Thursday, June 11, 2015

DPW Spotlight Interview: Suzanne Woodward

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

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

From Suzanne's DPW Gallery Page:

I have lived most of my life along the coast of Maine. I love the ocean with its jutting ledges, desolate beaches in winter, crashing waves, and raging storms. All provide a mood to be captured or a story to tell. I am inspired by the natural beauty found "right in my own backyard." I enjoy exploring and translating these the beautiful scenes that are part of my everyday life into paintings. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I've liked drawing ever since I was a kid, but never did much with it until I was a young adult. I did some traveling while taking a break from college and lived in New Orleans for a while. I would go down to Jackson Square everyday and hang out with the artists. I even tried my hand at "face painting" during Mardi Gras and made money doing it. I had a lot of fun and when I got back into school, I switched my major to art. My grades immediately improved because I had found my passion and I was on my way. It's been my true North ever since. 

Marshland in Spring
(click to see original image)

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

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

It hasn't always been on the front burner for me, but I've been able to do it in some capacity along the way. In my 20s, I worked full time and took the occasional night class. In my 30s, I got married and had kids. I had this grand idea that I would "get lots of painting done" while the kids took their naps. Of course, that didn't happen, but still I managed to take workshops and classes which helped me to keep my brushes wet, so to speak. As my kids got older, I found myself with more time and energy freed up for my art. Then I started going on painting retreats along the Maine coast.  In the last five years, I've worked on getting my art out into the community and have had numerous shows in my area. I honestly feel as though I'm just getting started. I'm really excited to see what happens next. 

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I've worked in printmaking, photography, drawing, collage, oil painting and watercolors.

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

I took an oil painting class in college and struggled badly. Nothing I did worked out. I had more immediate success when I took a watercolor class and was much happier with the results. So I spent the next 25 years painting with that medium. I switched to acrylics a few years ago and haven't looked back. I'm getting the color saturation and intensity with acrylics that I just was not able to get with watercolor and I'm having a lot more fun.

The Island Way
(click to see original image)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I want to give oils another chance. I was so frustrated with the medium in college but that was a long time ago and I've learned so much since those days. I think I could actually do something with oils now. 

Who or what inspires you most?

I love the effects of sunlight as it moves over the landscape.  Living in Maine and having access to beautiful scenery along the coast is incredibly motivating to me. I especially resonate with Monhegan Island and make it a point to get out there every summer. I also love the Outer Banks in North Carolina. I've had some great workshop instructors too - Carl Schmalz, Carlton Plummer, Guy Corriero and Don Andrews. Lastly, having a core group of artist friends to paint with has been important to me over the years - it's a lot of fun to gather and paint.  

On the Way to Monhagen
(click to see original image)

What does procrastination look like for you?


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

At first, I carved out time for painting by taking a class. That guaranteed that I would get 3 hours in per week, at the very least. That's when my children were young. As they got into middle school, I declared Wednesday mornings as my painting time in addition to my weekly class. It doesn't sound like much, but I was consistent and produced a lot of paintings when I followed that schedule. Like anything else, it's a matter of making it a habit. Now I paint almost everyday. Joining also made a big difference for me. I don't post every day, but I am painting a lot more because I love uploading my work and getting feedback from other members. I love doing the challenges too. One of my favorites was the "Donut Challenge". I went down to The Cookie Jar and bought my favorite treat - a cream-filled, raspberry turnover. Painting it was fun, but eating it was even better!

Winter Afternoon
(click to see original image)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I enjoy painting on site, but with my schedule, I can't always get outdoors. I always carry a camera and when I see something that looks intriguing, I take a ton of pictures. I take photos almost everyday. Having a lot of reference material available keeps the ideas coming.

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

I love taking workshops and classes. I get so much from watching someone else paint - I study how they apply the paint, how they mix color, how they make brushstrokes, how they "solve problems", what their process is and what their thinking is. Looking through art books is another motivator for me - it gives me a fresh perspective on what's possible.

Manana Island - Noon
(click to see original image)

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

I'm learning to get bolder with color and tackle new subject matter. I aspire to say a lot with a little, but still have a long way to go. Over the past few years I've been learning how to integrate my art into social media outlets. DPW has been instrumental in that department. I love the community here and the support we have. The thought of building a website has always been daunting to me, but having a site on DPW has given me the confidence to move forward online. I've recently created an FB page, a website is in construction (finally!) and I have joined Twitter. 

What makes you happiest about your art?

I love how I feel when I'm involved in a painting. I don't think about anything else. Time slips by and I'm totally engaged. Of course, it doesn't always go smoothly and I'm not always happy with my results, but when I'm successful, it's an incredible feeling. There is really nothing else like it.

Thanks, Suzanne!

© 2015 Sophie Catalina Marine

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