Thursday, May 3, 2018

DPW Spotlight Interview: Juli Rodgers

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

From Juli's DPW Gallery:

I live in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a gorgeous place to be an artist. When I was a child growing up in the Midwest, my siblings and I were always immersed in a love and appreciation of nature. That has formed the basis for my artistic endeavors, and some of my favorite subjects to paint are birds, animals (especially horses), and insects. I work mostly in oil and colored pencil.

While I have been involved in some way with art for many years, I have only recently started painting regularly. I was inspired by Carol Marine's book, "Daily Painting", and find the process has given me a remarkable structure for getting my creativity out into the world.

I would like those who view my work to experience an emotional and sensory connection to the incredible beauty of the natural world.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

As a child, I was very interested in making art.  My mother was an artist and was always encouraging my siblings and me in creative projects.  After becoming an adult, I lost my connection to art until the late 1990’s when I contracted a life-threatening illness.  During my recovery, I rediscovered my love of art, and began painting landscapes in pastel and watercolor.

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

I did have stops and starts.  In 2003 I began a series of mandalas (circular repeating images) in colored pencil using elements of nature, such as birds, insects and flowers.  There was an intense and spiritual aspect to this process and when the series was finished, it was difficult for me to move on to another project.  In 2009 I moved from Houston, TX to Santa Fe, NM.   I was so inspired by the landscape, I started painting again in pastel.  After several years came another blocked period.  This seemed to be related to some feelings of overwhelm about how to produce and then market the complex paintings that were in my imagination.  In 2016 I found Carol Marine’s book on daily painting and the idea of small, quick paintings resonated strongly with me as a way to go forward again with my art.

Giant Lemon
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I have worked in watercolor, gouache, pastel, graphite colored pencil, and now in oil.  Besides landscapes I have painted still life, figures studies, portraits and botanical studies. I am fascinated with “nature journaling” but haven’t been able so far to go beyond the concern about ruining a beautiful journal with pages that are not “perfect”.

Which ones have stuck and which ones have fallen away?

I am currently working mainly in colored pencil and oil.  I love pastel painting and hope to get back to that.  I also love the process and effects of watercolor, but now I use it mostly as underpainting for colored pencil.

Mandarin Orange
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I am looking forward to continuing to improve and expand my oil painting skills.  My newest subjects are animals, especially horses.  I live in a somewhat rural area with lots of wildlife – coyotes, bobcats, elk, deer and so many birds.  I want to paint them all!  I am particularly excited about painting horses.  Several years ago I bought one of my own, and in addition to art, he is one of the great joys of my life.   I am also planning to paint landscapes in oil.  The skies, the light and high desert landscape are incredibly beautiful here in New Mexico.

Who or what inspires you most? 

Nature in all its myriad expressions is what inspires me the most.  There are also several artists who I find inspiring - Duane Keiser, who founded the daily painting movement is one.  I admire the incredible horse paintings of Jill Soukup, a Colorado artist.  Albert Handell, is also an inspiration.  He paints beautiful landscapes in pastel and oil.  He is in his eighties and still goes out to paint plein air.

Lemons and Grapes
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you? 

Wow – that’s a difficult topic for me.  It’s too easy for me to give into distractions and also allow others to intrude upon my painting schedule.  There’s also the voice in my head whispering “Painting is too hard”, or “You’ll never be good enough”, and other discouraging comments.

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

I’ve designated certain hours in the afternoon as “painting time”.  Recently I’ve started turning off my phone during this time.  Also, I try to make sure I take care of tasks such as cleaning brushes and palettes outside of these hours.  Finally, I try to remember how much I love painting, and to turn down the volume on my critical voice.

Blue Jay
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings? 

Ideas for paintings seem to frequently flood my brain.  I try to write them down so that they’re not lost, but it’s sometimes frustrating that many may go unpainted.

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

I try to avoid getting stuck painting only what I know over and over.  I want to move out of my comfort zone and into uncharted territory once I feel some mastery over an idea or technique.  I can’t say this is easy, as it’s always more comfortable to stay with what is familiar, but it’s also exciting to explore the unknown. 

(click to view)

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

I’m finally learning to listen less to my “Inner Critic”, and recognize that producing good art comes with much practice, and producing many “bad” paintings.

What makes you happiest about your art? 

When I’m painting or drawing, I feel I’m in the present moment and really connected to my subject. I’m very happy when I can convey an emotion that captures this feeling of connection.

Thanks, Juli!

© 2018 Sophie Marine

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