Friday, July 13, 2018

DPW Spotlight Interview: Heather Bennett

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

From Heather's DPW Gallery:

Hello! I'm Heather Hingst Bennett...

Thank you for your interest in my work.

I am an artist with a background in web/graphic design. Most days you will find me at my easel in my home studio located in Omaha, Nebraska.

I consider myself to be a self-taught painter. I painted my first still life on August 27, 2009 (it's really bad). But I kept painting and painting and sold an apple painting for $1 on Ebay and that made me really happy, so I kept painting.

I use spontaneous brushwork and splashes of paint to create my still life paintings.

I hope my paintings look happy and carefree and make you smile.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I loved art classes in middle/high school and my art teacher at that time had a huge influence on me. After high school, I found myself studying graphic design and worked as a graphic designer/web designer and illustrator for many, many years.

I had always wanted to paint still life and I even had a box of treasures that I carried from one home to the next labeled "Still Life Props." I just had no idea how to get started. Then I started noticing the daily painters. They painted simple objects in a small format, sold the paintings on eBay... and I thought maybe I could do that!

I painted my first still life since high school on August 27, 2009. It was rough, but there was something about the process and the possibility of becoming a daily painter that made me keep going.

In January 2010, I had acquired a set of oil paints and I actually felt confident enough about what I was painting to sell the pieces on eBay. I didn't get very much but enough to keep buying the supplies to paint.

Verdant and Sunshiny
(click to view)

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

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

I have had many stops and starts. As of right now, I have painted 493 paintings in the 8 years I have been painting. I so regret not having the focus to just stick to painting. Even just for one year!

Earlier this year I read "The One Thing" by Gary W. Keller and Jay Papason and I'm on a 66 day habit building routine. I simply want to paint every day for 66 days. I'm on day 15 and my first day was with the painting "Weary, Cheeky, and Wise." Things got a little lax on the 4th of July and I didn't actually finish a painting that day, but I did paint.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with? 

The mediums I have experimented with are oil, watercolor, acrylic, encaustic, textile, colored pencil and torn paper collage.

I have experimented creating non-representational art in oil, acrylic, and textiles.

(click to view)

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

For the moment, the oils, watercolor, acrylic, and textiles have stuck.

Along with my painting I create non-representational art quilts. Somehow my non-representational work in oils and acrylic never seem to look finished but they are fun to create.

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring? 

I'm looking forward to exploring plein air painting. I took a class a few years ago, but I'm still really intimidated by the process.

Flowers for Hattie
(click to view)

Who or what inspires you most?

I'm currently combing my two loves, painting florals and reading. My floral paintings are named after passages I find in books I read. I'm calling the series "Posy and Prose." Many times the phrases I collect from the books I read inspire the flowers I paint and how I pose them, or what colors I use, etc.

What does procrastination look like for you? 

On particularly busy days I find it hard to start a painting because I'm afraid I won't have enough time to get "in the zone" to paint.

Frou Frou
(click to view)

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

I need to start painting by 8 am or earlier. The sooner in the morning the better, because I know I'm going to get interrupted. This is really important in the summer when my son is out of school and wants me to drive him places. Next summer he'll be sixteen so it won't be as much of a problem.

Lately I have been keeping track of how long each painting takes. So I can prove to myself, this really won't take you that long -- get painting!

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I have been on a flower painting binge for the past few years. What draws me to flowers is the wide variety of subject matter and colors. My goal is to paint them as simply as I can.

I also love to paint clothes. This stems from my high school days when I wanted to be a fashion illustrator and my first job out college as a garment flats illustrator for Cabela's. So, that's why you see an occasional garment in with the flowers.

click to view

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

I think what has kept my art fresh has been trying new mediums. Currently I feel like my time spent with watercolors has helped me develop my current style in acrylics.

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

For years I tried to emulate the artists I admire. Now I'm learning what works for me and coming up with my own process.

What makes you happiest about your art?

What makes me happiest about my art is sharing it.

Thanks, Heather!

© 2018 Sophie Marine

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