Thursday, March 5, 2015

DPW Spotlight Interview: Jim Bliss

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

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

From Jim's DPW gallery page:

Jim Bliss was formerly a professional illustrator for 30 years, working with clients including Disney, The Wall Street Journal, The National Geographic Society, and hundreds of others. Currently, he is on disability and supplements his income, as much as possible, by selling his art. He often collaborates with his wife, Noma Bliss on paintings, as is the case with numerous works offered for sale here on Daily Paintworks.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

My dad worked as a graphic designer and illustrator for his entire professional life. He encouraged my brothers and I to create art from the time we first began to mumble sounds. Throughout much of my childhood, my dad taught us techniques and introduced us to a variety of mediums and was always encouraging. I learned a lot from watching my dad and competing with my brothers.

Miss Cow
(click to see original image)

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

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

High School was a dry period for me as I was thoroughly confused over just about everything. Later, (after attending Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY for a year as a 'special student') upon returning home when the school year ended, I shocked my dad by telling him that I was no longer interested in art, and wanted to go into construction. Apparently, some of that confusion was still lingering. After that, I got sensible and began my career as an illustrator, which lasted about thirty years.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

There is very little that I have not tried. As an illustrator, I did digital work and airbrush as well as created with many painting techniques using every medium imaginable. I've also done ceramic work.

My Dog
(click to see original image)

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

Most of my work now is executed with a combination of painting techniques using oil, acrylic and pencil. I lost interest in digital work and airbrush as I find them both tedious and lacking in 'feeling'. I'd rather have fun.

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

Any exploration that I do generally comes about spontaneously, as I may discover a new, better way of applying paint or using my brushes to speed up the process or create interesting effects. I also do a lot of experimenting with the way I design faces or figures, whether human or animal.

Dapper Frog
(click to see original image)

Who or what inspires you most?

Most of my inspiration and ideas come from my own brain. I've looked at art my whole life so I'm sure that I have influences though none I can point to specifically. As I work very closely with my artist wife Noma Bliss, I learn much from watching her and have over time learned to loosen up due to her fearless influence. Also, always a source of inspiration is my passionate interest in animal life and the natural world. Most of my work includes animals.

What does procrastination look like for you?

I rarely procrastinate when it come to doing art. If I don't feel like doing something, I'll do it even quicker than if I'm enthused just to get it out of the way.

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

Art has always been the way I have earned my living so the fact is that art is just about all I do. Even through the middle of the sleepless night.

Cat Woman
(click to see original image)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Often, my wife gives me ideas, other times, I use my own brain. My ideas are generally so simple that they do not require much mental exertion.

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

Once again, very often my wife Noma searches around for innovative approaches or techniques and gives them to me. She seems to enjoy doing it, and generally has great suggestions, so I don't mind. Saves me the trouble. As for the imagery that I select, I use my own sensibility to determine an approach. My goal is creating a piece that is always geared toward sell-ability, so I always try to create a visually interesting and pleasing-to-the-eye finished product.

Sir Pug
(click to see original image)

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

I think the thing that pleases me the most about my art at present is that at sixty-one years of age, I am continuing to improve at my drawing and painting skills. I draw and paint much faster than I have in the past and with superior results. My wife's influence has been key, as she is a very intuitive painter and obeys no stultifying rules.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I'm happy because I probably have one of the best jobs that anyone can have. How many people get paid money for simply expressing their joy?

Thanks, Jim!

© 2015 Sophie Catalina Marine

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