Thursday, July 16, 2015

DPW Spotlight Interview: Ann Nemcosky

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

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

From Ann's DPW Gallery Page: 

I gather inspiration from my home in the North Carolina mountains and from my travels to the coast. Although I have worked in a variety of media, over the past few years I have been primarily painting with watercolor.There is something about a sense of place and time that continues to fascinate me. I enjoy creating art that celebrates the light and color of our surroundings captured in a moment of time.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I have always been an artist, always creating things for as long as I can remember. I first started concentrating on painting in college when I switched majors from interior design to fine art after taking a painting class, and I never looked back.

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

Well, life does happen. There have been demanding jobs and family obligations but I have always tried to keep some sort of creative work going. The biggest interruption (yet a most welcomed one) to my painting was the birth of my daughter. I was too busy and having too much fun parenting and enjoying her to spend the kind of time needed to work on painting. Although I did keep sketchbooks going, however sporadically, even in those first few years. When I did work on larger pieces I focused on drawing with graphite. There was no mess to worry about a little one getting into and you can have extended breaks between work sessions and nothing changes with the piece, no worry about paint drying out etc.

(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

My subject matter has stayed pretty much the same over the years. Landscape and still life, subjects from nature are my primary motivation to paint.

While studying art in college I worked mainly in oil. Later on, I began using acrylic as an underpainting for works in oil. I also made woodcut relief prints for quite a long time. That was a nice complement to painting as you need to think about process in an entirely different way. And drawing was always there, with charcoal, pastel, and graphite. As I mentioned above, when my daughter was small, graphite was a convenient media for working. After a while, I started using colored pencils as a way to work color into my drawings.

I really like drawing with colored pencil as it is a translucent media so one can achieve great clarity of color. And as I returned to keeping a sketchbook on a more consistent basis I was mostly using watercolor for my sketches. That evolved to doing finished works with watercolor, which appeals to me in the same way colored pencil does. The translucent nature of the pigment allows the brightness of the paper to help illuminate the artwork.

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

As I mentioned earlier, I enjoy drawing with colored pencil but it is also frustrating because you are basically painting with the point of a pencil. I found I had too many ideas for works I wanted to do and colored pencil just didn’t get me to them fast enough. Occasionally I will get out the oils, or lately acrylics, and tackle a canvas, just to change things up a bit. But for the time being, the challenge of watercolor has the strongest hold on my interest.

However, now that my studio is in our home, some methods like large scale oils or printmaking just aren’t practical. And again, watercolor suits me at this point in time because I have so many ideas that I’d like to explore. Landscape painting is my primary interest, and that has stuck with me since college, even though it wasn’t always well received in academia. I have also always enjoyed painting still life, whether from a set up or found serendipitously.

Flowers at the Farmer's Market
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

With our travels to the coast over the last several years, I have become fascinated with
painting the ocean. This is something I plan to explore, to see just how far I can take that
idea from realism perhaps into abstraction. I see endless possibilities painting water. I
would also like to explore painting with acrylic a bit more thoroughly. There have been
many advances in acrylic paint and mediums since I last really used it for painting.

Who or what inspires you most?

Georgia O’Keeffe was this first artist that truly inspired me with her grand paintings and
quiet determination to paint what interested her instead of what may have been
expected. I also was quite taken early on with the drawings Jim Dine did of everyday
objects. Decades ago, I read Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, which influenced my
thinking about the everyday moments that are so important yet often overlooked. And,
of course, having a child only accentuated that thinking, that it’s those fleeting moments
that need to be celebrated and treasured.

When it comes to painting I respond first to color, light, and the shapes in the landscape. Besides color, I am most interested in the edges, where a field and tree line meet, a hill rises to the sky, or water comes to shore. And living where I do in the mountains of North Carolina, the landscape is stunning and varied. I like to try to catch those fleeting moments when the elements of color, light and shape come together just right. Going to the coast brings an entirely different set of elements, with wide horizons and a watery landscape. I love that I can draw from both environments for subject matter. Of course whatever the subject, it is always about color.

Ocean Dreams
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Because my studio is in our home, my house gets cleaner when I am procrastinating.
Not entirely a bad thing.

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

Routine. Now that my daughter is a teen, it is much easier to predict what my schedule
will look like from day to day. I schedule time each day to work on my art, even if it turns
out to be just an hour, or I am working on marketing or planning, but not actually
painting, just showing up is important.

Market Sunflowers
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Usually it’s when I’m working on one that I get an idea for something else I’d like to try. I keep a sketchbook with as much writing of ideas as there are sketches. I take tons of photos for references. Often I will photograph something because it interests me, yet it may be a year or two later when I am inspired to make a painting of that subject. I can be cooking dinner and fall in love with the way the light is hitting vegetables sitting on the counter, so I try to get a photo before the light or the vegetables are gone.

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

Because I have so many ideas for paintings, I tend to group them into themes. Then I usually rotate what I am working on, from one theme to another. In this way I am not painting a similar subject over and over. And, as I mentioned earlier, sometimes I will use a different media, just to present a new challenge.

Lunch with Ken
(click to view)

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

I find watercolor to be such a challenging media that every piece is a learning experience for me. And it doesn’t always work out! But even the stinkers will teach me something.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I enjoy making art and I love being on this journey. It’s a way to engage in a dialog with my environment, to pay attention, and to stay present in the moment. When I can get the painting I see in my head to become the painting on paper or canvas, only better, then I am satisfied. When something I didn’t plan turns out to be just what a painting needed, then I am delighted.

Thanks, Ann!

© 2015 Sophie Catalina Marine

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