Thursday, August 27, 2015

DPW Spotlight Interview: Lorraine Lewitzka

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

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

From Lorraine's DPW Gallery Page:

Music and art are my favourite things. I've been drawing since I was a little tacker, and became a fashion artist at 16, (encouraged by my older arty sisters and married an arty husband) so I love to paint people and faces, catching them in a moment of engagement and personal involvement in their lives, but in fact, as a drawer will have a go at anything, always striving for that elusive factor of "beauty." (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

At sixteen I was fortunate to be employed as a trainee fashion artist in a city store where I ended up illustrating not only fashion, but drawing from life watches, handbags, refrigerators, rings, and all sorts. However, it wasn’t until my children went to school some twenty years later that I started painting for something to do! As my husband was already a successful oil painter, I tried watercolour. We used to put on small exhibitions for friends in our home.

The Last Two Coffees
(click to view)

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

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

I won a travel award  in 1990, specifically for an inexperienced artist who wished to study elsewhere. As a consequence, I had the privilege of workshops with four watercolour artists in Maine after which I took a three week summer school at the Slade London for life painting. Gosh! What can anyone learn in a couple of months? The trip did improve my self-belief and gave me lots of information on which to work when arriving home. My family joined me at the end for a tour of the UK. My husband and I also have a Russian-Chinese friend who has imparted much knowledge and help over the years. I have painted pretty consistently.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

Mostly a figurative painter, I began with portraiture in watercolour and pastel. In the early days, I experimented with still life or anything that could be drawn; boats, buildings, flowers and figures were the main subject. Ten years ago, when oils were the favourite, cafes and my “coffee girls” were received with some success. In recent times, since a low toleration of solvents, I have ventured into acrylics and waterbased oils. I have also done a lot of charcoal, wash and pastel work, mainly figurative, portraits, musicians, dancers, etc.  I enjoy working on toned paper with line, wash and pastel.

Morning News
(click to view)

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

Watercolour is always there... frustratingly alluring! I like to switch mediums and enjoy layering acrylic and painting in oils.

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I still feel I haven’t “found” my language in watercolours so they will always beckon. Being a graphic artist, even for a short time, means I’ve depended on line a lot. The challenge for me has been to express mass, tone and colour... actually, that’s everything! :) Above all, my aim would be for an for an emotional feeling and beauty in an art piece.  I guess that could mean anything!  (I remember standing before a Degas drawing in Boston and bursting into tears. It was so beautiful!) Because I have inherited a massive box of pastels from our now closed art shop, I know I must get into pastels. I also want to paint outdoors more.

Who or what inspires you most?

At the moment, some DPW artists! And also of course, any painters around the late 1800’s; particularly, Degas, Sargent, Manet, Vuillard, Whistler, Sorolla, the English watercolourists, and Brabazon. Brabazon’s ability to capture essence in landscape is totally inspiring.

Playing in the Shallows
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Non-inspiration which is why I joined DPW in the first place, as a discipline and challenge. I’ve always worked most days, but as a respected teacher told me once, if one doesn’t paint from life, one grows stale and doesn’t grow as an artist. I have been guilty over past years of staying in the comforts of the studio too much.

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

Having a starting time and a place to work, and even thinking the night before about the next day’s project. I have also found if I draw lots from photos, a point of interest can occur.

Patiently Waiting
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Looking at what people do has always interested me and noticing their interaction with each other. I also look up art books, have a scrap book of appealing paintings for inspiration and I have a pile of photographic reference which interestingly is often made up of close-ups that seem to suit paintings for this website.

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

Trying a new subject like, recently, cats, offers new challenges both in drawing and interpretation. Painting in series, and watching Youtube artists. It always amazes me, especially with watercolour, which is so technique driven, how someone can come up with a new approach! Teaching a class helps too; it makes one study and prepare!

A Day Out
(click to view)

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

I love Pissarro’s quote in the book “Depths of Glory” by Irving Stone that, “art develops slowly.” (Whew!) Having now painted so long, and realising there is so much more to learn, it can sometimes be a slog, but I know there is nothing else I could do. I feel to go back to basics, especially drawing and painting from life, whatever the subject. It doesn’t matter as it keeps one fresh and emotionally involved and responsive from the heart.

What makes you happiest about your art?

The way you can escape into the studio and the hope for the next painting makes me happy; the lovely people one meets and shares with along the journey, and of course, the occasional piece when you surprise yourself, and wonder how you did it!

Thanks, Lorraine!

© 2015 Sophie Catalina Marine

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