Thursday, August 30, 2018

DPW Spotlight Interview: Renee Robison

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

From Renee's DPW Gallery Page:

Just three years ago, I retired after thirty-six years as a retail buyer. My husband and I have dreamed of extensive travel since the day we met. Somehow, I reached the finish line first. With new time on my hands, I decided to finally take that painting class I daydreamed about since I had taken one of those "paint and sip" classes. As I pushed a swath of paint across the canvas for the first time, my heart sang and my soul said, "YES, this is what you want to do." (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

Several years ago, I took a “paint and sip” class.  Okay, I did have a glass of wine before starting but I could feel the first stroke, across the canvas, right down to the tip of my toes.  Of course, that painting wasn’t great, but it was better than I expected.  Three years later, I was retired with a long “to do” list I was determined to tackle.  But a month into my new life, I took my first real art class, learning to paint in oils.  By week two, I had set up an easel at home and was painting everyday, I was hooked. 

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

Confession, I did take an art class in high school and was turned off when my teacher didn’t like my composition.  Instead of using her words to tell me how to correct the painting, she took the pastel from my hands and started doing it herself.  That was more than forty years ago and it is still a vivid memory, I stopped being interested that day.  I can’t say I would have become a professional artist if I had stayed with the class, but I definitely walked away from an opportunity to explore that avenue.  I shouldn’t complain, retail was a very good career for me, with lots of product development as my creative outlet.  I was blessed to retire at fifty-seven and start the next stage of life, who knew??

Bursting with Color
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with? Which ones have “stuck" and which ones have fallen away?

I started with an oil painting class for the first two years.  I have taken two sessions of watercolor class but I have not spent the time to develop that medium. It is great to take with me on our travels.  I am also working in acrylic these days.  I haven’t found a class to learn the medium so I’m watching online videos and experimenting at home.  It’s very different from oil, but, like oil, it’s also forgiving, just keep painting and you can make it better.

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I’m taking a pastel class at Artisan Expo in Santa Fe next month. 

Fresh From the Florist
(click to view)

Who or what inspires you most?

Before we retired, my husband and I had dreamed of being able to travel for more than a standard two week vacation. He retired a year after me and off we went, ticking off countries from a very long bucket list starting with Italy, Costa Rica, Spain and New Zealand.  Thanks to my handy iPhone and the cloud, I can take thousands of pictures for painting references when I return home. 

Last year, with five other friends, we walked across northern Spain on the Camino de Santiago.  This is a five hundred mile pilgrimage on foot with no cars, buses or trains; carrying everything you need in a backpack.  It was the most amazing experience of my life and it provided thirty-two days of beautiful inspiration. Over the last year, I have painted a series of fifty paintings called “Inspired by the Camino”.  They were just featured in a gallery exhibit during the month of August.

Explosion of Poppies
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

I was not involved in many things outside of work before I retired and had tons of time to paint.  Now, after three years, I’m chairing committees and helping family members.  I have to schedule time to paint just like I schedule meetings and appointments on the calendar.  It’s very easy to get caught up in other things and avoid my everyday practice.  I also must strive to keep my studio (dining room) cleaned and organized, clutter can be a big distraction. 

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

As mentioned above, scheduling the time.  Scheduled classes are another way to get a solid three hours without interruptions. 

Queen Anne's Lace
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

From extensive photos organized by theme, birds, landscapes, country, etc.  I try to get on a theme or style for at least three to five paintings.  I’m also inspired by surroundings and time of the year.  When we are in Florida, I like to paint beach birds and palm trees.  When it’s fall, I like to paint pumpkin scenes. 

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

Classes are a big help, take a class that’s challenges you outside your comfort zone or is different from your regular style.  I especially love “happy accidents” that can lead to something new.  I was recently trying to improve some older frames with gold leaf, that didn’t work at all.  But then I pasted some scraps onto a painting and voila! a new idea was started. 

White Poppy Closeup
(click to view)

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

There are so many mediums and styles to explore, that’s a journey for a lifetime.  This past year, I’ve been working on portraits with my teacher, Kim Cypert Russell.  There is so much to learn in this difficult subject matter.  It’s okay when you paint a stranger from a trip that no one knows, but painting a friend or family member adds a lot of pressure to make it look just like them.  She is teaching us about the planes of the face, the proportions of the face and body and the subtle highlights and reflections you never realized were there. 

What makes you happiest about your art?

Color, give me lots of bright colors.  :)

Thanks, Renee!

© 2018 Sophie Marine

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