Thursday, January 11, 2018

DPW Spotlight Interview: Jacqueline Davis

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

From Jacqueline's DPW Gallery:

Originally from England, I have also lived in California and now reside in New York state. I'm influenced by old architecture, vintage glass, ceramics and all things retro.

I have spent time working variously in graphic design, ceramics and teaching!

My most recent love is oil painting. I have studied still life with Karen O'Neil; plein air painting with Randall Sexton; and taken workshops with Leslie Saeta.

Thank you for taking a look.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

Of course I drew and painted at school, but a career in fine art just never seemed something I could practically consider. However, after high school I somehow immediately landed a job as a graphic designer. I stayed doing that for three years, but feeling the need for something more fulfilling - and deciding I needed some proper qualifications, went back to college.

At the college I attended, we were never introduced to oil paint - I think it was probably something to do with the cost. I did love oil pastels, which were my favorite medium.

I started dabbling in oil paint after we moved to America (initially California) from the UK, six years ago. Initially I was just teaching myself and not getting very far. I really got into painting properly after we moved to the east coast. I started taking some workshops at the Art Students League of New York. A really good teacher can help to open up the possibilities of what oil paint can do. After that I was hooked.

Three Odd Bottle Buddies
(click to view)

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

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

Yes! I stopped for many years! After college and gaining a degree, I trained as a teacher - I taught a subject called Design and Technology in the UK which for my part was predominantly graphic design and drawing, so while I didn't paint, I continued to draw pretty much constantly.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

At art college we experimented with pretty much everything; pastel and oil pastel, watercolor, acrylics, gouache, photography, ceramics, textiles! Everything except oil paint!

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

Interesting question. After my first child was born, and I was looking for a creative outlet, I took up ceramics again at adult school. Actually, I ended up buying a little paint-your-own-pottery business from another mother, who was done with it. It fell into my lap almost by chance. So I did that for three years. I also painted and sold my own pottery, inspired at the time by my seaside home in the south of England. I sold the business on when we moved to the US.

I have a little play with watercolor now and again, more as a compliment to pen line drawings.

Misbehaving Tulips

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

For the moment I'm happy staying with oil paint. 

My comfort zone is still life but I dabbled a fair bit with plein-air last year, taking some plein-air workshops: also I was so, so fortunate to be invited on a painting retreat with a group of the most awesome people you can imagine. I will be forever grateful for that. Plein-air is such a different discipline from still life I think. It's almost like learning everything again, from scratch!

I hope to take some more workshops with artists I admire. There's so much to learn about painting in oils and I'm definitely still developing as an artist.

Who or what inspires you most?

It's a strange thing - I have a great love of old ceramics and glass. I'm quite addicted I admit. I'm drawn to vintage pieces that could almost tell a story. So I'm always inspired by what I have in my kitchen cupboards! But, I don't think it's good to just paint what comes easy. I want to challenge myself as well.

Scattered Strawberries and a Painted Bowl

What does procrastination look like for you?

Oh my goodness, I'm the most hopeless procrastinator, in that I think "I'll just sort this out before I start". So I'm always clearing up the kitchen, doing the laundry or running errands or tasks, and before you know it, it's 2pm already.

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

This January, I set myself a challenge to paint everyday for the month - my goal is to get into a daily habit, so that painting comes first. I'm learning that if I always have to 'clear my desk' first, I'll never paint! I have switched my day around, so that I start painting first thing in the morning. I leave the afternoon to do the other stuff: photography, posting to my blog and facebook, etc. I'm finding so far that it's working well. For one thing, the light in the afternoon is usually better for taking photos of my paintings.

Ready, Steady, Bake

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

For my larger pieces I always have a million ideas for paintings swimming around in my head. They sort of develop and percolate over a long period of time. It's hard to describe, but I know what I want to achieve because I have the composition worked out before I start. Of course what goes on in your head and what appears on the canvas can be two different things!

My DPW paintings tend to be studies to help me with a larger idea that I'm formulating.

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

In terms of 'keeping it fresh', I have this obsession with keeping my colors alive and vibrant. I'm always playing around with the paint and trying different combinations to darken and lighten without muddying them.  My color palette is a constantly evolving thing. I like trying out new colors to see what works.

In general terms though, I think yo should paint what you love, but challenge yourself as well. I think it's important to keep developing, trying new things.

If something is not working, even if the painting is terrible, then you have learned something from that and you can try something different next time.

Stripes, Spots, Spoon and Spatulas

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

I'm a very slow painter. I thought I had wanted to speed up my process but what I'm learning is that speeding up doesn't necessarily achieve the results I want. So I'm learning to accept my own limitations. Maybe it's not about how fast you go, but how you get there that matters!

I have a vision in my mind's eye of what I want to achieve and I know that I have a long, long way to go. I know that the only way to get there is to put in the hours and just keep moving forward.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I'm happiest when I'm in 'the zone' as I call it - everything going on in the world melts away and you can give your painting your full focus and attention. It's really nice to do something for yourself.

Also, on the odd occasion when you 'knock one out of the park', it's very satisfying and you feel like you have achieved something.

I'm incredibly grateful to my husband and children who are always so, so encouraging and supportive.

Thanks, Jacqueline!

© 2018 Sophie Marine

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