Thursday, June 27, 2019

DPW Spotlight Interview: Alice Harpel

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

From Alice's DPW Page:


I am a fine artist residing in Crawfordsville, IN. Upon retirement from the Indiana Department of Education, I have created a second career in the fine arts.

Most of my artwork originates from my original photographs, my plein air experiences, and my memory. I paint primarily in oils, acrylics, and pastels and often introduce other elements, such as collage paper, to achieve my desired vibrant colors and texture. (click to read more)

Tell us about how you first started painting.

As a young child and like many artists, I loved art and being creative. Living in the country next to a very small town, art was my entertainment. When I was first married, my husband was convinced he saw talent in the drawings that I would do in my spare time. So, he quickly went out and purchased my first set of art supplies. And that was the beginning of being a self-taught artist.

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

As stated earlier, my start really was when my husband “invested” in all those “bright, new, shiny” art supplies. So convinced of my talent that he was also a willing partner to take some of my paintings to art shows for me when I was “unsure” of this new thing I was doing.

My stops have been the raising of our two children and returning to a teaching career (but not as an art teacher) which then led me to go onto earning a Doctorate in Educational Administration. At that point, I put away my paints and brushes for 35+ years later, only to return to them upon retirement. And about a month before retirement, I ordered $1000 worth of art supplies from websites, and anxiously waited to return to my passion.

Acrylic spring tulip floral painting impressionism
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

When I first returned to painting, I worked in watercolor, but once I started to work more with acrylics, I became spoiled. My most recent medium for experimentation has been soft pastels.

The genres that I have experimented with are abstract work and painting figures (little girl ballerinas).

Which ones have “ stuck” and which ones have fallen away?

I no longer do watercolor unless it works as an underpainting for pastels. Acrylics have spoiled me there. I still play with abstracts and create “little girl” ballerina paintings, along with my traditional landscapes and florals.

Sunflower still life acrylic bouquet floral art
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I would like to explore a looser style with my pastels. And I would also like to see how I can combine my acrylics with pastels with my abstract work.

Who or what inspires you most?

Besides the local artists who have made it to the national level, there are several I follow on the Internet. To name a few: Tom Christopher (pastels), Roger Dale Brown (oils), Jill Carver (oils), Nancy Franke (oils).

Oil red barn winter landscape painting
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Procrastination---cleaning my studio, cleaning my home,  looking through old art books.

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

I frequently do an early morning walk where I can clear my mind to focus on the day. I also create a “mind map” at the beginning of each year and refer to it monthly. This pushes me to make time for all aspects of my art.

Sunflower floral flower garden acrylic painting
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Since I live in a rural community, all I need to do is drive down a country road—nothing else is needed. All the beautiful colors that Mother Nature “paints” on her flowers always leads me to creating new floral art. I will enter competitions that have a theme that forces me to think of ideas for new paintings.

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

I like experimenting with new colors and techniques---pushing myself to loosen my style. Even though the initial endeavor might not be successful, the process always leads me to new ideas over time.

Wildflower day lily stream creek meadow painting
(click to view)

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

I am analyzing how my pastel painting techniques can help me be a better oil/acrylic artist. I want to see how these pastel ideas can translate to another medium.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I love the process of creating. I also get satisfaction when I “redo” an earlier painting. It is in this process that I can see the techniques I have learned over time that now makes this current work a better piece.

Thanks, Alice!

© 2019 Sophie Marine

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