Thursday, March 23, 2017

DPW Spotlight Interview: Carmen Beecher

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

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

From Carmen's DPW Gallery:

Carmen worked for the Air Force in Utah, Florida, and the Azores Islands. She has been a secretary (she types really fast), graphic illustrator (finally her perfect job), Quality Assurance Evaluator (that annoying person with a clipboard), and Program Analyst (what they call you when they can't figure out what to call you). During this time, she published comic strips for the Air Force and other publications and was always the go-to person for anything artistic. She supervised a graphics shop and did freelance illustrations. Carmen is now a full-time artist and has ramped it up to being an almost-daily painter. She enjoys the rapid tempo and is inspired by the community of daily painters she has met online. Her work and how she does it is featured in International Artist Magazine, Feb/Mar 2012 issue. (click to view gallery)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

As a child, I was always drawing and dreamed of being an artist. When I was ten, my mother’s last Christmas gift to me was a little easel. I attended an art class along with adult students at the University of Florida when I was twelve years old thanks to my aunt who worked on campus. I acquired my first set of oil paints at fourteen and fell in love with that medium.

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

Yes, when Life intervened! I married and had three children. A military family, we lived many different places, including Bermuda and the Azores Islands. I painted in my spare time, which was not often. During our second tour in the Azores I began working on the base, and that was the start of my long government career. Art was put on the back burner for years, but occasionally I squeezed it in. I did a comic strip that was distributed basewide. When we transferred to Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, I worked in the Graphics Shop—finally, an art job—and I did two weekly comic strips there.

Snowy Farm
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

Oil is my first love, but I have done watercolor, collage, acrylic murals, zentangle, graphite, and pen-and-ink. I have done portraits, seascapes, landscapes, still life, animals; all the usual things.

Which ones have stuck and which ones have fallen away?

The mediums I never tire of are oils, collage, and graphite. I also enjoy making my own little world when I paint a mural. Comic strips in pen and ink are fun too, but they have fallen away since I became a daily painter. They require coming up with a joke and executing a story with a punchline as the climax, plus keeping the artwork expressive though simple. That’s very challenging.

Indian River Lagoon
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I am trying to stay away from any new media, but am open to new techniques. If I chase too many ‘shiny objects’ I get away from serious painting and drawing.

Who or what inspires you most? 

Going to an art museum is the most inspiring thing I can do. For contemporary artists, I love the work of Richard Schmid and Jeremy Lipking, plus too many others to name here. Looking at what God has done with the earth inspires me. My very supportive husband inspires me.

Steve Jobs
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

I’m not much of a procrastinator; I would describe my form of procrastination as “stalling.” Just doing a few too many things in the morning before starting my work, or suddenly having a need to clean up my work area—just a little stalling around. I never miss a deadline.

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

Having enough time is the bane of all artists. I am a morning person, and I get up early and jump in as soon as possible. I have recently started setting alarms to make myself take breaks, because when I am “in the zone” I don’t want to stop, which results in stiff limbs and dry eyes.

(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I sometimes see a scene that strikes me because of its lighting, colors, or composition. Frequently, I see children in poses that beg to be painted. The ideas usually come when they are so obvious I can’t miss them. Some artists can take the most boring scene and paint it beautifully. That is the real mystery for me. I want to learn to do that.

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

I am not one of those people who sit around waiting for inspiration to strike; I’d never get anything done that way. I am very disciplined, and being a daily painter has been a good reinforcement for that. I consider art my job, and I enjoy getting up and going to work. I rarely feel burned out, but taking a good workshop is a great cure for that. I think that one thing that keeps me productive is my painting group. I paint weekly with seven friends, and it is both encouraging and therapeutic. Joining the group was the best thing I ever did for my art.

Little Hikers
(click to view)

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

I am doing black-and-white illustrations right now, and I am reminded that graphite drawing is a beautiful art form.

What makes you happiest about your art?

Two things make me happiest about my art: when I know I have done a successful painting; and when someone else is drawn to it. If a collector tells me that a painting touched them in some way, that makes me very happy. Art is one of those professions where someone saying your work brought them to tears makes you smile!

Thanks, Carmen!

© 2017 Sophie Marine

1 comment:

  1. Yes, I know it's a silo. But having a golden phallic symbol dead center in the painting doesn't seem like the best compositional choice.