Thursday, October 27, 2016

DPW Spotlight Interview: Natasha Ramras

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

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

From Natasha's DPW Gallery:

Natasha Ramras has been interested in art since she was a little child. She has a formal art education, but for a number of years was more focused on raising a family and her career. After learning to draw, sculpt and paint using a variety of mediums, she has chosen oil as her most favorite material. She loves painting water: any water, just about, and is fascinated by reflections. She is trying to paint every day.

Natasha has exhibited her paintings in Delaware and Wisconsin. Now she lives in Portland and paints the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. She loves to travel and finds inspiration everywhere she goes. (click to view gallery)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I finished a four-year art school when I was in high school. We learned the basics of drawing, painting, art history and sculpture among other things. I enjoy the creative process, but did not think this was my life’s calling. I have been working full time in a fairly technical job, mostly with numbers, and over the course of my work career have been drawn to the creative process to keep myself balanced. I painted when my kids were little, and off and on for years. Reading Carol’s book on daily painting, her own success and that of the fellow artists that she has watched over the years have spurred my interest in art again. I was not looking at art as something requiring long periods of “down time coupled with a lot of inspiration”, so I decided to give it a try and it certainly is working for me.

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

Yes, multiple ones over the years. I was lucky enough to get represented by a gallery twenty years ago, but could not keep up with the production requirements. At that time, I truly believed in “getting into the zone and finding inspiration” during my paining sessions. Unfortunately, those moments were rare and far between.

A Dog
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I love all of the mediums with color – watercolor, pastel, oil. I have done a lot of drawing too and like charcoal for its softness, but mostly I enjoy color in my work.

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

I am still trying to decide! I enjoy all three – oils for my ability to control the medium and correct mistakes, watercolor for being uncontrollable and for its transparency and pastel for its brilliant colors. I find my paintings being the brightest in pastel. Each medium has its challenges and rewards and the differences between them keep my interest up.

(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I feel like there is still quite a bit to learn in each of the mediums. Eventually, I would like to learn how to control the watercolor and make it look effortless and uncontrolled at the same time.

Who or what inspires you most?

I absolutely love the work of Alvaro Castagnet, Joseph Zbukvic and Mary Whyte in watercolor. I am inspired by all of the great landscape painters, Charles Palmer, a local northwest artist, Clyde Aspevig, Scott Christensen, Sorolla and great Russian painters, like Repin, Levitan and Aivasovsky.

(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Waiting until 6-7PM to start painting daily, even if I had had the time earlier in the day would be an example. Also, sometimes I take breaks when the work is especially stressful and I feel drained in the evening. I have observed that if I force myself to paint on those days, I love every second of it, get a good product at the end and feel much more refreshed after I paint. Sometimes, making an excuse and not painting is just too easy.

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

I set an expectation that I have to finish the painting before my family can watch TV in the evenings on work days, so I have roped my family to be my “nagging support system” to get me going and not procrastinate.

Lavender Field
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I love painting everything I see. Ideas have never been an issue – I get fascinated with the simplest things and have more ideas than I can put on paper. One of the recent examples includes a painting of a leaf on concrete – I saw it on my way from the office to the car after work that day. The shadow pattern was so interesting that I had to paint it. My challenge to myself was to make that painting glow to represent the low autumn sun.

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

For me, switching between mediums helps to keep me engaged and interested. This is a great way for me to deal with failed paintings too – I just walk away and switch the medium and do something entirely different. I also love painting water—in any medium, of any kind, except brackish. It is very meditative for me to paint water. I am also lucky to live in one of the most beautiful places on Earth, with waterfalls, rivers, lakes, mountains and easy access to the Great Pacific. I think the Pacific Northwest is a landscaper’s heaven! Finding endless water subjects is not very difficult.

Fascination with the Smallest Wonders
(click to view)

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

I am taking classes at the local art college in drawing—both a classical approach to drawing and figure drawing. I really like getting the refresher course in the basics and learning new, sharper skills. I believe solid drawing skills make the foundation for the work with paint that I love so much and sharpen my observation skills. The biggest challenges for myself I set is to try representing the light to make the paintings glow.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I really enjoy the process itself and what it does to my perception of the world. Painting process is very calming and meditative for me. When I paint, I forget about the rest of the world and get to play with colors, what better activity could one ask for? It brings out the child in me. Painting helps me see the world differently, brighter, more rose-colored and beautiful. I look around and am in awe of the beauty I am surrounded with. I want to paint it all, catch the fleeting moment and let everyone else see how beautiful the world is!

Thanks, Natasha!

© 2016 Sophie Marine

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