Thursday, November 30, 2017

DPW Spotlight Interview: Hallie Kohn

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

From Hallie's DPW Gallery:

As artists I think we go through phases... Each phase is a period of learning, meant to teach us something important. Once the skill is "mastered" we have a way of knowing when it's time to move on. That stretching is the most frustrating, but also the most rewarding part of painting for me. The painful growing. It hurts, but is also extremely nurturing for one's spirit. It keeps things fresh and interesting. We each have our own journeys in life, and I count the artistic one as one of my greatest.

Hope you feel inspired too--please enjoy!

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

When I was young, I went and stayed with a treasured family friend. Though she was fairly temperamental, she was also extremely passionate. She was an oil painter and I carried around an image of her painting at her easel for 20+ years. This was quite contradictory to the fact that I never went on to study art.

After going through a tough time in my life, and looking for an outlet, I relayed the memory that had been tucked away in my sub-conscience all those years. My husband encouraged me to try painting myself, and we went out and bought an easel, canvases, and some oil paints that week. It had to be oils, like my muse.

This was almost 15 years ago, and mind you, there was no YouTube and social media was off in the future somewhere. I learned the very basics and started the work by reading and studying books. It was a long learning experience. Oil paints were completely overwhelming in the beginning. It took almost a decade of mixing colors and using mediums to become second nature.

Zinnias in Jar
(click to view)

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

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

There were years when I was pregnant or taking care of my two sons when painting fell to the wayside. Today, hardly a day goes by that I don’t paint. It’s like meditating or even exercising, the more one does it, the better it feels. Being in “the zone” of painting is something I feel completely grateful for.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

For mediums, I’ve experimented with watercolors, gouache, acrylics, oil sticks… Getting out of my comfort zone is my strategy when I feel frustrated or in need of growth; taking a break from oils is a great way to appreciate them more when I come back to them. I’ve also tried different genres for the same reason, going to painting people or scenes, two of my least comfortable areas.

Peonies and Satsuma
(click to view)

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

I continue to bring out random play things for creating, including the arts and crafts bin my boys like! Photography gets me going like nothing else.

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

Mixed media with oil pastels, pencils, paints.

(click to view)

Who or what inspires you most?

Anything can be inspirational to me because I align inspiration with adventure and excitement for life. Going somewhere or doing something new inspires me the most, but it could be a new flower in the garden, or a fruit in season, a new vase, anything.

What does procrastination look like for you?

It looks and feels like stress. In my life I’m always searching for more painting time, so procrastination is rare. If I’m procrastinating, then I probably won’t paint that day, but instead have a day with exercise, yoga, cooking a big dinner, going on a field trip, or something that is more time consuming.

(click to view)

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

Getting started as soon as I can in the morning, after coffee of course! I normally do best if I am able to find my inspiration before I start each day, whether that means finding a good photo, setting up a still life, or going to cut some flowers. If there is too much thinking or planning ahead, then I may not be inspired by that in the moment. One day recently I had planned to paint a small 6x6” grapefruit and I just couldn’t. Instead I painted a 30x30” fox--I had to paint big!

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

That’s the hardest part, especially in the fall and winter because I am a spring/summer person all the way. Normally it’s whatever is around me.

(click to view)

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

To keep things fresh I might try painting with a different brush, on canvas instead of panel, a different size or genre, painting on a colored ground, anything to get out of my comfort zone. To avoid burnout I just try to paint what I love and what excites me.

(click to view)

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

Right now I’d say my growth is more internal. I’m learning about putting myself out there more. There was a time when I didn’t feel ready for certain things, and as I’ve grown and gained confidence I feel more ready for submitting to juried shows or approaching establishments about hanging my work. I’d like to try doing an art booth for the first time.

The most important thing I have learned on my artistic journey is to love and appreciate my own path. It’s important to me to be true to me. With time and perseverance we can all get where we want to go. That’s what is happening in my life every day, I’m slowly and gratefully trying to get where I’m trying to go. Some paintings are flops, but most surprise me.

What makes you happiest about your art?

That I’m doing it. I love the process of painting, the feeling of it.

Thanks, Hallie!

© 2017 Sophie Marine

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