Thursday, April 11, 2019

DPW Spotlight Interview: Jeri Ireland

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

From Jeri's DPW Gallery Page:

Like so many painters, I spent years in the fields of advertising, illustration and corporate design. What a wonderful way to make a living!

Now I am concentrating on my fine art. It is different - rather than being given a task I am on my own, trying to conceive and produce. My goal is to show my love of the medium in each image. I love the feel of pushing paint around.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting. 

I started drawing as a child. Both parents attended Art Center in Pasadena, but didn’t pursue careers in art. They always made sure we had pens, pencils and paper as kids. When it came time for me to go to college they wouldn’t let me go to Pasadena, so I attended Sonoma State and California College of Arts and Crafts.

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

I painted some in college, where I was an illustration/graphic design major, but then stopped painting. As a graphic designer in the old days I could pump out comps in magic markers – they called me the Comp Queen at the agency I worked for. I also did a lot of fashion illustration. So my drawing continued to progress and I could produce anything in black and white, but I didn’t paint. I had a successful design studio for many years but all my art was commercial. And of course, once Photoshop and Illustrator came into play I used those.

Looking back, I might have painted more earlier with some traditional instruction. When I was in college the emphasis was on “feeling”. All art was supposed to be an inner expression of yourself and just spring out on its own accord. No help with traditional tried and true methods, which I have since studied on my own. No emulating the masters. Learning color mean cutting up Josef Albers squares and combining them. Just an expensive art free-for-all. Luckily I had some other instructors for anatomy and life drawing who stressed basics. We studied Gray’s anatomy and had to learn every bone and muscle. That was truly helpful and served me well in my career in graphics.

The Little Sentinel
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

In college, I preferred pen and ink. Most of my later illustrations were graphite or charcoal. My first forays back into painting a few years ago were in watercolors. But I love oils and the way they feel on a canvas. They are also quite forgiving (at least they are now that I am able to handle them a little better!).

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

I tried pastels a while back – loved them but hated the feel of the dust on my hands so I had to give them up!

Girl with Pail
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

At this point I’m going to stick with oils. As long as I can feel myself improving they are challenging and fun.

Who or what inspires you most? 

I love the impressionists. And of course I am influenced by Sarolla, Fechin, Sargent. Franz Klein appeals to my graphic nature. Dixon and Payne. Bill Cramer, Quang Ho, Liepke are some favs as well.

Pa'u Rider 3
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Now that I have time to paint and not worry about making a living – I really don’t procrastinate. I guess that is the result of being a commercial artist for so long. Deadlines don’t wait. I never had the luxury of “waiting for the muse” when a client was waiting. 

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

My old design studio is now my painting studio. It is separate from the main house so I can head up there and go to work with no interruptions. It is my own little domain. I’ll put on some music and time flies by.

(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I have a huge collection of reference photos I’ve taken over the years. I am mostly driven by the effects of light, so I’ll usually choose something based on that criteria.

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

I try to work fast and am finally getting familiar enough with my paints that I can draw with them instead of paint with them. I am still experimenting with different techniques and “looks”, trying to decide which is the best direction for me. In looking at work I’ve done, I really prefer the ones where I can see that the process was immediate rather than labored. I’ve killed many a painting by working it to death.

(click to view)

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

My biggest revelation has come directly from daily painting. I don’t wait or spend time trying to figure out what to paint. I just paint. Anything. Everything. Every time I put paint on my brush I learn something more.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I love the feel of paint. I like how it slips and slides and I love brushstrokes. My favorite part is the execution. If I get a good painting out of it that is a bonus!

Thanks, Jeri!

© 2019 Sophie Marine

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