Thursday, June 18, 2015

DPW Spotlight Interview: Alex Warnick

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

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

From Alex's DPW Gallery Page:

Hi! I'm a natural history artist from southern Indiana. Ever since I was a kid I've had the desire to draw and paint nature so that I could bring the "outdoors" inside and surround myself with the things that fascinate me. I graduated with an art degree from Brigham Young University Idaho with an emphasis in scientific illustration, and now I get to spend every day combining two of my favorite things, painting and the natural world! Life is good! (click to view bio)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting:

As early as my memories go, I remember painting and drawing.  I used to sit next to my older brothers as they drew pictures on poster boards for school reports and copy every pencil stroke. Under their tutelage I learned to draw cardinals, giant squid, turtles, etc.  From then on I was always playing artist, cutting out cardboard frames complete with plastic wrap “glass” for my drawings.  The same passion for art continued through high school and into college.  Now I get to play artist for real, and it’s the fulfillment of a childhood dream.

(click to see original image)

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

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

Having recently graduated from college with an art degree, I have no stops under my belt.  Just one exciting start!

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

For years I painted with watercolors and oils.  Only in the past six months have I switched to acrylics, and I love the medium.  In college I began as a landscape painter, switched to figurative painting, and then finally settled on a scientific illustration emphasis.

North American Nuthatches
(click to see original image)

Who or what inspires you most? 

Ever since I was a kid I have been surrounded by people who are fascinated with nature.  I remember my dad transforming a room of our house into a model of the local ecosystem (complete with a fish tank featuring the flora and fauna of a nearby river, dragon fly larva that hatched and flew free in the house, and frogs that found their way into adjacent bedrooms…it was short-lived).  Like my dad I also have a desire to bring nature inside and surround myself with the things that fascinate me, but instead of fish tanks, I use fine art.  Over the years it has become a passion that has transformed into a lifetime pursuit.  That’s why I paint.

What does procrastination look like for you?

Bird watching!

North American Eiders
(click to see original image)

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

For me it’s important to have a system of accountability.  I find it’s helpful for me to have a blog or an Instagram account or Facebook account that features my art.  If for no other reason than it compels me to constantly create new artwork for the sake of those following what I do.  It’s also a wonderful way to receive feedback during the creation process.  Nothing gives me a greater boost of motivation than when I learn someone loves what I’m creating!

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I’m constantly combining different elements in nature, a certain flower or a certain tree with a certain bird, etc. until a light bulb goes off and an idea for a painting is born.  It’s usually a combination of colors that inspires me first.

Wood Duck Hen
(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’m constantly trying to paint something that perfectly expresses the aesthetic message I have to share with the world.  What makes painting exciting is that I don’t fully know what that aesthetic message is yet.  It motivates me to keep experimenting and keep progressing.  Some day I’ll put my paintbrush down at the end of a painting and give myself a high five because I finally did it!

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

Gamut masks, light-fastness in pigments, and painting mediums.

Melospiza Sparrows
(click to see original image)
What makes you happiest about your art?

One time my sister said to me, “You can’t have a Wood Duck.  You just can’t.  But you can paint a Wood Duck.  And then you have one.”  My art is my way to collect all the things I love in nature, and make them mine.  It brings me a lot of happiness to have the ability to do that, and to be able to help all the other people out there who have seen the loveliness of a Wood Duck and just wished they could have one.

Thanks, Alex!

© 2015 Sophie Catalina Marine

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