Thursday, May 23, 2019

DPW Spotlight Interview: Phyllis McAdams

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

From Phyllis's DPW Gallery Page:

Born and raised in England, I dabbled in art while growing up but it wasn't until I emigrated to the United States that I began my formal art education. After settling in California, I went back to school and earned a B.F.A in Painting and Drawing from San Jose State University. I showed my work for a number of years in galleries on the West Coast before relocating with my family to Southeast Georgia. There, I exhibited extensively in galleries on the East coast as well as in numerous Juried and Invitational shows across the country. I have painted professionally for over thirty years, my preferred medium is oil and my subjects are primarily still life, portrait and the figure. Also, because we have now returned to California and live in close proximity to Yosemite National Park, I have begun to enjoy the outdoors and the challenges of plein air painting.

When did you first start drawing and painting?

As a child growing up in England, I spent many rainy days cooped up indoors. On those days I entertained myself by drawing. Even on nice days I drew outside on the pavement with a piece of chalk or limestone. I always drew fashion figures, skaters and ballerinas; my mother taught me to draw teacups and saucers which I still like to do. I didn’t begin to paint until years later after immigrating to the United States. I first took an Adult Education painting class and from there was encouraged to continue studying art.

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

No. Once I started showing in galleries and selling my work I didn’t take any long breaks.

Old Tin Cup and Coffee Pot
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

Most of my experimentation was done in college art classes. I’ve used oils, watercolors, charcoal, pastels, pen and ink, gouache, acrylics using an airbrush and sculpture. I also experimented with silkscreen, etching, scratch board and photography. The various genres I’ve enjoyed are portrait, the figure, still life, landscape, seascapes, street scenes and interiors.

Which ones have stuck and which ones have fallen away?

The printmaking media completely fell away. Now I work mostly with oils and once in a while with some of the other mediums. My main subjects are still life, portrait and the figure. I do some plein air painting once a month with a group of artists but my forte is setting up a still life in my studio and painting it from life.

Teapot Reflections with Grapes
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

At the moment there’s nothing more I am interested in trying.

Who or what inspires you most?

As a still life painter, I’m often inspired by the ordinary objects I see around the house or while rummaging through thrift shops, garage sales and antique stores. I’ve collected boxes of props that have inspired me to paint them at one time or another. Even the produce section of the grocery store with its colorful fruits and veggies can be inspirational. During my art career, I’ve worked mostly on life size trompe l’oeil paintings that often take days or even weeks to complete. But now, thanks to Daily Paintworks, I’m also inspired to paint smaller, faster, more spontaneously and more often.

Sweet Peppers
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

I procrastinate by doing other things when I can’t decide on something interesting to paint.

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

Making sure necessary obligations are taken care of so I can go into the studio and concentrate just on my art.

A Window in Time
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your painting?

Sometimes my ideas are unexpected such as a fleeting view of coffee mugs or cowboy hats hanging on a wall in the background of a television show, or seeing an arrangement of colors while thumbing through a home d├ęcor magazine, or just a random everyday object casting its shadow in the sunlight. When looking for still life ideas, I’m usually attracted to bright colors, abstract shapes, a variety of textures and by the way each element reacts when affected by light.   

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

I frequently alternate my painting styles from loose and expressive to tight realism or trompe l’oeil. I change my support sizes from large to medium or small and a genre change sometimes helps. I also belong to a portrait group; we meet once a week to paint from the live model.

Girl with the New Pearl Earring
(click to view)

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

I’m learning to paint much smaller and looser and with less detail than my usual work. I’m also learning to use the computer more for marketing purposes.

 What makes you happiest about your work?

When I’m working on something I’m really excited about and when it’s finished I actually love it without having to wipe out or redo areas to make it work. I’m also very happy when someone purchases my artwork and then lets me know how much they enjoy it – that makes my day.

Thanks, Phyllis!

© 2019 Sophie Marine

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