Thursday, January 1, 2015

DPW Spotlight Interview: Megan Schembre

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

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

From Megan's DPW Gallery page:

I love pictures. I think all of us on Daily Paintworks do. I am especially fond of the figure and still lives. I lived in Italy and I still look to the italian painters for inspiration. I took lessons from a professional illustrator several years ago and began to paint in the "all a prima" method. I like its synthesis and immediacy. (click to view bio)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I remember drawing a lot before kindergarten.  My dad worked at a plant and the xeroxes (photocopies) were one-sided. My brothers and I drew on the blank side. I remember thinking drawing was a natural part of the day.

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

I have had some pretty big stops and starts in my life. My parents didn’t think art was a serious subject, so they emphasized math courses and other academic topics.  I majored in English Literature in college and took art classes as a kind of forbidden fruit. I worked in the publishing industry for three years after college.  I took a graphics course at the New School and was discouraged from pursuing design. This bothered me, but I applied to Studio Art Centers International in Florence Italy. I got accepted, to my surprise, and stayed in Italy for the next fifteen years.

Red & Green
(click to see original image)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with? Which ones have "stuck" and which ones have fallen away? 

I began studying drawing first, thinking I needed to draw before learning to paint. This might have been a mistake. When I finally got the courage to pick up oil paints, I had never seriously tried anything like acrylic or watercolor.

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I might someday play with watercolor, now that the idea of color and value doesn’t frighten me to death.

Still Life in Green and Orange
(click to see original image)

Who or what inspires you most?

What inspires me the most is pictures, paintings and drawings that others have done and images of nature. I can’t say music inspires me directly, but it is always present.

What does procrastination look like for you?

Procrastination takes the form of obligations -- obligations to make money, obligations to other people. When I can’t paint for stretches I get anxious and cranky. I’m no longer panic stricken when I can’t paint.  I know the cure is simply to get back to painting.   Once I do--I can usually overcome the despair.

Two Shells
(click to see original image)

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

The techniques I use to make time for my art are simply single-minded insistence and prayer.  I find that talking to other painters is essential.  People who aren’t in the arts often make me feel like wanting to be a painter is the equivalent of walking the plank.

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I get ideas for my paintings from the objects in my studio.  I arrange them most of the time, but there are times when I look at a shelf and I like the chance arrangement. When I lived in Italy, it seemed that every corner, every view was a painting.

Still Life After Cotan
(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?

Sometimes it’s hard, but when I really feel down, I read “Words to Paint By” by the late painter Irwin Greenberg. I tacked his list of 100 rules to my studio wall. I also find that a small painting, done without expectations, also helps me unlock my mind.

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

Right now, I am learning that I want to get back to simple paintings. I love seeing the work of artists I don’t know, new and old.  This inspires me and also makes me evaluate what it is I like and don’t want in my own painting.

Trompe L'oeil Still Life
(click to see original image)

What makes you happiest about your art?

What makes me happiest about my painting is that, sometimes when I sell a painting, I realize that people fall in love with it.  Not always of course, but often enough to make it an important reason to be a painter.

Thanks, Megan!

© 2014 Sophie Catalina Marine

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