Thursday, August 1, 2019

DPW Spotlight Interview: Gabriele Kolb

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

From Gabriele's DPW Page:

I am a Brooklyn, New York based painter and water-colorist and have been painting since childhood. I found great satisfaction creating custom pet portraits and have been doing that for over 15 years.

After sampling colored pencils in 2017 I fell in love with the medium, and has been my medium of choice since. Working with colored pencils allows me to create highly detailed photo realistic paintings.

Tell us about how you first started painting.

Started drawing as a child, I am primarily self-taught. I attended the Fashion Institute of Design, majoring in textile design. A good deal of my work in school included floral patterns and I developed a strong interest in botanical watercolor. My passion for dog portraits started with my beautiful Golden Retriever Midas. He was getting older and I wanted to capture him on canvas before he was gone.

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

As a career, my painting started in New Mexico with my sister-in-law producing fabulous hand painted pet feeders that sold in boutiques throughout the country. After moving back to our SoHo loft, I gave up the feeders to join the artists in the neighborhood selling my pet portraits - voilĂ  SOHOPets. Now that I am retired I can devote my entire day to doing what I love.

(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I have tried watercolor and acrylic, and have now found my true passion - colored pencil. I love the ability to get the fine detail to produce a photorealistic result.

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

I have, for the moment, committed completely to colored pencils, so watercolor and acrylic are on hold for the time being.

Jack Russell... lets play ball!
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I have always been intrigued by pastels and looking forward to giving pastel pencils a try, as much as I love doing pet portraits I am curious to try my hand at a still life and landscapes, also pastel looks like a good medium for wild animals. I want to challenge myself to do a large painting of one of the big cats.

Who or what inspires you most?

My husband inspires me to paint everyday and he is my biggest fan and gentle critic but always encouraging. Some of the artists that have inspired me are Chuck Close for his amazing large photo realistic portraits. Bonny Snowdon's wonderful colored pencil tutorials have been an inspiration and my work has improved immeasurably with her guidance. Gemma Gilling introduced me to suede mat board, one of my favorite surfaces to work on for animals. I also learned a great deal from Cynthia Knox and Karen Hull who are all fabulous colored pencil artists.

English Bulldog
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Too much social media in the morning – just a few hundred more Instagram posts to review while I finish my morning cappuccino. It can steal a lot of valuable painting time. Another block comes if I have a commission to paint but have terrible photos of the subject. I find myself doing everything else but starting the work.

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

It takes discipline to paint every day, which I try to do. I am always exploring new techniques and working to expand my skills and that adventure drives me to put in the time.

(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I do many commission portraits. I get my inspiration from the photos they provide. I also spend time surfing the net for great reference photos and following the work of accomplished color pencil artists.

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

By taking on-line video classes, finding new papers, new pencils, discovering new skills, techniques and hard work.

(click to view)

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

That there is so much more to learn about my new medium of colored pencils. The most important thing for me right now is working on improving my technique, so I need to paint every day to get better and better. The complexity of color layers and mixing values to achieve precise effects is daunting.

What makes you happiest about your art?

The moment the eyes are done and the subject is looking back at me, I can feel the animal's spirit, that’s magic! Great reviews from clients and fans on-line are a joy as well. I feel extremely grateful to be doing what I love to do!

Thanks, Gabriele!

© 2019 Sophie Marine

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