Thursday, March 29, 2018

DPW Spotlight Interview: Johnna Schelling

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

From Johnna's DPW Gallery:

Hello! Welcome into my "not quite daily painting" studio, where you'll find fun stuff going on - trying new things, perfecting others, and enjoying life. Embracing the joy in everyday things makes for great memories, happiness and cherished moments. A painting can rekindle those special times, or perhaps be the cornerstone to launch a new one! My greatest desire is to paint more days than not, and share life's joy with others through art. Thanks for joining my journey! (click to view gallery)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

As long as I can remember, I wished I had time to pursue art.  Tried learning on my own for a few years and then in 2008 finally gave myself the gift of professional oil painting lessons.  Met a terrific group of new and experienced artists with one suggesting we start a club.  Like a book club, but for art - complete with homework, challenge paintings, get-togethers to paint, talk art, share dreams, etc.  I was hooked!  The years we spent sharing our love of art were priceless.

What's Next?
(click to view)

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

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

The art club has always been great for encouraging me and keeping art a part of my life despite a challenging, full-time career.

It wasn’t until I met Carol Marine and DPW that things really took off.  To my amazement, Carol added a workshop in January 2013 that I somehow managed to get into.  I couldn’t believe it! What a huge leap for me to attend a week-long workshop, let alone in a different state.  I was nervously excited for six months waiting for it to start.  At the workshop, it was like all the light bulbs went off at the same time. The idea of painting small and fearlessly was precisely what I needed.  Came home completely addicted and got busy starting a blog, setting up a Facebook page and immersing myself in art at long last.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

Oil painting alla prima completely stole my heart and so far, haven’t been lured away by other mediums.  Occasionally, I’ll focus on larger paintings and multiple sessions but tend to get bored with the amount of time involved and the subject matter.  I’ve tried acrylics but we don’t get along well since they dry out so fast.  Then again, it would be great to paint while traveling, so may have to give acrylics another go.

Summer Dreams
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

At some point would like to venture into painting abstracts.  The internet makes everything so much easier to learn, I guess there’s no excuse to not get it on a to-do list and take the plunge.

Who or what inspires you most?

I have long believed that life is about making memories – in good and even not so good times.  It makes us who we are.  So, I want to create simple paintings to remind us of those unique moments, or possibly become the cornerstone to launch a new one.  When someone buys a painting, I feel truly fulfilled that I have made a positive contribution to someone else’s journey.  Lifted someone’s spirit with a bit of happiness.  I love how art has a way of bonding people together no matter our backgrounds, differences or diversity.

Hot and Prickly
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

The hardest part for me is figuring out what to paint and then actually getting started.  I can get lost for hours looking through free photo websites, meandering in the aisles of the grocery store, and of course the myriad of total distractions presented by my computer which is way too close to my easel.  At least I have to walk past the easel to get to the computer...

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

I love challenges and have used the 30 paintings in 30 days as a way to jump start my routine and make sure I focus enough on painting time.  Painting every day is a commitment that I find requires me to schedule other things so there’s enough left for life, research and painting!  When I run out of energy, which happens around day nine, I find selecting the next subject and drawing an outline makes it easier for me to get started the next day.

Pear Pizzazz
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Searching for photos always turns up unexpected ideas.  I particularly like Paint My Photo (  This site has photographers and artists who leverage each other’s talents – sometimes, a painting of a photo will grab my attention and then I get the extra benefit of learning how another artist “sees” and how they approach the subject.

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

Painting objects I’m not familiar with seem to work out way better than I expect.  Actually causes a mini-happy-dance.  I think it is because I go back to the basics and paint what I see, squint more, pay attention, watch the values, etc.   Still life classes and photos are great for this since who knows what will pop up.  One of my favorite recent paintings was of a lobster...  it sold right away, to you guessed it, to a serious memory maker!

Salsa Anyone?
(click to view)

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

If you want to make art, you have to make it a priority, get a schedule or plan in place, and then be ready for it to happen.  Funny it reminds me of my day-job where I was the project manager for several deliveries – I was always telling people if you can plan it, you can deliver it.  I’ve been able to early retire and realize you still need a plan to make things happen!

What makes you happiest about your art?

When a person shares a memory that was triggered by one of my paintings or when they tell me why they “have to have” one.  What a thrill it is that my work delights someone and then we get to share the joy together.  Another surprise has been blogging.  It is interesting to have a journal of my art journey.  Looking back through the entries reminds me of the huge plunge I took in 2013, struggles met head-on, memories made, how far down the path I’ve come and how glad I am to be an artist.

Thanks, Johnna!

© 2018 Sophie Marine

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