Thursday, March 28, 2019

DPW Spotlight Interview: Heather Martin

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

From Heather's DPW Gallery Page:

Heather Ihn Martin, a fine artist raised in rural Michigan, has been creating artwork since she could hold a pencil. Her passion for art was so clear and unwavering, that after graduating high school she found herself leaving her hometown in Michigan to earn her BFA in Illustration at the Ringling School of Art and Design (now named the Ringling College of Art and Design) in Florida.

Once receiving her degree, she spent years working as an illustrator, followed by nearly a decade as a game artist in the mobile gaming industry. In 2016, Heather was reintroduced to traditional media, and fell head over heels in love with painting from life and plein air painting. Despite working a full time job, having a long commute, and a ridiculously large family of animals, Heather spent every spare minute towards building a fine art career and working to be a better artist.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting. 

I've been drawing since I could hold a pencil, but painting didn't really happen until I was in middle school art classes. My first oil painting was actually a Bob Ross piece that I painted with my grandma's husband. It was so fun, and eye-opening to see what could be done with oils.

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

Oh yes. I went to school at the Ringling College of Art and Design for Illustration. Back then it was 95% traditional mediums, and I focused most on oil painting. Once I got a job in the tech industry around 2008, I drifted away from traditional art, and primarily worked digitally. Traditional painting became an interest again around 2016 for me, and I wish I never took that break!

Pink and Peach
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with? 

Experimentation is so crucial, and I've tried several mediums along the way. Some of those include transparent watercolors, oils, acrylics, pen and ink, and charcoal.

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

Gouache has been the clear winner so far as for what's "stuck". It's so easy to clean! (cleanliness is not my forte). Gouache has such a nice smooth feel to it, similar to oils, it's very satisfying! I'd love to get back into oil painting though; I miss the smell, textures, and rich colors.

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring? 

After attending several transparent watercolor demos at our local watercolor association, I've been interested in exploring that more, but first would love to get back into oil painting and working on some large scale work.

Favorite Spot
(click to view)

Who or what inspires you most? 

Every day scenes and the way light shines on and through objects. It's fascinating to see how everything works in harmony with each other, and creates the most beautiful colors and patterns.

What does procrastination look like for you? 

Oh boy, when I procrastinate I tend to drag my feet quite literally around the house looking for things that inspire me. It's getting tougher since I've painted nearly every angle of the house. I try to keep myself busy even if it doesn't feel productive to me, like uploading new art to the site, responding to comments on social media, or taking a moment to write a blog post.

(click to view)

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

Be sure to always have your palette clean and ready to go! I set up fresh water jars so I can just sit down at the drop of a hat, and start a painting. Sometimes I have to settle for a less ambitious piece, and just do a small 30 minute to 1 hour study to keep myself from getting rusty.

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings? 

Most of the things I've painted have been just unexpected moments of beauty. However, I've started a project with Chris Greco (A fellow Daily Paintworks artist) called the "Double Take Project" where we take turns coming up with prompts to paint, and then show our own takes of it. It's been keeping us both on our toes.

Eucalyptus Shadows
(click to view)

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

Challenge yourself! Even if it may not look like a challenge to an outsider, I guarantee there was an aspect of the work that had me actively problem solving and trying new things. It could be by pushing the composition to be a little more daring, or trying to paint a subject that just seems impossible! By setting these challenges up for myself, it hopefully makes for more interesting and engaging work.

Queen of the House
(click to view)

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

Being a full time artist is new to me, and I'm learning so much about the art world. It's just as tough as they say, if not, tougher! So I'm trying to navigate the waters, and learn to balance both the marketing aspects, trying to make a decent income, and also stay true to my artwork.

What makes you happiest about your art?

Capturing special moments that have an emotional impact to me, whether it be a family portrait, or a favorite spot in a park. It's so wonderful to be able to translate your feelings on paper, and share them
with others.

Thanks, Heather!

© 2019 Sophie Marine

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