Thursday, June 1, 2017

DPW Spotlight Interview: JoAnne Perez Robinson

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

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

From JoAnne's DPW Gallery:

No scrap of paper has ever been safe around me. I have always had a passion to create art, I am so grateful to be able to live my dream. I find that the beauty in simple everyday things is sometimes overlooked and these are the subjects I am inspired to paint.

I took my first watercolor class in 1994 and have been hooked on painting ever since. I paint in both watercolors and acrylics and I also love to draw and fill my sketchbooks. I have won many awards for my art. The most exciting has been winning first place for the Gilroy Garlic Festival poster contest twice. I also placed second twice.I have been showing and selling my work at fine art fairs since 2008. I enjoy that part of it as it keeps me painting everyday, which is what I love to do.

I have a very supportive husband, Mike, who encourages me to be the best artist I can. I am blessed with two great kids, my son Sam and my daughter Kyle. Life is good.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I had just finished community college, where I had taken many drawing classes but ended up getting a degree in accounting. One of my art instructors told me I should get a dual degree but my husband and I were trying to buy a house and I thought at the time it wasn’t practical. I graduated and got a job in the credit department at a bicycle company and quickly realized I did not belong there. My husband knew I missed my art and suggested my color pencil work would lend itself to watercolors and encouraged me to take a night class. I did and he was right, I fell in love with watercolors and painting.

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

I have loved art ever since I can remember and it was always my dream to be an artist. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the confidence to believe I could accomplish that until my middle thirties. My son was sixteen at the time and my daughter was about to be born so my husband encouraged me to quit my job, be a stay at home mom and also pursue my art. That was in 1996 and the real start of me being serious about making painting my career. I was able to sketch and paint daily, took lots of workshops, did tons of commissions and I was selling my work. I entered local art shows and I won ribbons so I figured I was on the right path.

Then in 2006, I entered and won 1st place in the Gilroy Garlic Festival poster contest. The Garlic festival is a huge deal in my town so I was pretty excited about that. I won 2nd place again for the poster in 2008 and 2010 and another 1st place in 2011. By then, I had made the investment in panels, tent, etc. and was selling my paintings at art and craft fairs, including the Garlic festival. I think the only thing that halted it for a bit was when my dad passed away last year, he was very special and a huge loss.  My dad was really proud of my art career though so I found my way back to the studio pretty quick, it was also very therapeutic. My mother has moved in with me and my husband and I am her full-time caretaker so art festivals are off the table but I have my work in four different shops/galleries and also online so that keeps me very busy. I am lucky to have a very supportive husband and family and my mom is always saying:  “You need to go to your room, go paint”.

Saturday Morning
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

Pencil, colored pencils, watercolors, acrylics, water based oils. My husband bought me an Apple pencil and I’m having fun experimenting with that.

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

What has stuck, pencil for sure, I love to draw and fill up my sketch books. Acrylics, I can make them look like a watercolor, or an oil. I can paint on canvas, board or paper and they dry fast. Unfortunately, watercolor has taken a backseat, mostly because they have to be framed.

Window Seat
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

My acrylics are my preferred medium and I am nowhere near being done exploring with them. I have been painting small paintings for many years now though and lately, I have been going bigger and they are selling which is always nice, so I want to explore painting on larger surfaces. I will always come back to painting small though, it feels good to me to finish a painting in one session. I would love to try my hand at pallet knife painting, silk painting and mosaic art. I want to use my watercolors again, it's such a luminous medium, also water based oils since I don't worry about the longer drying time anymore.

Who or what inspires you most?

Other artists do, I love to look at how another artist sees things and paints, I have so many favorites. I enjoy looking at Daily Paintworks, scrolling through all the art and picking the ones that stand out to me the most.  I have some close friends that are incredible artists, they inspire. I think most of all life inspires me, colors, shapes, light, flowers, nature, animals, people, I love it all!

Flower Boxes
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Well, for me, I procrastinate with everything except art. If I am doing chores and I go by my art studio, I might just have to go in and then I’m gone, I am in my world! So I try to get my chores done and then I can let go when I paint, but chores are definitely what I procrastinate doing. I don't put painting off because I love to do it.

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

The number one thing for me is I treat it like my job. I know that might not fit for some artists, the word “job” sounds a little like drudgery. For me though, in order to keep my art from being on the back-burner, it has to be that way. If it’s my job, then I give it first priority, like I am going to work and punching a time clock. Especially when I was a stay at home mom, and now that I am my mother's caretaker, time can get gobbled up quickly with other things you need to do. I make art a priority by saying this is my job, I have to go to work. That’s how I make sure that there is time for it.

Reaching Out
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I love simple, everyday things like a farmer’s market or kids playing on the beach or things around my house. I take tons of photos wherever I go. Then I go through them and pick the ones I am most excited about painting. I also love to sketch so I will often get my ideas from my sketch book, in fact most of my paintings are sketched and designed there first.

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

I think I keep it fresh by being excited about the subject I am painting.  I also love to paint in a series, so I will paint several paintings and then I’ll think oh this subject would be great in this series too. People have told me that my little paintings tell a story and I just love that. I also like painting things that reflect the season I am in. I have been producing a calendar the past three years "Celebrating the Seasons" and it's fun to put that together. The only time I have felt burned out was when I was doing arts and craft fairs. They are a struggle, it’s kinda like moving, lots of packing and unpacking and then back to the easel after a long weekend so that you have more work for the next show. I love the part where I interact with my collectors so shows were worth it, but they did burn me out at times. I guess I would say for me the technique for not getting burned out was easing up on my shows and keeping the right balance of shops my art is in so I don’t get overwhelmed. I also think getting away from the easel for a bit is good; I tend to look at things with a fresher perspective after a walk or some yoga.

(click to view)

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

That I am capable. That it was right for me to follow my gut and take the path I was passionate about. That the internet has made it possible for me to have my art business and it is continuing to grow and get better.  That all my experiences have led me to this point, each day doing what I love to do.

What makes you happiest about your art?

The way people respond to it. I have had some really amazing letters, emails and comments from people who have seen it or purchased it online, at shows or in the galleries and that never gets old. I met my husband in a life drawing class thirty years ago, he loves to joke I was the model! I'm happy that he has been so supportive all these years, always encouraging me. From building shelves in my art studio to helping me at all my shows and telling me we are in this for the long haul. I have also made some really great friends through my art. It also makes me happy that I get to paint the subjects I pick and have people want to own them because it makes them happy too. I love when people tell me they are giving a painting as a gift, that’s very special to me. I think it's a wonderful thing to be able to work each day at something I absolutely love to do.

Thanks, JoAnne!

© 2017 Sophie Marine

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