Thursday, December 12, 2019

DPW Spotlight Interview: Rachel Petruccillo

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

From Rachel's DPW Gallery Page:

I'm an artist. It took me a long time to call myself that despite wanting to be an artist for most of my life.

It's not an unusual story among artists, I loved creating art as a child and by the time I was a teenager, it was the only thing I wanted to do with my life.

If only it had been that easy!
(click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I started to paint seriously a few years ago. Although I went to an art college, my major was sculpture so I took only the required painting classes. As a child, my parents were supportive of my interest in making art. My mother brought me to art classes and art museums. I also spent many hours learning about wood working and photography from my father. It was in college when I secretly started wanting to be a painter. Looking back, I realize that much of my sculpture work was practically two-dimensional!

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

For nearly a decade, I made almost no art at all. I moved to New York City straight out of college with seriously grand delusions of becoming a professional artist. The problem was, I had no idea how to make that happen. I didn't have the discipline or tools necessary so I quickly found myself on a completely different path. That path led to a fourteen year career in marketing which provided a lot of opportunities and allowed me to travel the world but there was very little art in my life during those years. Part of the reason I didn't make art for so long was due to some limiting beliefs surrounding inspiration and what it means to be a "real" artist. The past six years since I left my first career have been so life-altering that I started to blog about my return to art. I hope my experience might help other artists realize it isn't too late!

Thrown Thunder
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

When I returned to making art, I started with a pencil. I began drawing bizarre candid portraits from photographs I had taken in my travels. When I decided to start painting a few years later, I needed something I could do on my kitchen counter so I used watercolor. I continued with portraiture and figurative work for a while. As I'm an avid fan of cycling, I've also done a lot of cycling-themed paintings and drawings. More recently, my focus has been landscape and still-life, and I use primarily acrylic and acrylic gouache. I've found that incorporating mixed media such as water-soluble pastels, charcoal pencils and embroidery thread helps me create a more layered surface and highlights elements that are important to me.

Sweets to the Wind
(click to view)

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

I've wanted to paint semi-abstract landscapes ever since college so I believe this will be a theme I'll stay with for a while. Watercolor doesn't appear on my palette too often now but the beauty of water-based media is that it can be used together so I'm sure it will appear in my work from time to time.   

Rising Out of the Mist (Cliffs of Moher)
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

My new obsession is gouache and using watercolor ground on wood panels. Also, this year I attended a demo on yupo (a synthetic paper) by artist Gretchen Warsen and I'm intrigued by the possibilities I've begun to see with some initial pieces.

Who or what inspires you most?

Open spaces inspire me. Whether it is an alpine pasture or low rolling fields, I love broad vistas. The changing light and the way it falls on the landscape captures my attention. I like to look for the place in the landscape where that transition in the atmosphere exists. Perhaps it is the drama of these kind of places that intrigue me. There are so many living artists whose work inspires me as well – although there is no comparison to seeing artwork in person, I do feel fortunate to have access to so much work online.

Slant of Light (County Kerry, Ireland)
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Fourteen years in a marketing career

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

Earlier this year, I started a daily painting practice. I have been making art somewhat regularly for years but my practice was inconsistent. Often I had trouble getting started so I thought a structured daily project would help. My husband suggested painting my cup of coffee every day. I did it religiously every day for more than one hundred days and found that in addition to the daily paintings, I became much more prolific. I've also become very protective of my creative time. It helps that I'm not a very social person, I'm happy to stay in for days on end!

Coffee Painting, Day 22, Cuppadaypainting
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

As I've gravitated to landscape painting recently, I find myself not just admiring nature but wanting to closely observe it so I can try to translate what I see and feel with paint. Sometimes a color combination or even a shadow will stop me in my tracks. I take pictures to help me remember something inspiring I've seen.   

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

A short attention span and the thrill of new materials help me avoid burnout and keep my work fresh! I work on a lot of pieces simultaneously and try new materials often. I also allow myself to change direction if I have lost my enthusiasm for a subject. Art-related podcasts and videos are also great sources of inspiration for me. If I need a creative jolt, I'll listen to or watch one of my favorites.

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

I'm learning how to focus and dig deeper. My focus is on a new series inspired by my travels in Ireland. I want to really delve into how those landscapes feel to me and figure out how to express that in paint.     

Silence to its Edge (Cliffs of Moher, Ireland)
(click to view)

What makes you happiest about your art?

The process of making art is what brings me the most pleasure. I love the solitude of it. I love the time when my mind is clear and I'm just freely creating something. It's so hard to quiet my mind enough to get into that zone but it's the best feeling.

Thanks, Rachel!

© 2019 Sophie Marine

Thursday, December 5, 2019

DPW Spotlight Interview: Diane Van Noord

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

From Diane's DPW Gallery Page:

Wonderfully happy color, color harmony, shape, rhythm, and surface texture are my greatest inspirations for how I paint, and I choose subjects that I can paint with expression that are just right for my inspirations. And of course, using palette knives to paint these inspirations is my "home sweet home" painting tool. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

From the time I was a child, I was considered an artist and encouraged in my creative ways, especially by my father who himself was very creative, introducing me to painting and teaching me to sew, and by my aunt who was an artist and interior designer. The usual childhood art projects filled my life and I always loved to be outdoors as much as possible. I think being outdoors so much is what connected me early on to the landscape. Later on when in college, I studied studio art and some interior design. These gave me good foundations in the basic principles of art.

Even though I always saw myself as an artist and wanted to be a painter, I didn’t seriously pursue painting until my early thirties. My growing young family was my priority, and after my children were all in school, I was able to devote much more of my time to learning to paint well.

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

Once I started painting with professional intentions I painted regularly, attended many workshops with professional artists, was mentored for five years by a professional artist, and began submitting my paintings to juried exhibitions. I also learned to paint plein air, painting in plein air events along with my indoor work.

I painted on the dining room table, setting up and taking down each day. I’ve always said all I need is a 3’ by 5’ space to paint! If you want to paint, you make it work. My dining room beginnings were a sort of daily start and stop. Eventually, I had my own studio space in the house.

The biggest interruption I’ve had as a painter was several years ago beginning about 2008 when I was experiencing challenging family difficulties combined with a terrible economy. It was a struggle to stay on track during the next several years, as I often felt frustrated and personally defeated and in a general state of discouragement because of the difficult financial times. My marketing suffered.

But I never stopped painting, even though I didn’t paint as often. It was mostly out of frustration during those years that I allowed myself to explore a variety of painting styles. I did not realize until later how much those years of frustration where exactly what my art and soul needed emotionally and I learned more about myself as an artist.

And naturally, there are the mini stops and starts that come with the demands of any ordinary life.

Taste of Tropics
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I began my art journey with drawing and watercolor classes. I painted in watercolor for about ten years. Watercolor is such a great teacher for learning to put down a first stroke of great quality paint.  Following watercolor, I learned to paint in acrylics, mixed media, collage, pastels, and oils. Two years ago I began learning how to paint with oil and cold wax. I love it all!

My primary subject is landscape, and I love to paint animals and individual flowers and birds. Over the years, realism, impressionism, expressionism, abstraction, and stylization have been incorporated into my work.

Which ones have “stuck” and which ones have fallen away?

Painting landscapes in oil with palette knives is my “home sweet home”. Oil has been my medium and palette knives have been my method for the last twenty years. The palette knife “fits” me perfectly as I am a very messy painter. I find I’m most genuine with the freedom of a combination of realistic expressionism, impressionism, and some stylization.

Cabbage Farm
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I plan to continue with palette knife oil painting indefinitely and paint with watercolor from time to time. I am very intrigued with abstract realism and would like to explore that using oils and cold wax.

Who or what inspires you most?

Beautiful color has always inspired me, as do shapes, surface textures, good composition, and a sense of rhythm or movement through the picture plane. My favorite subjects are the mountains, fields, and shorelines of the landscape, individual flowers, and animals.

I have studied with many wonderful professional artists in their workshops over the years, and I was mentored for five years by Bill Herring who taught me so much about composition and about being an artist in the marketplace. I especially love the work of Gregory Kondos, Georgia O’Keefe, and Jeanne Dobie, and some contemporary Australian painters because of their gorgeous color choices.

Sweetie Pie
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

When I let myself get discouraged and discount myself through poor self-talk, that notorious critical inner voice, and when I let other things take priority that shouldn’t, is when I can become a procrastinator. Sometimes it is when I am not sure what I want to paint next. I learned long ago about staying with the hard work of “doing what I don’t want to do to become who I do want to become”, and also about engaging the self-discipline of recognizing negative thinking, ridding myself of it with purpose, and then do what I don’t want to do even if I don’t feel like it. We all need heroes. Sometimes we need to be our own hero.

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

I keep my calendar clear of everything unnecessary during the week and try to work in my studio from ten to five every day. In the evening is when I do most of my computer work.

Landscape Sixty Four
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I love the outdoors and take a lot of photos for painting references, or paint plein air. The photos serve as a starting point for helping me understand what I want to say in a painting about the scene, etc.

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

Taking regular short breaks about every ninety minutes when painting is very important for staying fresh. Allowing myself to fail at achieving a successful painting and destroy paintings that aren’t good keeps are powerful teachers. Looking at other artists’ paintings to simply enjoy them and consider what draws me to another's artistic expression helps me see with a fresh eye. I listen to my own artist’s heart by experimenting in some way from time to time. And I regularly pray about my work and my art.

Blueberry Wine
(click to view)

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

That a true artist never sacrifices their gift and their calling because of failure, criticism or discouragement. I am reminding myself daily to always dream big, stay focused, plan ahead, to never give up, to believe in my God given abilities and value as an artist in this crazy big world loaded with visual images. I am learning continually that I really do have an innate and unique way of expressing myself and that I need to remain true to that, whether or not anyone likes what I create. I love being in my studio. It is a home to me, even if there are times when I sit in my chair and do nothing but appreciate the creative space, the possibilities and the hope that fill it, because it is an anchor for me.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I am happiest about my art when someone buys a painting of mine that we both realize was meant to be theirs. It is very meaningful to me as an artist to have satisfied the heart and soul of another person with my art. I am thrilled to sell my paintings to people who love them. I am also very happy when mixing paint and preparing my palette. I love the tactile feel of painting in oil with the palette knife. It can seem a little like sculpting on canvas. It is God’s gift to me that I was called to be an artist and create paintings that are my response to and personal interpretation of his beautiful and magnificent natural world.

Thanks, Diane!


© 2019 Sophie Marine

Thursday, November 28, 2019

DPW Spotlight Interview: John Shave

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

From John's DPW Gallery Page:

John Shave paints in a modern impressionistic style, capturing atmosphere and mood, evocative of a place or a moment in time, such as the pause before dusk or the still calm of morning. John is a member of The Wapping Group of Artists and The East Anglian Marine Artists. In 2013 John won The Society of All Artists Professional Seascape Artist of the Year award and the Caran'd Ache award at the Patchings Art Festival. In previous years John has won The Pro-Arte and The Royal Tallens Award at Patchings.He regularly exhibits at The Mall Galleries London, at The Royal Society of Portrait Painters, The Royal Society of Marine Painters, The Wapping Group and The Royal Society of British Artists. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I first started painting by joining an adult's education painting class. The tutor was very complementary about my work and very encouraging. Which is, of course, one of the main assets of a good tutor and one that I try to bring to my own classes.

When I first started painting I was also holding down a full time job so my painting time was limited to evenings and weekends but this didn’t hold me back for too long. I started selling work and as I did, I cut back my other job until after about five years or so I found myself pretty much painting full time. I loved the idea and loved the regular painting trips I was now going on.

A Touch of Spring
(click to view)

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

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

I haven’t had any stops to my painting career, it seem to be just one upward fun spiral.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I started with watercolour and went to several tutors over a few years until I found the world's ultimate best tutor. He was Leonid Vasin, a refugee from China during the Communist uprising. A beautiful painter and a beautiful person and a fabulous tutor. Not always an easy combination to find. And from there my painting skills improved immensely.

Rocky Coast
(click to view)

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

I have included other mediums in my work. From watercolour to pastel and acrylics and on eventually to oils. I now work mainly in oil. After some time one gains a freedom with the constant use and application of a medium and after this becomes a natural process you can think about things like feeling and emotion in your work and I think that is when the fun really starts.

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

Well that’s an easy question to answer. Everything. I am looking forward to exploring different subjects. At the moment I am running classes on heading towards abstraction, it’s sort of the way my painting is heading and the class seems to be having lots of fun exploring it with me. In the classes we talk about a wide range of subjects, from painting landscape, seascape, animals, farms and farm machinery to portrait and life and still life. We not only talk about composition and tonal contrast but also about areal perspective and colour harmony. And recently, with the abstract realism classes we are drifting into stronger or enhanced colour with an emphasis on complementaries.

Abstract Autumn
(click to view)

Who or what inspires you most?

I am inspired quite often by the people in my classes. Every now an again someone will produce something wonderful and completely different and I find that totally exciting. And to think that I might have had a part to do with it is why I am teaching.

Of course I have lists of other artists I admire, as everyone does and I have the greatest fun and satisfaction exploring how other artists have handled and resolved their own personal problems. And like everyone I use their techniques to enhance my own work in my own way. I also love playing with new colour combinations and looking at other artists' work is also a massive source of inspiration. A chap in my class the other day was trying to figure out a colour for a section of his painting. He is colour blind to red and green and used Sap green and Cerulean blue. Thinking the blue was a red. The combination in his painting was fabulous. I have yet to try this myself. But I most definitely will.

All About Colour
(click to view)

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

I don’t even think about it. The classes keep me on my toes, thinking of new subjects constantly. When I go out painting I am thinking of the beauty that surrounds me and away I go. Sometimes successfully and sometimes not so much. Just like everyone else.

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

Over several decades the things I have learnt come, to a great degree, from my experience dealing with the people in my classes. I follow them in their trials and tribulations and occasionally their joy in producing wonderful paintings. It’s exhilarating and reminds me constantly what my artistic life has been. I love teaching. I get the greatest pleasure when someone has that revelation moment when things pull together and start to work.

Norfolk Landscape
(click to view)

What makes you happiest about your art?

What makes me happiest about painting is when I produce something that moves my soul. Which, of course, is few and far between. Just as it should be. But we still strive to get better.

Thanks, John!

© 2019 Sophie Marine

Thursday, November 21, 2019

DPW Spotlight Interview: Nikolina Primorac

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

From Nikolina's DPW Gallery Page:

My name is Nikolina, I'm a 25-year-old self-taught artist. I work primarily in oils, with animals as my favorite subject to paint. I like to use different materials, such as wood slices and blocks, silver and gold foils. I also enjoy using watercolors and graphite pencils in my sketchbooks, often creating a study sketch before painting or just exploring new ideas and styles. I'm grateful to have my work in private homes across the United States, England, Ireland, Cyprus, Croatia, and Netherland. You can contact me if you have any questions about my paintings or process, I would love to hear from you!

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I always loved to draw as a child but growing up I put it aside even though the thought of being an artist never left my mind. Coming from a small country affected by the war for most people, including my family, art was considered just a hobby and not something worth pursuing.  Five years ago, I decided to learn on my own, first with graphite pencils and later with watercolors. Two years after I felt it is time to move onto oil painting. I fell in love with it and slowly started building confidence to show and offer my work for sale. My mediums and favorite subjects changed over time but the goal remained the same from day one, and it is to keep practicing and perfecting my skills with each painting.

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

There were times where I felt I'm not getting any better and I will never reach the level where I'm happy with my work. I was thinking of quitting and throwing away all my art supplies and paintings.
But those silly dramatic periods were just a few days long before I would pick up my brushes again.
I just couldn't see my future without painting in it. With time I learned to be patient, relax and just look forward to the painting process.

Blue Jay
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I worked with graphite pencils, charcoal, watercolors, and oils. I paint mostly animals and scenery, with some portraits here and there.

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

Oil paints are my favorite medium to work with, although I still sometimes use pencils and watercolors in my sketchbook. They are great for studies and relaxing evening sketches.

Cow
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I want to try gouache paints, they seem like a good substitute for oils when I feel like sketching loose and exploring new ideas. I'm slowly moving to bigger paintings also. Big canvas seemed intimidating for a long time, but I feel I'm ready and looking forward to creating some larger work.

Who or what inspires you most?

I'm inspired by a lot of artists, old and new ones, as well as genres. Animals will always be my favorite subjects to paint, I just love the process of creating the painting and the end result.  I always hope I will manage to capture ''that something'' which will evoke emotion in a viewer.

Flamingo
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

I try to paint every day, for at least a couple of hours. If I don't feel inspired enough to paint I will take that time to organize my art space, prepare panels for future paintings, search for more ideas and references and flip through some art books. Usually, by then I already feel like going back to the easel and painting.

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

I schedule the time for painting. I like to paint in natural daylight and in short winter days I know I have to start early. For me, the day without creating art is wasted and if something prevents me from it I will try to make it up the next day by painting longer.

Great Grey Owl
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

It is usually something that I want to paint for some time, like certain animals. I have a list and keep adding to it. Animal documentaries often make me curious and excited to research and portray all those beautiful, unique creatures. I like to paint some scenery and portrait for fun and as practice sometimes.

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

I keep learning and painting, reading art books, trying to enjoy the process as much as possible and also be happy with the final painting which gives me confidence and inspires me to create more.

Red Kite
(click to view)

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

I feel like my paintings are getting closer to the vision that I have in my mind. I'm learning more about the painting style and directions I would like to go, as well as my value as an artist.

What makes you happiest about your art?

Everything about art makes me happy, from first ideas and sketches until finished paintings. I'm also happy and truly grateful for all those lovely people who chose my paintings to be part of their home.

Chimpanzee
(click to view)

Thanks, Nikolina!

© 2019 Sophie Marine

Thursday, November 14, 2019

DPW Spotlight Interview: Francesco Favazza

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings. To enter to win Francesco's painting "Looking upriver in a Fjord on the way to Bergen, Norway" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

While painting Easter Eggs my wife, Karen (a designer), commented I had artistic talent. Up until then, my creative outlet had been cooking. I had very good results, but the weight we gained not so much. A couple of years ago, Karen gave me a "painting class" as a gift to further explore my creativity (and perhaps lose some weight. I was somewhat apprehensive since I had not had any formal art education (other than the nuns in kindergarten) but I really ended up enjoying it. There was no pressure (other than what I put on myself), and our instructor, Kat Corrigan, made the class instructional and fun. That’s when I started painting as my main hobby. 

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

The Easter eggs were in watercolor, but that is the exception. The vast majority of what I do is in acrylics. At first it was because that was the medium taught by Kat. However, I found acrylics fun and easy to handle, as well as quick drying. I did play around with charcoal drawings, originally to work on value relationships, and later to practice rendering of accurate proportions. More recently I ventured into oils, jumping into a Plein Air workshop. Being used to quick drying acrylics I found oils frustrating at first but grew to appreciate their versatility and final results.

Looking upriver in a Fjord on the way to Bergen, Norway (click to view) Enter to win by clicking on the link at the top of the DPW home page announcing Francesco's interview.

Looking upriver in a Fjord on the way to Bergen, Norway
(click to view)

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

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

Acrylics have definitely stuck, but I would like to continue learning to use oils and practicing with charcoal. 

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I’d like to continue exploring oil, but also try watercolors (outside of Easter eggs).

Pippa Littleton
(click to view)

Who or what inspires you most?

Landscapes and light, the ocean, majestic buildings, historic sites, beautiful shapes such as Vespa scooters, my two dogs, and whatever Karen suggests would be a good composition (she has a very good eye).

What does procrastination look like for you?

Actually, painting is a way for me to procrastinate on other tasks I have to do at home.

Fiat 500 in its natural habitat
(click to view)

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

With a full-time job, I don’t have time to paint during weekday work hours. As a result, most of my painting is early morning or later in the evening, plus I try to paint on Saturdays. Taking a painting class on Saturdays ensures I paint at least on that day, but also during the week for homework.

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Many of my paintings are inspired by photos I’ve taken on trips over the decades. Places and sights in Sicily imprinted in me from birth are one of my favorite subjects. More recently, whenever I see something that would make a great subject or composition for a painting, I stop to take a photo.

The end of the trail is near!
(click to view)

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

Since I’ve only started painting a few years ago burnout has not been an issue and keeping my work vibrant and engaging is still a work in progress.

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

To really pay attention to what I’m seeing, from the big picture to the small details, seeing the light, shadows, interpreting color and values.

Passeggiata in Erice
(click to view)

What makes you happiest about your art?

Seeing the end result when it works.

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

No stops yet.

Thanks, Francesco!

© 2019 Sophie Marine

Thursday, November 7, 2019

DPW Spotlight Interview: Judy Crowe

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

From Judy's DPW Gallery Page:

Judy loves the works of the Old Masters but the Impressionist painters are the painters her most admires for their vibrant use of color and individual brushwork. As it did for the impressionists, everyday subjects inspire her: flowers, landscapes, figures. Judy has been featured in several national artists publications and won many awards most recently being included in Fine Art Conniseur's floral feature 'Gather Ye Rosebuds'. Her goal is to add beauty and value to our world through her work. www.judycrowe.com.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I started painting twenty-five years ago and have been a professional artist for probably at least fifteen to twenty. It happened gradually for me as I had young children at home. After a move to the Houston area, I began taking some lessons from a professional artist in downtown Houston, in the Heights, Lindy Daly. The company I worked for as an outside sales representative did not have an opening at the time of our move and then I became mom to John… and so decided to stay home with the kids. I am not entirely the “stay at home” type of mom though and decided to seek out art instruction after dabbling in painting T-shirts which was the ‘thing” at the time.

I loved to draw as a child and drew my paper dolls with long flowing dresses. I loved that but that’s as far as it went. I never knew a person could consider drawing or painting as a profession. Lindy, however, supported herself into her senior years with her art. She was funny, kind, a wonderful painter and I attribute her with giving me the passion for painting. I grew to love it and still do today.

Cinderella Pumpkin
(click to view)

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

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


Yes, As many women do, I had a family and other responsibilities including caring for an ill parent. Thankfully I’ve been able to juggle these responsibilities fairly well but usually did not paint a lot during the summer months when my kids were out of school. Although, I decided that this was my job and never gave it up entirely; I just couldn’t paint as much as I would have wanted to. I always felt my family came first.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I’ve painted with watercolor and pastel but not that much. I have painted a lot with acrylic and of late have been doing a lot of gouache plein air paintings. Gouache seems to be closer to oils in my mind because they reactivate when you wet them even after a time on the canvas - something that acrylics don't do… I’ve found they are great to take outdoors for the sake of convenience but I am first and foremost an oil painter and don’t ever see that changing. 

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

I think Gouache will stick but, as I said, I am and always will be primarily an oil painter. 

China and Primroses

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?


I’m really looking forward to exploring gouache more and seeing what I can do with it… I have some ideas that I want to pursue with that medium and love some of the gouache painters out there that are inspiring. This medium seems to be making a come back. It’s my understanding that there was an article on gouache in the last plein air magazine but I have not read it yet.

Who or what inspires you most?

Of course the standard answers to this question are also true for me: Sargent, Anders Zorn, Sorolla, Richard Schmid, Edgar Payne, Fechin. Daniel Gerhartz, there are so many. I have to say though that the very young, new artists out there that are exploring new and different ideas are so very inspiring… and thankfully we have social media so that we can see and experience some of those artists' work that are living masters, I think.

What does procrastination look like for you?

That is a very tricky question.  I think starting something new is always difficult, whether large or small; if I have an idea and a painting in my head, I am better at getting at it but if I cannot seem to grasp my vision for a painting that I thought about then I have a hard time ‘getting to it’…

Spring Gone Wild

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


I have a routine and try not to venture from it unless I simply have to. I get up and do the necessary things I need to do and then head to the studio. Thankfully, I have a place where I can work away from the house with all its distractions. I haven’t always had that and rented space for many years. Now my studio is next door to my home. I usually spend anywhere from four to seven hours daily in the studio including weekends unless I have another commitment. This is a job and a commitment for me. I want to do it to the best of my ability… so I found out a long time ago that in order to make that happen I have to do it. I’ve turned down lunch with friends and joining clubs to paint but I really believe this is worth it and a ‘calling’ by God that I have to pursue. So I guess you can say it’s an internal drive that keeps me going even when I feel down or don’t feel I’m making any progress. 

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I used to paint entirely still life (that worked for me having children at home) and so the one fun social thing that I did was visit antique shops to pick up 'stuff.' My studio is full of items for still life. Those items give me ideas... I also wanted to move to an area that has a lovely landscape. We don’t live in the Houston area anymore and so I can literally go out the back door to paint if I want to and I sometimes just drive around until I come across something that says it wants to be painted.

I have fallen in love with lots of different subject matter over the years. If I get really stuck and need to develop new ideas, I start looking online or at books that I have collected to get ideas. There’s a book out called "Steal Like an Artist." I also heard a quote from Picasso, "Good artists copy, great artists steal." David Bowie said, "The only art I will ever study is stuff I can steal from." Even Richard Schmid addresses this in his best selling book Alla Prima… He said all artists steal from each other. Not literally, of course, that is plagiarism, but all artists have borrowed ideas from their predecessors from day one. I found the above quote by listening to a YouTube segment from a fellow on Blender guru. Here are his favorite books “that every artist should read.” The name of the Youtube video is “The Habits of Effective Artists.”

In the Stillness
(click to view)

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

In some ways, I feel I have become stagnant and have lost freshness… Honesty here. So, I am becoming a student again. I’ve decided to "take off” this year. I’m still painting of course, daily, but I have decided in order to move forward, I need a break…  I’m an associate member of this organization and a signature member of that organization and even a master of another one. I’ve found myself painting for ’those’ instead of who I am so I am taking a sabbatical from all of it. I’m trying to refocus and paint what I love. Who said "paint what you love and love what you paint"? I think the down side to social media is thinking that we have to be those other people to get into shows… and to some degree I think that’s true but is it worth it? This year I am very thankful that I have the opportunity to just be me. I know we can’t all do that but I think no matter where you are, you can do it to some degree. I’m hoping to sell some of my little gouache paintings for less than my oils in order to do some self evaluation… and so far they seem to be popular with folks.

So a little social media, good. Too much, bad. So answering the question, be out there in some way... look at social media, steal, but I need to discover my own work again and I am using videos, other peoples' ideas, and my own thinking time to figure out where I want to be right now and down the road… I’m resting my mind and as the fellow in the Youtube video I mentioned above, I am trying to really focus to not become stagnant.

Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore
(click to view)

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

I am taking an online art course this year… it’s really helping me get back to basics. It focuses mostly on portraiture but this artist has touched on the basics a lot so I’m excited about revisiting those ideas and think it will help me in my own work.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I’m happiest when I come up with something from the blank canvas that I feel is worthwhile… and beautiful… I have no interest in making a political or social statement.

I’ve been told, “Your paintings make me happy”…and that makes me so happy to hear things like that. I recently received a card from a young lady from Austin who bought one of my still life paintings. She said in her note that she hasn’t hung it yet but it is sitting in her kitchen and when she passes by it and sees it, it makes her feel happy. What better joy could anyone ask for than to put a little joy in someone else’s life… through something that you created. With God’s help, I hope to continue to do that as long as I can.

Thanks, Judy!

© 2019 Sophie Marine

Thursday, October 31, 2019

DPW Spotlight Interview: Mitch Egeberg

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

From Mitch's DPW Gallery Page:

I have always in one way or another been involved in art. In grade school, I was the go to person for posters. In high school, I was always drawing and sketching outside of art classes. In undergraduate school I earned a degree in art education while paying my way by hand lettering trucks, signs and billboards. My graduate degree focused on portrait drawing and for twenty of the thirty-nine years I taught art, I owned a custom framing business.

I feel the art I make today has developed and evolved from the many art experiences I have had. I especially enjoy working with composition, color and interlocking shapes of ground and object.

Four Zinnias
(click to view)

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

Tell us about how you started painting.

I have always had an interest in making art. Painting was my chosen medium, as a child, when in college and while teaching. When I retired, I enjoyed the challenge and complexity of working with oil paints.

Did you have any starts and stops in your career?

Yes, almost every week. I painted and drew while working on my master’s degree and teaching. In the mid-eighties, I plateaued out after having a solo show at a local gallery. In the mid-nineties, I started a custom picture frame shop and worked with that while teaching. After retiring from teaching, I sold the picture framing business and started painting.

Egg & Plant
(click to view)

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? 

Having worked with the following: graphite, charcoal, pen and ink, pastels, watercolor, acrylic, serigraph, etching, lithograph, and ceramics, oil paint seems to feel most comfortable. Oil Painting is going to keep me busy for quite a while.

Who or what inspires you most?

Maggie Siner and David Shelvino are the top two contemporary artists I find most inspiring. Carol Marine has inspired me to take up daily painting. The what that inspires me would be expressive colorful brushwork in a still life, landscape or figurative piece.

Sweet and Sour
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you? 

I live in Nebraska so it looks like football, baseball, basketball and solitaire.

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

I always try to have a fairly regular schedule with a good balance of easel time and a fun bucket list.

Green Checks and Cherries
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I set up a still life and study it for two or three days, sketching it several times until I have a good composition. If the still life doesn’t inspire, it gets changed, especially after wiping out several efforts.

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

I attend life-drawing sessions at a local art center. Visiting and sharing work with the other artists makes me think and freshen up work.

Being retired and able to travel with my wife is a great way to prevent burnout. When we travel we visit art galleries, art museums and festivals. Some trips have even been planned just to visit a special show.

Attending workshops is also helpful in staying fresh. Through the years I have been able to attend workshops given by Maggie Siner, David Shelvino, Lisa Daria, Karen O’Neal, Mark Nelson, Sarah Sedwick, and Angus Wilson.

Plate of Fruit
(click to view)

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

I am working on what I feel is the hardest part of painting and that is to simplify the subject and use more direct brushstrokes. When I catch myself spending time trying to get things just right, it’s better to quit and start over. I want paintings that look fresh. More time on a painting doesn’t make it fresh.

What makes you happiest about your art?

When it’s not cute, pretty, sentimental or overworked. I want my art to be honest with a hint of whimsy.

Cherry Drink
(click to view)

Thanks, Mitch!


© 2019 Sophie Marine

Thursday, October 24, 2019

DPW Spotlight Interview: Olga Hegner

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

From Olga's DPW Gallery Page:

Olga's favorite painting medium is oil. She paints a variety of subjects - landscapes, still life, dogs and other animals, and occasionally people. She lives in Park City, UT.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I started painting relatively recently, about six years ago. Of course, I liked drawing as a child - most children do. I remember that I was not allowed to draw on the walls of our apartment. That surprised me, and I was not about to obey. So, I would secretly take a pencil with me at bedtime and drew on the wall adjacent to my bed.
I probably had some good drawing ability growing up, because I was frequently assigned to do school art projects, like newspapers, banners, etc. I doodled a lot. But nobody in my family ever considered art as a serious career. Besides, I had an aunt, my mother’s sister, who almost became a professional artist. And comparing me to her - my family did not see any particular talent in me. So, I became a lawyer, and I loved my profession. I still believe that it is the best education and profession one can get - it is never the same, always developing, always throwing riddles at you.
By the way, I stopped doodling and drawing during the first year of law school. There was a very talented boy in my class, who could draw fantastic cartoons illustrating the subjects we were studying. He did it right there during a lecture with a pen, no pencil. I could not be seen doodling with such a talent nearby. I do not know what happened to that guy. Hope he was able to combine a legal career with art.

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

I started painting so recently - I have not had any stops yet. It still feels like a “start”. Sometime around 2012 I found myself with too much time on my hands, and legal work was not coming my way. I decided to explore my childhood attraction to drawing and took a drawing class, then a painting class, then a plein air workshop, then another workshop and another… And I discovered a whole new world of art and painting. More I learn, more I understand that I know nothing. It is fascinating!

A Mouse With An Attitude
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

Pencil drawing probably will be forever my favorite. It is so immediate and versatile. I am not a good draftsman, but I can notice a certain progress as years go by.
I tried different mediums - watercolor, pastel, oil. Each of them have their own special beauty. But right now I am very attracted to oil. I enjoy a sensation of applying oil on a canvas, how smooth it spreads, and how a plain surface comes to life immediately and directly. I appreciate its forgiveness - mistakes can be reworked.
Genres - I am a realistic painter. Abstract has not opened its secrets for me so far.
Subjects - I love painting everything that comes my way. Plein air and landscape - it is exciting to be outside, listen to the sounds of nature or a town, smelling flowers or a bread toasted at a cafe. For me there is more in those landscape paintings than just shapes and color harmony.
Still life - painting a still life is an exercise in turning simple and humble subjects into interesting and fascinating stories.
Animals - I like animals, and I have a dog. Painting a dog always makes me happy. But I paint him from photographs, because he never sits still.
People - this is my next challenge. I would like to develop skills of portraying people, and not just their likeness, but to be able to show their characters and inner lives.

Lara - A Doll
(click to view)

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

Oil is my medium of choice now, but I am still experimenting with watercolor. When I travel I like sketching in watercolor. Sketches create the best memories, way better than any photo.
A set of pastels remains in my studio. And I know that I will come back to it. Maybe after watching a demo by Albert Handell, or by Richard McKinley, or another wizard of pastel painting.

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

There is so much to explore! I just scratched the surface of art of painting. I would like to learn more about art history. I would like to experiment with composition and color harmonies. I would like to get a better understanding of color and a power of grays. I would like to explore different painting styles. Saying this, I admit that I believe that everyone has their own style, their vision, handwriting and brushstroke. But what I had learned from taking workshops and meeting artists - there is a difference in artistic esthetic between the Western and Eastern United States. I live in the West and I would like to explore what is happening out there in the East. Then there is Russia, the country where I was born. Classical art traditions are very much alive there, and I would like to explore that too.

Martini Cheries
(click to view)

Who or what inspires you most?

The strongest inspiration for me is coming from seeing works of Art. We live in marvelous times - art works are coming to us through the Cloud, the Net, through Media. We can scan through a museum’s collection while having our morning coffee with a computer by the side. But nothing can compare to seeing real life art. I had an exceptional opportunity to see Sorolla’s exhibition at the National Gallery in London, UK. And right after that I visited Prado in Madrid, Spain. It was the first time I saw Velazquez’s Las Meninas in person. This frequently copied, multiplied  and discussed masterpiece affected me in unexpected way - I almost fainted seeing it in person. The master was looking at me from the painting, studying me, evaluating, taking notes. I was inspired, for sure, but at the same time I wanted to bury by paints and brushes in the back yard and never tell anybody that I was trying to paint.

I am also inspired by the artists around me. There are  lot of exceptionally talented painters, but at closer look - it is their hard work and discipline that allows these artists to stand out.

What does procrastination look like for you?

Someone was saying that procrastination is actually a good thing. If you have a deadline to meet, and you procrastinated until the last day, you approach a project with a doubled energy. I do not know if it is true. If I have a project or a painting to finish at a certain time - I do not procrastinate, I dig in right away. And that maybe is a bad thing.

Russian Matryoshka Is Having A Tantrum
(click to view)

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

Good and sensible planning is the key. Having a studio or a painting space near your kitchen and a living space are not good for dedicating time to art, because distractions happen - dishes, dust, droopy house plants… They all need immediate attention. So, the brush goes down, watering can comes in. This may be the reason that I like to go out for a plein air, where I can totally submerge in painting.

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I am not sure, the ideas just happen. Right now I have more ideas for paintings than I physically will be able to accomplish.

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

Everything in art is so fresh for me. A burnt out feeling has not visited me so far. I do get tired, as I was this summer during the season of plein air competitions. Painting a lot of landscapes brought a desire to paint still life inside and in a controlled environment.
I do not take commissions, and that also keeps the feeling of pressure to “produce art” under wraps.
I hope that my paintings look vibrant and engaging - I am trying to achieve that for sure.

Old Lady
(click to view)

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

The first and the most - I started to feel as an artist. I have no fear, and I am learning. And I believe that there is a great adventure in being an artist.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I am the happiest when I am painting. Results may not be that important. But with all honesty - when somebody buys my art, it is a big deal for me. When somebody likes my paintings enough to bring them into their home and into their life - it is an amazing happy feeling. I want to paint more and better, and share my works with the world.


Thanks, Olga!

© 2019 Sophie Marine