Thursday, December 20, 2018

DPW Spotlight Interview: Annemiek Haralson

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

From Annemiek's DPW Gallery Page:

Creating something on a blank piece of paper was always irresistible to me while growing up. Over the years I took several workshops and classes, and kept painting on and off. In the past few years I was lucky enough to find great mentors who encouraged me, and I started painting almost daily.

I enjoy painting outdoors, finding that being in the actual environment has helped me feel more connected to the painting. Often these outdoor paintings will lead to a larger studio piece. The natural beauty of the Finger Lakes area in New York provides an endless source of inspiration.

You can find my larger paintings at

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I can’t remember a time I was not sketching or drawing. A few years ago my mom brought over a huge pile of art work I had done as a kid. I had forgotten all about how prolific I was! It showed me I had always had it in me to express my view of the world through art.

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

Many! While in high school I briefly thought about art school, but that little voice in my head was getting in the way, telling me I would never be good enough at it. I went to nursing school instead, which has been a beautiful career. Art kept tugging on me though. A workshop in watercolor long ago made me fall in love with that medium. Between my nursing career, going back to school, and raising kids I took the occasional class or workshop. I painted intermittently. This would go in spurts; sometimes nothing for months, and then I would pick it up again. It was a struggle. Once you take a little break it is like starting all over again each time. I realize now I should have stuck to it, and not gotten discouraged so easily. About four years ago I took a college class in drawing, and completely lost my heart to art. I felt like this is what I was meant to do. My teacher was very encouraging, even said to show my work. I did, and things have just taken off from there.

Full of Wonder
(click to view)

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

How do you define success as an artist?

I have thought a lot about what success means for me as an artist. Success is in the small victories. It is in growing in skills, overcoming hurdles. It is any time I finish a painting that I am reasonably satisfied with. In other ways it is in knowing that people can get an emotional connection to something I put on a blank piece of canvas. The first time somebody told me they cried when they saw my painting I felt like “this is what I am meant to do.” That went straight to my heart, wow!
I once had an open studio where only one person showed up. That could be seen like it was a miserable failure, but I refused to see it like that. The person that came fell in love with a painting, and bought it. It was of a farm where he used to work as a teenager, and he shared stories about this with me. So I considered the day a success.

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

I find that I have to approach making art as something that is on my priority list of things to do. A few years ago I met another artist who became my mentor. At that time she was challenging herself to draw or paint every single day for a year. I thought I would give that a try also, but quickly realized five days a week was a more realistic goal for me. Some days I would draw or paint only fifteen minutes, other days it was hours. I found it easier to make time for art when I set myself this drawing goal.

Snow Cones
(click to view)

I kept it up for a full year, and by then making time had become such second nature that I still continue this practice. A day without art does not feel complete anymore. I have my sketchbook with me a lot, often when I walk the dog, for a quick sketch here or there. I have sketched at airports and in waiting rooms. I have drawn kitchen items while dinner was cooking. I even drew my husband’s hand with an IV in it when he was in the hospital! I mean, it does not always have to be something earth shattering. Some of my sketches are no more than scribbles. Making time for art does not always have to be a whole day in the studio, and not everything has to be beautiful or showable. This approach has really helped me to work art into my daily routine, and I wish I had done this sooner.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with? Which ones have "stuck" and which ones have fallen away? Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

Most of my life I’ve been working in graphite, charcoal, pen and ink, and watercolor. Three years ago I started working in oils, and that has sort of taken over. It is my new love. I’ve tried pastels. Loved that too, but framing not so much. I was introduced to ink washes in my drawing class, and really liked that. I might work in that more. I just visited an exhibit of Whistler’s etchings. Wow, wouldn’t that be nice to learn!

Summer Evening Plein Air
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

I'd rather procrastinate in doing house cleaning than in painting! My biggest procrastination is in setting goals for myself; sitting down and thinking about what I want to accomplish instead of diving headlong into things.

Who or what inspires you most?

I love to look at the old masters, the Hudson River School of Painters, Sargent, or Winslow Homer. I am inspired mostly by nature. Any time I take a walk in the woods I come out with fresh energy and ideas.

Today is a Memory
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

A drive in the country side or a walk in the woods will fill my head with ideas for paintings. I keep a written list of ideas and sketch a lot. I refer to these if I feel like I am stuck on what to paint next. Inevitably an idea for a new painting will form. What also helps me is to think in series. I painted fifty birds for a show this year. Besides really pushing you to paint when you have a deadline, it is good to have a set subject. Although fifty is maybe a bit extreme of a number for a series!

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

I have not encountered burnout in painting yet, but from my nursing career I know how to recognize the signs of burnout. As soon as that happens, it will be time to try something new, maybe try a new medium, a workshop, or any other new challenge.

Across the River I Must Go!
(click to view)

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

Everything! I feel like I have only begun to scratch the surface of what there is to know. I learn from looking at art, books, videos and the occasional workshop. I approach every painting as a learning experience, and feel like I have grown a lot in the past few years. I am learning more about marketing, and recently went to an “Artist as Entrepreneur Boot Camp” by the New York Foundation of the Arts, a three day workshop in everything from marketing, to grant writing, to legal issues. My goal is to keep learning and growing in every aspect.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I really am in my “happy place” when I am working on my art. There are frustrations of course, but when I work through the difficulties I am happy. And it makes me all warm and fuzzy when someone makes an emotional connection with a piece that I have created.

Thanks, Annemieke!

© 2018 Sophie Marine

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