with something else while trying to paint, but I am at a point now where I recognize it and am able to redirect myself gently with some reassurances.  We all have an internal critic and that is often what causes me to procrastinate - when I am feeling stiffness and resistance inside because I am struggling with a color or an edge... and I let myself off a bit and then jump back in.

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

I paint daily in the morning before I get involved in other work.  I have a Stay Wet Pallet (fantastic item for daily painters!!!) so all I have to do is pop the top and get started, and I can usually get a small piece done within 45 minutes.  I have a file folder on my desktop where I toss all my "keeper" photos so I can find them easily.

Get the Goat
(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 am fortunate that I love painting people's pets, and that I also love the collaboration of working with humans to paint their pets, and this keeps me painting.  Having commissions also allows me to feel that this is valid work because I am being paid for it.  And I do also allow myself to paint what I love, which lately has been goats in a small format and otters in a larger one.

To keep my head fresh, I teach painting lessons from my studio, and these as SO enjoyable and set me up all over again with energy and enthusiasm because these are adults who are interested and want to learn and talk about art.  Sometimes the classes I teach feel more like therapy!  And I've just started a First Friday Painting Party at my studio to keep the community feel going.   I need people and community.  And I know I work better when I am around people -  I've gone from introvert to exhibitionist!

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

How to be a better teacher, how to get that reflected light, how to keep a sense of humor and love in a sometimes difficult world, how to remain centered and confident in a whirlwind, how to listen to students' questions to better understand how to teach.  I learn more about myself everyday.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I get to play with color all day, and to teach others how to play with it too!

Thanks, Kat!

© 2014 Sophie Catalina Marine Cruse

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