Thursday, August 31, 2017

DPW Spotlight Interview: Conny van Leeuwen

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings. To enter to win Conny's painting, "Pink Peonies" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Conny's DPW Gallery:

Conny van Leeuwen is a Dutch artist and is a member of Ars et Studium in the Netherlands. She has studied art in the Netherlands and in Belgium. Her subjects vary, because she loves everything around her.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

When I lived in Belgium, I took an art and antiques course. I got interested in paintings and their stories and also the different genres and kinds of medium. I wanted to try to paint too and be creative. My first attempt was an acrylic painting of tulips. I thought it was terrible, but then my mum saw the painting and she loved it (She definitely would say if it was bad). That’s when I got motivated and painted regularly.

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

Because of my demanding job in the hospitality business, I stopped painting. Then I got divorced and moved back to The Netherlands. Sitting in my new living room with my cats and looking at a very white wall, I thought, "There must be a colorful painting hanging on that wall." I made two and that’s when I started painting again.

Pink Peonies
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I tried acrylics, watercolors and oils. I have different genres, because I like so many styles and want to try them all.

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

The watercolor is not for me. I tried but it is difficult to make corrections when making a mistake. I use it sometimes in my sketchbook because that is for my eyes only and for experiments. I love my oils and that is the medium which works for me. It blends well and mistakes can easily be fixed by wiping it off.

(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I am experimenting with gouache right now. After seeing James Gurney using the gouache, I got motivated to use them. It is drying very fast, so much more different then oils. A big challenge!

Who or what inspires you most?

Very much everything comes to me as an inspiration. Except black and dark things, like horror or evil things. I am a romantic and animal lover. Color makes me happy. Some painters who are my favorites: Henriette Rönner-Knip, Cornelis Raaphorst, Isaac Israëls, Monet, Van Gogh, Renoir and I love the work of Haidee Jo Summers.

Spilled Cherries
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Hours spending on the Internet/Instagram/Pinterest. I know it is time consuming, but it is an addiction. Nowadays, I start painting in the morning and allow myself to Instagram at lunchtime for an hour.

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

Three small paintings a week is what I have to make. That is a commitment to myself and I stick to it (except when I am ill).

Tulips from Amsterdam
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Everyday life. When I look at my cat, when shopping, when I ride my bike, a beautiful flower. There are so many beautiful things in life, we only have to open our eyes and watch.

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

I can’t paint a lot of the same subjects after another. I have to make a variety in subjects, styles and colors. Starting a sketchbook helped me a lot, especially for composition and getting better drawing skills. In the past it had to be perfect from the beginning, which put a lot of stress on me. Now I start mixing my colors and say to myself, “Let’s try and see what happens.”

Sweet Michelle
(click to view)

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

I feel free to do what I want and when I want. No pressure, that’s why I stopped doing commission work.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I am happy when people comment on my work. They don’t have to do that, but they do and it motivates me. Making art has given me a better look at my life and what I want.

Thanks, Conny!

© 2017 Sophie Marine

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