Thursday, May 21, 2015

DPW Spotlight Interview: Joseph Mahon

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

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

From Joseph's DPW Gallery Page:

I am a self taught artist, living in the sunny south east of Ireland. I paint in watercolour and oil, using only artist quality paints, paper and linen. My influences are great artists of the past, Winslow Homer, Andrew Wyeth, Singer Sargent, and others. I love the work of current artists, Trevor Chamberlain, Charles Reid, David Curtis, Kevin Macpherson, to name but a few. I paint in my own style, bold, loose and impressionistic.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I first started painting as a child, like most people I guess. It continued with me through my school years, although I did not have an option of taking art in school. I continued my passion for art, in the form of drawing and watercolour painting. I sought out art books over the years to learn as much as I could. I subscribed to The Artist's Magazine to keep up with trends and contemporary artists. I still buy art books and recently I bought a biography of Andrew Wyeth, titled "A Secret Life". A great read, I must say.

Algarve Beach Evening
(click to see original image)

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

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

My painting career, in reality, has been a private pursuit simply because my career path was in a scientific capacity, but I always painted in my spare time, no matter what. In recent years, I have been able to devote more of my time to full time painting, it's great.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

Watercolour has been the forefront medium for me for many years, but I now paint in oil paint as well. I had work accepted by the Royal Watercolour Society in 1995, which sold straight away. This helped to motivate me to keep with watercolour. The medium of watercolour is wonderful for expressiveness, its fluidity is so unpredictable, which makes it unique. Oil paint is so versatile, that I wish I had used it more over the years, but I hope to make up for that now. I tried acrylic, but I struggle with it, as the colour shifts are too much for me at times, along with the rapid drying times.

My favourite subjects are genre scenes, beach scenes and landscapes. I tend to avoid still life and portraits, but I have done the odd still life, as well as portraits of my family. My style started out quite tight, but loosened as the years have gone by, to an impressionistic style.

Bringing the Flock Home
(click to see original image)

Which ones have "stuck" and which ones have fallen away? Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I want to try cold wax medium in oil paint, as I am greatly interested in textures and impasto. I have been checking out YouTube to see how it's done. Also, I want to get to grips with acrylics despite my difficulties with it. I see enormous possibilities with this medium for me. I am fascinated with juxtaposing of colours, a method employed by the impressionists.

Who or what inspires you most?

My earliest inspiration was seeing a picture of "The Milk Maid" by Vermeer. I was truly bowled over. I loved the colours and the simplicity of the composition. Rembrandt, Constable, Turner and the Impressionists, are also huge influences. I admire the work of Winslow Homer, Trevor Chamberlain, Andrew Wyeth, Singer Sargent and Charles Reid for watercolour. For oil painting Seago, Monet, Kevin Macpherson and a wonderful artist Arthur Maderson.

(click to see original image)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Procrastination for me was not going online soon enough. I always put up an excuse and delayed. I am in a learning curve with all that Facebook, Google and other sites have to offer, with regard to self promotion and ones art it's a full time job.

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

I try to paint every day as a routine, no matter what, it's never a chore. I have my own little studio, where I can leave my work undisturbed and return to it without having to pack up after a painting session. It guarantees that I can pick up where I left off on the previous session.

Figures on the Beach
(click to see original image)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I seek inspiration or subject matter where I can: a visit to a city, a walk, or when I travel. Portugal over a number of years has been a great source of subject matter, as well as my rural locale. Sometimes it's from a film I have seen, a TV show, a magazine or a book. I sort of know the subjects that interest me: colour and figures, landscapes, beach scenes and genre scenes.

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

I change from watercolour to oil painting every so often, just to keep my approach fresh. I always know when I am becoming jaded with one or the other. Watercolour mode it may last weeks, the same with oil painting. It is not possible for me to do both simultaneously, although I have tried.

Woman Sitting on the Beach
(click to see original image)

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

One is never done learning. I think it was Monet who said, one is always learning in art. Each new day I think that today, I will do the perfect painting. So far that has not happened, but I tell myself maybe I will get close.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I feel happiest during the process of painting and when I am challenged or inspired with new ideas. Often an idea or concept for a painting, means as much to me as the finished work. Life has its ups and downs, but art has been consistent for me. When I go to bed at night I usually think about what I am working on at the moment, problem solve if I am having a bit of difficulty with a piece, or think what next?

Thanks, Joseph!

© 2015 Sophie Catalina Marine

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