Thursday, June 2, 2016

DPW Spotlight Interview: Heidi Malott

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

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

From Heidi's DPW Gallery:

Hello! I have been driven by art since I can remember. I studied art in college for a couple years. Life got a little tangled and I had to quit school and go to work. That did not deter me. My love for painting would always be a part of my life. A few years later I fell in love with "one of the good ones". We started out with little but we still managed for me to stay home and raise our 4 children which I am still in the thick of doing. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I have enjoyed painting since I entered an art contest in the second grade. I really haven’t stopped drawing and painting since grade school. I attended college to study fine arts. Along came marriage and children. I attended a couple art workshops and had the privilege to plein air paint with a group of local artists. One whom I feel I owe such gratitude to, Dr. Fred Doloresco. For years, I had been painting but really struggling with the techniques of oil and color. I learned more painting en plein air with him than I ever did in the classroom.

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

Definitely, many times!  I am a wife and stay at home mom with four children.  When I was in the trenches of motherhood, painting at a career level was not possible so I put it on the back burner many times.  Creativity was always on my mind and would surface in an occasional commissioned piece, sketching, hand-quilting and many times watercolors with the kids or even sidewalk chalk.

A New Morning
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

In college, I was introduced to watercolor by a wonderfully talented professor.  I also worked with charcoal, pencil, pastels and three dimensional art.  I always put off trying oil as a student, knowing it was an expensive medium and that someday I would be ready. I finally bought some tubes of oil about eighteen years ago and haven’t used anything else since. I started with realism but love expressive impressionism.

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

I work exclusively in oil.   Impressionism has been my ultimate goal.  For years, I worked very detailed and longed to capture the essence and mood of a moment.  When I am inspired by something, I want to draw the viewer into one of my paintings and have them explore and “travel” around the painting and hopefully find some nice “resting” spots, hopefully seeing what inspired me to do so.  If a group of people paint the same scene it is amazing how differently it is interpreted.   This is exciting to me.

Farmer's Market
(click to view)
Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I don’t know if I could ever be done exploring oil.  I am always learning what works and what doesn’t.

Who or what inspires you most? 

I am inspired by John Singer Sargent, Edgar Payne,  John F. Carlson, Robert Henri, Nicolai Fechin, Edward Potthast, Mary Cassatt, Kevin Macpherson,  Peggi Kroll,  Jennifer McChristian, William Wray, I could go on and on.  Plein air painting and alla prima painting.  I love the urgency of capturing a fleeting moment.

Floral Bouquet
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Procrastination happens when I hit the dreaded artist block.  I usually check out other artists' work online.  This can be a good time to clean and organize my studio.  Sometimes I just take a break from painting and resume mundane household things like laundry.  Sometimes you just have to take a break.

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

I am fairly disciplined and very much a creature of habit.  I treat studio time like any job.  I have a certain amount of time carved out and if I don’t get started it won’t get done.  I start early in the morning.  Coffee, breakfast, and exercise help keep me moving forward.

(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

This is the best and worst part of painting!  I am easily distracted by things I want to paint.  I can be driving to the grocery store and notice that the clouds in the sky are amazing.  I can’t tell you how many times I have pulled over to get out and take pictures, even with my phone (best part of a cell phone if you ask me.)  The hard part is when I feel I am in a rut.  I bounce from one subject to another or I get burned out.  That is why you may see four beach scenes that I have painted and then I move on to painting chickens or cows and so on.

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

Oops, I guess I started to answer that in the last question.  Plein air painting and small scale daily painting keep my work fresh.

Patient Partner
(click to view)

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

Hm… this may be due in part to getting older but being content with the process of creating art.  Not feeling anxious about whether a painting turns out or not.  I like being productive and having something to show for my effort but that doesn’t always work out, so I try to be content with the process as a journey.

What makes you happiest about your art? 

Every day that I am able to paint is a gift.  Ten years ago, I started posting paintings online.  I would have never guessed that my little paintings could make a connection with others across the globe.  I am so thrilled when someone says that my artwork touches them in some way, whether it reminds them of their hometown or just makes them happy.

Thanks, Heidi!

© 2016 Sophie Marine

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