Thursday, July 28, 2016

DPW Spotlight Interview: Tammie Dickerson

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

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

From Tammie's DPW Gallery:

Tammie strives to capture the moments of life in graphite, oil, acrylic and now watercolor. Painting from life whenever possible, she is constantly transposing the scene before her onto her panels. Born in Kansas City and long time resident of the metropolitan area, this active local Missouri artist has won awards for her poignant portraits as well as her landscape work. She has attained numerous awards for her artwork in regional shows, One and Two Person Exhibitions, and juried competitions. Portraits from her masterful graphite series, "Mother and Child" are in private collections world wide. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

My first art memory is before I was in kindergarten!  I had drawn the vase full of flowers on my mom’s round, colonial table in front of the picture window in our living room.  I still remember the bright, south light as it flooded the room, the warmth of that sunlight on my legs and arms, as I studied that still life, choosing my colors from the crayon box.  The real thrill came when I gave my rendering to my mom - and she went bananas!  She was so excited that I thought, “Wow. I can really do something!”  And, that, was only the beginning of a life-long passion of all things artistic.

Sailing Lake Michigan
(click to view)

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

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

While in junior high and high school, I had to give up art for the select choirs.  Why do they make it one or the other in so many school districts?  I loved the social aspect of choir, so I did not take art again.  Looking back, I think I took it for granted.  I thought everybody could do this, and it was no big deal.  I always kept my hand in it, though.  I stopped painting in oils when the first three of our five children kept dragging their little fingers through my paintings!  I switched to acrylics, and then china paints, but didn’t get back to the oils until ten years ago.

It was very hard to juggle a family of seven and painting.  There were often times when I could not get back to the paints, but they continued to call out to me.  I started plein air painting while all five were still in the house!  Ranging from 18 to 3 years old, I was finally able to paint in spurts, taking the youngest ones with me when painting locally.  This has become easier as they have grown more independent.  My husband has been very supportive, picking up the slack, so I could get out and paint in the field. Teaching painting classes and workshops, helps to keep me in the paint when not in the field.

Roses in the Rain
click to view)

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

Oh my, maybe too many to list!  Oils, acrylics, watercolor batik on rice paper, watercolor, soft pastels, oil pastels, Chinese watercolor methods, pen and ink, graphite (perhaps my first real love), encaustics, flower pounding on muslin, china painting (I taught this for many years), pigmented ink and even sculpting!  Painting daily gives me such freedom to experiment!  If today’s method isn’t fabulous - I can always try something different tomorrow!  I like to mix it up to keep things fresh.

Which ones have “stuck” and which ones have fallen away?

For plein air, I absolutely love the oils, and sometimes I use acrylics and watercolor in the field.  For studio work, I let the whim take me where it will.  I started pen and ink just this January, and I have found a new love!  Graphite portraiture will always be my soul soothing medium, and oils, acrylics and watercolors are constant companions at my studio easel.  I jump into the watercolor batiks on rice paper every so often, and I love how uncontrollable they are!  The mediums that linger in the background for me are the pastels.  I never did get a good hold on the oil pastels, and because of the dusty nature of the soft pastels, I tend to avoid them as a health hazard - though I adore paintings done in this media.

Light in the Valley
click to view)

Who or what inspires you most?

For me, it is the beauty that surrounds me every day.  Starting with the first light I see spreading in from the east to the last light setting in the west, I see paintings everywhere!  I am so fortunate to live in the country where there is an amazing view in all directions.  The real challenge is to focus on just one painting, and to juggle that with my very busy schedule!

What does procrastination look like for you?

Like so many other women, I have always felt that my many chores had to be complete, before I could lift a brush.  Some days are so very full, that my first opportunity to paint does not come until late at night, when the rest of the house has gone to sleep.  I often trade sleep for painting!

Sweet Baby
click to view)

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

In January 2013, I answered a challenge from Leslie Saeta to paint daily for 30 days.  That simple, seemingly impossible challenge started me on a daily painting adventure that has not stopped.  That was nearly 1300 days ago.  I have finished a painting every day, through times of my dad being hospitalized due to grave illness, the marriage of our oldest son, and birth of one of the grandbabies who was in the NICU for some time.  So, when I feel like not painting, I just remember the really challenging times that I have been able to paint through, and somehow,  I just can't miss a day, simply because “I don’t feel like it”!  Starting that challenge made me accountable in a way I never imagined, and I have experienced so much growth because of it.

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

There are more things that I want to paint, than I will ever be able to paint.  Everywhere I look, is a painting.  I am especially inspired by all things living. Often, even the hues of inanimate objects call out to me as well.  Any subject that stirs my soul is a painting, just waiting drop off my brush.

Grazing at Green Dirt Farm
(click to view)

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

Lately, the way warm and cool colors play together in the landscape is drawing my focus.  I am spending more time looking at the subtle color shifts on land and in the skies, ever on a journey towards perfect expression.

What makes you happiest about your art?

Just picking up a brush, pulling in through that thick, buttery paint, and letting a painting evolve.  The simple, tactile act of painting is sheer joy.

Thanks, Tammie!

© 2016 Sophie Marine

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