Thursday, June 20, 2019

DPW Spotlight Interview: Heather Douglas

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 "Fire Escape NYC #2" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Heather's DPW Page:

Heather Leigh Douglas began her artistic career in oil painting and has expanded into the encaustic process as well. While her oil paintings are highly realistic her encaustics often take on a freer approach.

Douglas has exhibited in national and international juried shows across the country including galleries and museums. She has had solo shows in the New York Metropolitan area of both her oil paintings and encaustics. Some of her pieces have been used in films and television commercials. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I must begin by saying that, like a lot of artists, I have always been involved in one artistic endeavor or another, with lots of experimenting. As a studio art major in college I studied a variety of techniques which included oil painting. I also learned batik but used the process to create landscapes. After college I began taking classes in photography and eventually set up my own black and white darkroom. Oil painting was something I pursued on and off while creating and selling my batik landscapes.

Fire Escape NYC #2
(click to view)

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

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

When I had my first of three daughters, I put aside painting and batiks and focused primarily on photography. This along with a bit of watercolor painting became my artistic outlet for the next nineteen years. When a friend wanted to buy a painting of my daughter’s, which she refused to sell, I set up an easel and did an oil painting for him. I had forgotten the joy that comes from painting and suddenly I couldn’t get enough of it!

Spring Beauty
(click to view)

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?


One day, ten years ago, I came across an encaustic in an art exhibit and was fascinated. I began trying to learn the technique, which very few people seemed to know about then. The beauty of encaustic for me is that it combines three of my favorite artistic methods. Encaustic uses melted wax, which I had used in my batik days, and oil paint, which is used to color the wax. The medium is so versatile that it also allows me to use my black and white photography to create toner transfers into the wax.

Black Fern
(click to view)

Which ones have "stuck" and which ones have fallen away? Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I no longer use a darkroom. My primary focus has become encaustic, although I’ve just begun to experiment with cold wax and oil paint, which I am really enjoying. I also plan to create a series of encaustic monoprints on paper, and perhaps some other forms of print making down the road.

Fire Escape NYC - M2
(click to view)

Who or what inspires you most?

My inspiration comes from the world around me. I am a nature girl who loves the ocean, hiking, woods and gardens, but I’m also drawn to architecture and the energy of metropolitan cities. I always seem to get a boost after going to a museum exhibit or a gallery show. Just seeing what other artists are creating is always inspirational.

What does procrastination look like for you?

Procrastination is such a dirty word and I know it well! Much as I love the computer and all it has to offer, it can take over if I’m not diligent. Of course there are a host of other things that love to play procrastinator too.

Red Purse
(click to view)

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

I begin each day by tackling whatever errands and appointments must be taken care of in the morning. My reward is spending the afternoon (and often into the evenings), working in the studio without the distraction of other things on the “to do” list.

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

A majority of ideas stem from my photography. I often go on photographic excursions with the sole purpose of gathering material to paint. I also use patterns I find in nature (such as rocks, wood, seaweed, etc.) to create more abstract pieces.

Maine Stone #5
(click to view)

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

I find travel to be a wonderful stimulus for creating “fresh” work.  Often times however, just going to a different part of New York City (I live nearby), opens me up to new ideas.

What makes you happiest about your art?   

I am so grateful to have something that I have loved doing all my life and that I can continue to do, till the end of my days!

Thanks, Heather!

© 2019 Sophie Marine

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