Thursday, January 3, 2019

DPW Spotlight Interview: Hall Groat

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

From Hall's DPW Gallery Page:

Painter Hall Groat II, professor and chair of Art and Design at SUNY Broome Community College, teaches foundation courses in painting, drawing, color theory, and computer graphics. Groat earned a master of fine arts degree in painting and drawing from City University of New York at Brooklyn, a bachelor of arts in art history, minoring in studio art at Binghamton University, and attended graduate and certificate programs at Buffalo State College, Syracuse University, and Savannah College of Art and Design. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I started painting during my early teens, but did not get serious until college and graduate school. I minored in Fine Arts and majored in Architectural History as an undergraduate at Binghamton University during the late 1980’s and early 1990’s.  Then, I earned a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Painting and Drawing at Brooklyn College. At Brooklyn College I studied painting with Lennart Anderson and Lois Dodd. I become more serious about my work after grad school.

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

I’ve always consistently created paintings, and when I don’t paint for a week or two I become a bit depressed. Making paintings is very cathartic for me. It’s similar to a “runner’s high.” I always feel great after painting for a few hours.  Making paintings is a way of life.

(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

As a teen, I worked in acrylic, and then in college began to use oil paint.  This was the preferred medium within college fine art programs. During graduate school I worked in watercolor for a short period. I used to carve stone during my teens, too, and used pneumatic chisels to carve intricate reliefs of eagles on slabs or marble and flagstone.

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

Oil painting has always been my preferred medium.  I have not carved stone since my teens, as it requires very specialized tools and a studio.  And if you carve stone in your backyard you must not live too close to other residences, or have neighbors that don’t mind the loud banging of hammers and the sound of an air compressor powering the pneumatic chisels.

Nature's Wrath
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I most likely will always work with oil paint, and perhaps one day explore watercolor again.

Who or what inspires you most?

I’m often inspired by revealing something extraordinary within ordinary, mundane subjects. Everyday objects often engage me. I’m also inspired by the abstract nature of nocturnal urban scenes. Dutch master paintings, such as Rembrandt are most inspiring to me.  I’m drawn to the dramatic use of Chiaroscuro connected with 17th century Dutch painting. I’m also inspired by the color and light connected with French Impressionism.

In terms of subject matter, still life, landscape and architectural motifs inspire me. I’m also drawn to subjects involving popular culture.

Rainy New York Night
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

I typically do not procrastinate, which helps me avoid stress. I like to get things done ahead of time, and this is what I try to instill within my students. Many young people this day and age, do procrastinate.

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

I usually paint more during the summer months when school is not is session, and also during holiday breaks.  During the fall and spring semesters it is often difficult to find time to create new paintings, although I do try to work on smaller one o two hour studies during the week when I’m not teaching at the college.

Thief of the Past and Future
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Travel, studying nature, and spending time with friends is what inspires me to paint.  Working with my college students at SUNY Broome Community College also invigorates me.  I also take on quite a few commissioned paintings throughout the year, which often times force me to interpret a subject in a new way.

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

Exploring new ideas through travel keeps things fresh.  Many of my paintings are based on places I’ve traveled to, such as Ring of Kerry in Ireland and New York City.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich
(click to view)

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

In 2019 I plan on painting larger pieces over longer periods of time.  The small 8x10 in. studies are always fluid and fresh, but can be limiting.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I’m never satisfied with my work, and always striving to grow.

Thanks, Hall!

© 2019 Sophie Marine

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