Thursday, May 5, 2016

DPW Spotlight Interview: Peter Bain

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

To enter to win Peter's painting, "Cow No. 2" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Peter's DPW Gallery:

One of the reasons I love oil painting is because the paint itself is a pleasure to work with...oil paint is thick and buttery, the colors deep and rich, and the scent of linseed oil hovers above my palette while I work. It is wonderful thing to mix a vibrant, glistening color note and smear it across a canvas. The finished, varnished painting glows within its frame, the paint looks as though it is still wet. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

As a kid, I enjoyed making art and I had strong drawing abilities but never pursued it earnestly.  In 2010 (at age forty), I began taking lessons with a fantastic painter, Paul George, from Gloucester, MA.  Paul made painting fun and, more importantly, he made the process understandable and repeatable.

Cow No. 2

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

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

After taking classes on and off for two years, I was able to produce a decent painting once in a while.  But I realized that if I wanted to really become a good a painter, I needed to paint far more often. Painting once or twice a week wasn’t going get me to the next level.  So, in 2013, I committed myself to painting five, six, or seven times a week.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

It’s all been oils for me, I just love the colors and take great pleasure in mixing paint and the feel of applying it to a canvas.  I also keep a moleskine sketchbook with me and fill it with pencil and ink drawings. In terms of genres, I dabble in so many.  I gravitate towards landscapes, figures, and animals.  Truthfully, I am quite shameless about genres… if kittens and puppies are selling, that’s what I’ll paint!

Pt. Lobos
click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I really enjoy plein air painting and look forward to improving my skills.  At this point I euphemistically consider my weekly efforts to be “sketches” or “studies” or “exercises”.  I paint with a couple of friends each Friday at a horse barn in the hills above Silicon Valley.  The scenery is spectacular and it’s always fun to be able to chat and get opinions from your peers while working.  It’s fun being outside and I’ve learned to enjoy the attention from passerby.

I’m also looking forward to returning home to the East Coast and painting New England with more experience and fresh eyes. My family is moving back to Lexington, Massachusetts this summer after two wonderful years in California.

Who or what inspires you most?

The masters in any field inspire me.  People who study and learn their craft and dedicate their lives to becoming exceptional in what they do inspire me.  I’ve just finished David McCullough’s The Wright Brothers, and was inspired by how they conquered the problem of flight not by luck or daring but by hard work, unbounded curiosity, and study… all in the face of public derision and skepticism.

Silence is Golden
click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

After several moves for my wife’s career, I’ve become the “house dad” for our family.  So, procrastination for me can be folding laundry, mowing the lawn… some days I’ll do anything to avoid painting… because I find painting hard work!  It’s like exercising… you’ve got to push yourself to get the most out of it.  But it’s harder than exercise because each painting requires a thousand small decisions and problems to work through.  I also admit to spending hours looking at other artists’ work on DPW or browsing photos for a new painting.

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

Committing myself to a schedule is the best technique to paint everyday. I tell myself; “Peter, you will paint from 9am to 10am every weekday morning.”  Unfortunately, that hour or two often gets shifted twelve hours later in the day!

Two Red Pears
click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

My painting ideas are generally inspired by other artists.  Seeing their work in magazines, on Instagram, and here on DPW is a huge source of inspiration and ideas.  But, I’m also really inspired by the beauty of the world that is outside our doors; just walking my daughters to school, I’m able to come up with dozens of ideas for new paintings.

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

I bump around from genre to genre a lot.  While this is probably not great to build or keep a fan base, it does help me avoid burnout.  Last autumn, I challenged myself to paint thirty dogs in thirty days.  Once I finished, I never wanted to look at the furry beasts again!

Little Pigs
click to view)

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

I like my work best when it is fresh, loose, and “painterly”.  I’m constantly struggling with my tendency to try and work in as many details and hard edges as possible.  I want to be fast, accurate, and capture the essence of the subject.  I’m trying to push myself toward that goal.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I love sharing it with people, I love when a customer emails me to say how happy they are with my painting on their wall, that makes me happy.

Thanks, Peter!

© 2016 Sophie Marine

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