Thursday, March 21, 2019

DPW Spotlight Interview: Bernie Wisniewski

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings. To enter to win Bernie's painting "Poppy Landscape 2" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Bernie's DPW Gallery Page:

I live and paint in the north east of England - it's an area with a beautiful coastline and lots of history. In my work I try to convey an emotion that the subject conveys, rather than trying to achieve technical correctness. Colour is important and I admire the work of the Scottish Colourists and the Fauves. The finished piece must be pleasant to look at, and if it stimulates the "feeling" of the subject so much the better.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I enjoyed painting when I was at school – we were lucky to have an art teacher who was passionate about art and gave great encouragement to us all. I developed my own style early on and would paint using a broken knife I’d found in the kitchen. The paintings weren’t gentle laborious pieces but were worked on with speed and enthusiasm. One of the teachers asked me to paint his favourite chess set (I suppose you could say it was my first commission) and I was rewarded with a smart new set of oil paints.

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

Although given the chance to attend further education at Art College I decided that “getting a job” was what I wanted. Marriage and children followed and for the next thirty-something years I appreciated art as an observer rather than a participant. With the Family now grown and the financial responsibilities for them decreased (only slightly!) I’m able to spend time indulging my passion.

Poppy Landscape 2
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I got back into painting with a good set of soft pastels and conte crayons. I found that the immediacy achieved using these suited my style – the medium effectively became an extension of my hand straight to the paper. Acrylics came next as I wanted to give more depth, more solidity, to the colours. I like this medium – it again allows speed of working (I like the fast drying times) and there are excellent products with differing characteristics to choose from.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I’m starting to experiment more using translucent paints and overlaying some areas with this. I think the effects of this contrast well with the block colours of the opaque paint. I often put my acrylics away and get the oils out – it’s a totally different way of working – I love the texture and feel (and smell of the oils). It’s great fun - exciting – and I almost always paint these using a palette knife. Again it allows fast working (easier to clean than a brush) and allows for a lot of different effects.

(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I’d be interested to try screen printing and linocuts – I’ve seen some lovely work using both these mediums. The only medium I wouldn’t try is watercolour – again I’ve seen some excellent work in this, but I don’t think it would suit my way of working.

Who or what inspires you most?

There’s so much good artwork around that I’m constantly finding new artists whose artwork excites. My core favourites however would be the French Impressionists, the Scottish Colourists and the Fauves. I recommend having a look at the work of Joan Eardley – particularly the Glasgow “street kids” – she was a brilliant Scottish artist and I saw an exhibition of her work in Edinburgh. I’ve got no doubt that red wine and good music can also be inspirational in producing a pleasing piece of art!

Flowers Still Life
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

I admit that by nature I’m impulsive – it’s generally served me well – and it’s the same with my work. When I get the excitement – the idea of an image – I have to work on it immediately. If I were to procrastinate it would be lost.

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

I think everyone’s life just gets busier all the time. It’s not particularly beneficial to the person or society. Nature will always fill a vacuum so it’s important (I think) to allocate periods which are sacrosanct.

Built on the Tyne
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

There’s no set pattern for ideas – I don’t look for them but let them come to me. If there’s an image – an idea – which will make an exciting painting, it usually registers. It’s important to keep an open mind so as not to miss these opportunities.

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

I think in order to keep work fresh the artist has to routinely set themselves new challenges. It’s easy to slip into a rut of doing work which isn’t difficult. Every now and then I think about what would be a hard subject to paint. I then give it a go and in most cases it’s worked out well. This keeps the excitement, which is important, avoids burnout, and extends the artist’s abilities.

Croft Sunset
(click to view)

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

We’re all learning every day (or should be) and it’s the same with art. There’s so much to learn, so many new techniques – time is the limiting factor rather than ideas. Keep on experimenting and enjoying the work.

What makes you happiest about your art?

To me, there’s nothing beats the buzz of working fast on a piece, great music in the background, and knowing that it’s all coming together. Not every day is like this however and it’s self defeating to try to force it – it has to be enjoyable and this will show through in the finished work.

Thanks, Bernie!

© 2019 Sophie Marine

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