Thursday, July 4, 2019

DPW Spotlight Interview: Donna Theresa

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

From Donna's DPW Page:

As an emerging artist, I am choosing to see my surroundings differently. Whereas before, I glimpsed at the face of my loved one or a stranger on the street, an everyday apple or pear, or the hazy hills in the distance; today I see shape, value, texture, movement, and thus emotion and narrative. I imagine how I might render these observations and then I practice... I do not surrender to the voice of comparison. I carry on in a spirit of curiosity and gratitude that I may find my way. On that journey, I ultimately find a part of myself undiscovered. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

My passion for pastels started in a community college drawing class about three years ago. The instructor was introducing color using the pastel medium. I took one swipe of a chromatic orange stick and I remember thinking... "Now THIS is fun!" From there, I obsessively began learning online through Youtube tutorials from the best and most generous artists in our medium. I began entering exhibitions and getting accepted and it grew from there!

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

I paint daily... hence my membership in DPW! The only stops and starts in my budding painting career are a result of travel or other obligations.

(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I have taken figure drawing classes using graphite and charcoal. I experiment with underpainting mediums like watercolor, acrylic inks, and clear gesso for creating texture. I started with landscape paintings, dabbled in some still life, and recently moved into figurative genre painting birds... I challenged myself to a personal "painting a day" in January 2019 and produced quite a collection of lovely little birds!

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

Of those mediums, I am still passionate about pastels. I exclusively paint in pastel. My genre passion is landscape depicting seasons and I am particularly fond of marshlands. Along with that, I am still painting birds.

At Peace
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I would like to stretch myself into mixed media using collage and pastel someday. I am a representational artist with an impressionistic style... I would like to explore taking that into the expressionistic and abstract.

Who or what inspires you most?

Nature inspires me most. I am an avid bird watcher... an activity I share with my husband. I am constantly looking at the natural world around me and thinking to myself, "How could I render that?'

(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

So I am one of the most industrious persons I know. Procrastination is not in my vocabulary! I have always been this way.

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

Staying organized in my personal life, managing the household (I have two adult children who live here while on break from college, and four cats!!) early in the day, practicing my piano before noon, eating a good lunch and then spending the afternoon in my studio with a good cup of coffee, listening to a book on tape or to classical music... That is my perfect day.

Poppy Abstract
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

My ideas come from my observations of the natural world.  I study other artists that I admire and glean ideas from them. I participate in a small private art group where we have a weekly painting challenge on a particular subject or genre. I also love to look back at photos from our family travels around the world.

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

How do I keep my art fresh... I experiment with various underpainting techniques. I paint small and often. I often paint alla prima (all at once)... I have yet to burn out. You see, I am a retired nurse by profession, a mom of two adult college children, and this new passion is just that... NEW! I play piano, dance ballet, study french and have been known to perform improv comedy... nothing holds my attention like painting with pastels. At the easel or out in the field, I never think about anything except my next mark.

Evening Time
(click to view)

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

Right now I am learning to do only what I want to do... I am letting go of trying to make a business out of art making because I really don't enjoy that aspect of being an artist. I will promote my work and share my work in the manner that suits me, like posting to DPW, participating in national and international exhibitions, and being an Open Studio artist once a year here in lovely Santa Cruz, California. I am letting go of comparison and staying in the spirit of curiosity... which ultimately leads to my joy.

What makes you happiest about your art?

What makes me happiest about my art is the vibrant color that the pastel medium affords me!!! There is nothing more exciting than taking a stick of a luscious soft pastel stick and making a big bold mark on a fresh piece of sanded paper! Makes me giddy. :) I also, love to share my work with others because I want to share the joy of art making with everyone.

Thanks, Donna!

© 2019 Sophie Marine

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