From Alina's DPW Gallery Page:
I was born in Kracow, a magical city considered to be the centre of Polish academic, cultural and artistic life.
Strongly influenced by its rich history, medieval landmarks, abundance of museums and art galleries, I decided to study conservation of art, focusing on architecture. I developed an interest in drawing and painting after finding a stash of old sketches and watercolour paintings by my grandfather. At that time however painting was more of a hobby for me, and I decided to change my career to social work.
I moved to New Zealand in 2012, where I live in Richmond in sunny Tasman region. Overwhelmed by the beauty of New Zealand as well as the lifestyle it offers, I joined a local art group when I re-discovered my true passion – painting. I've been painting mainly in oils for few years now and am a member of local art gallery Wall to Wall Art. My works have been displayed at local exhibitions and in local cafe's and businesses and number of my works have found new homes in New Zealand and international private collections.
I love to paint New Zealand landscapes, birds and flowers. My paintings are richly coloured and full of light and I am drawn towards realism.
Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.
I remember when I was a child there was a very special person who inspired me. It was my grandfather. The funny thing is that I never met him. He died in a car crash a few years before I was even born. But to me he was like some amazing mythical creature, everybody around me knew him and admired him. He was talked about with a lot of respect and love. I knew that he used to work designing roads and bridges, but one night I discovered that he was also an artist.
I sometimes stayed at my grandmas and I loved going through her things (she had those amazing dresses with sequins and ostrich feathers). One night when I was going through her cupboards and wardrobes I came across a massive stash of beautiful charcoal sketches and watercolors painted by my granddad. I couldn't take my eyes off them, they were beautiful: churches, cathedrals and castles. When I asked my grandma about it she told me about granddad's love for painting and she gave me his old set of watercolors and pastels. That is how I first started painting.
(click to view)
Enter to win by clicking on the link at the top of the DPW home page announcing Alina's interview.
Did you have any stops and starts in your painting career?
Even though I loved drawing and painting since I was a little girl, I didn't take it seriously until around three years ago. I think I haven't done any art since I finished high school.
I went to a very specialized high school where I did qualification in conservation of art. Drawing, painting and sculpting was our everyday bread back at school, but it all went a bit out the window when I chose to study social work. After doing my degree I went to Ireland where I worked as a preschool teacher and the closest I got to art was doing potato stamping.
Then I moved to New Zealand and this is when I really got inspired to start painting again. I picked up my paintbrush around three years ago and I haven't stopped since. Initially, it was just a leisure activity, once or twice a week just for fun, but with time it become much more than that.
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What mediums and genres have you experimented with?
I tried painting in watercolors, acrylics and oils, I also had some fun using airbrush. The only subject I paint is nature. I manly paint landscapes, flowers and birds.
Which ones have "stuck" and which ones have fallen away?
Definitely oils, I really like painting with fast drying oils: alkyds. I am a bit impatient, so conventional oils were taking a bit too long for me to dry. Acrylics on the other hand are sometimes drying too fast for me to achieve some of the blurry background effects that I really like using for my flowers.
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Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?
One medium that I haven't really explored and I think could fit my style really well are pastels and pastel pencils and I plan to try them one day.
Who or what inspires you most?
My main inspiration is nature. I am absolutely in love with New Zealand and its beauty. It's incredible how you can travel fifty km and come across so many different type of landscapes, it's very unique. Whenever I go for a ride and look around all I want to do is stop and take reference photos for my paintings every few meters... I like big wide panoramic scenes and I also love little things like reflection of light on a winter berry or a flower on bloom.
As to who inspires me... well there are too many artists that I admire to talk about, but all of them are realist artists.
As to old masters, my favorite must be Ivan Ivanovich Shishkin; also Albert Bierstadt and others form Hudson River School. Talking about contemporary artists, well, I am mainly aware of ones that are a bit more active on social media. My favorite artist of all must be Andrew Tishler, he is originally form Australia but lives in New Zealand, not only he is an amazing artist but he also likes to share his talent through You Tube videos and tutorials. I also love landscapes by another NZ artist: Ivan Clarke, as well as flowers by Lyn Diefenbach and Amber Emm.
|Fresh as Freesias
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What does procrastination look like for you?
I consider myself to be at the beginning of my artistic journey and I read somewhere that it takes around 10,000 hours to become a master at something. To me the main issue here is that I often tell myself I am not ready for something, that I should leave it for later when I get better at things... when I become a master... well it may take another seven years, right? So I realize that it doesn't make much sense, putting the things away, because as an artist I may never be fully satisfied with everything I do and there will always be room to improve or stretch so I try to fight that feeling and just get on with things.
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What techniques work to ensure that you make time for your art?
Time, hahahaha... I never have time... I am a wife, mum to two beautiful little girls (seven and three) and I work as a social worker supporting refugee families four days a week.
No, but seriously, when I first started painting it was only once per week at adult education evening classes on Mondays from 6-9pm. But I got hooked and I started thinking about when can I find time to paint. Initially, I started stealing some time on Saturdays and Sundays when my little one was having a midday nap (and I put a movie on for the older one - bad mother!). But soon it was't enough and I came to the conclusion that I don't really need to sit in front of a movie in the evenings as painting is my own way to relax.
Now I try to paint every day in the evenings after I put my kids to bed, it's often between 9pm and midnight, and I also paint on Tuesdays during the day when I don't do my main job (although since I joined local collective gallery, I also need to do shifts there two Tuesdays per month). I also now love wet, cold weekends as they are a good excuse to stay at home and paint. :)
How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?
I see things and places that inspire me.
|Wharariki Beach Stream
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How do you keep art "fresh?" What techniques have helped you avoid burnout and keep your work vibrant and engaging?
I haven't been painting long enough to experience burnout, ask me in ten years.
What do you feel you are learning about right now as an artist?
Marketing! Seriously, I had no idea how many skills an artist needs to acquire to become successful. It's not only about being good at painting... which I constantly work on. It's about making people notice you among so many thousands of other talented people, it's graphic design, social media, web design, marketing, accounting, interpersonal skills (especially if, like me, you work at a gallery trying to literally sell art to people), it's huge and it's necessary to get where I want to be.
What makes you happiest about your art?
Just creating art, the process itself. To me art is like yoga or meditation for some people, it takes me to a different place. When I paint I don't think about what happened at work or what I need to buy for dinner tomorrow, I lose track of time and it's only me and the painting in front of me and the colors.
© 2019 Sophie Marine