Thursday, December 19, 2019

DPW Spotlight Interview: Csaba Tibor Palotas

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

From Csaba's DPW Gallery Page:

Hi, I am Csaba. I am passionate and enthusiastic /mad/ about painting. I love the smell, the texture and the unlimited possibilities that oil paint offers. I love the way it moves too!

To me, to paint is equal to bringing something alive. It doesn't necessarily mean creating a photorealistic likeness but to awake an emotion, feeling maybe a thought. My opinion is that a painting should look like a painting; therefore, I am constantly on the search of the border where the brushstrokes transform to "the object/subject of painting" but remain brushstrokes and paint.

Sometimes only the distance helps and sometimes unchecked blending happens.

I do my small size paintings from life, and that includes my small landscapes as well.

I have to say thank you to Carol, for her book and for the inspiration.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

First, I started tattooing. It was much easier to see a career out of it than traditional art would offer. It had some very appealing mystical qualities to it, and the subject matter would always vary by customers. So I started with that.

Later, when my father passed away, I wanted to create an oil painting for our family. This was my initial entrance to oil painting. The more I painted, the more I loved it.

I don't think my personal history is critical, so I keep it to a minimum. Everyone has highs and lows in life. When I experienced the very lows in my life, I found that life has a whole spiritual dimension to it which I had ignored for so long. This was a profound change and got me out of the self-pity state. Spirituality became my subject and bonded with oil painting. I found my "ikigai", the Japanese term for "reason for being".

I don't consider myself particularly talented. As a matter of fact, everything came late to me, so I don't claim an early start advantage. I would rather be an inspiration to those starting late.

Bread and Water
(click to view)

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

What do you think about art?

Hard question, it would be a bold statement if I could define art. I guess everyone has to find their own ideas about it. I would be happy to share my thinking points. All art is an imitation. It sounds like a platonic expression. Still, I am not sure exactly what Plato's idea was about art, and I have no chance to discuss it with him, so let me explain how I think about it. I don't mean that it is fake or has copyright issues. It is easy to see it in representational art like painting, where the artist reproduces what is in front of him. It is much harder to find in poetry, music, pottery, dance, knitting, cooking or writing. But if we look through our sensory apparatus, seeing, smelling, hearing, tasting, touching (I like to include the mind too), we feel something, an emotion is awakened. So the artist reproduces, imitating this feeling or emotion by creating something that other people, by experiencing the artwork, can feel too. It becomes universal as felt again and again by many unique individuals. It becomes especially valuable if it touches us.

So the first cornerstone of art is the expression of the felt feeling. This is, in some cases, not even conscious. The most common moving emotion is beauty. Beauty is present in everything around us, and nature provides us with plenty of perfectly imperfect beautiful subjects.

The second point is the creation process. It includes at least a human being.

It has to have "the human touch". The artist is a god to his creation.

Creativity is present in everyone, but not everyone realises that. It is the task of the individual to drive that out. No one can tell where those areas are, as it is self-discovery. It could be hard, but once it is dug out, and surfaces, life becomes much easier. Here we arrive at passion.

When it comes to my art, I like to combine painting with writing. In a landscape painting, even a title is too much or unnecessary. Images or visual art is a passive thing. They communicate something to you or not. Still, sometimes I feel I want to write about it, not to explain but to generate thoughts or feelings with the combination of artwork.

Painter's Primary Sandwich
(click to view)

Where do you find beauty?

I find it easy to discover beauty around us. Just colours on their own carry emotions; it has been proven by many great abstract artists. Simply drawn lines can store energy. A movement can have grace. Letters can form words, and words can change lives. So there is a vast majority of options for finding beauty. When I really looked at it, what is for me the most beautiful first came to me as the female beauty. But when I looked more in-depth, and I took out sexuality, I ended up thinking of artworks and creations of human beings. I could not decide which was most touching, but Philip de Laszlo's portraits and Raphael's drawing ranked very high. But then a scene came to my mind when I visited Masca, in Tenerife. On the way up to the village, we stopped and looked at the panorama presented by wild nature. There were trees, high rocky cliffs with misty semitransparent fainted fog, revealing the incredible depth underneath us. The air was filled with the smell of jasmine with a touch of ocean scent. That's it, I thought!

The depth, the vastness and the blues of the sea with the colours of the sky were one of the most beautiful scenes I had ever witnessed. This made me realise that nature is the most beautiful thing. Nothing else would make me feel more alive and present than a 360-round panorama of limitlessness, the wild variety of colours, texture smells and sounds of nature. So my answer is nature.

Toilet Paper and the Divine
(click to view)

What are the most essential things an artist must have?

This applies to me; can't say it's right for everyone. I found two things, and they conflict with each other. One of those is self-discipline. It is the core of the artist, aiming for mastery, knowing that he/she can never fully reach it, but still keep going at it. In her book, Writing Down the Bones, Natalie Goldberg mentions that her teacher, a zen monk, suggested that she make her writing her daily "practice". Meaning that she should do writing daily and let it become her spiritual practice.

It resonated with me, and I knew that drawing and painting is my such "practice". It needs self-discipline. The goal is to get in the flow state.

The other part of self-discipline is finding the demons and ruling them all. If the artist fails to do that, it will tear him/her apart.

The second thing is freedom. The artist must have the freedom to go through rules, to use any tools to be able to make his expression. The only thing that should control him/her is his self-discipline and his moral compass; to me, that includes honesty too.

(click to view)

Science and art, do you think they link together?

It did for a good few artists, one of those was Leonardo. So yes, I think there is a connection. The pattern is that in science, everything continuously proves itself wrong, while still rapidly advancing. Think about this, most of the things we can translate to numbers. Painting by number is not what I have in mind. Printing process, yes, music, movement, etc. Mathematics and physics are behind everything. There is still so much to discover; however, we feel we know everything. I like to keep an open mind and see where I can combine science into my art. The statement: "I am an artist, not a mathematician!" falls short if we would know how much calculation our brain does while we organically, flowingly rub our brushes to the canvas.

Geometry and symmetry are present in the human body, and any artwork has a level of composition. Golden ratio, the Fibonacci sequence can be found in nature, so it has to have a place in an artist's work too.

How do you keep your art fresh?

To me fresh it means that it is painted from life. I include that in my daily practice of painting. The more life painting the better. Sometimes I use photographs too /not fresh. :)

Portrait of Reverend Willard
(click to view)

How do you avoid burnout?

My goal is to burn out. If I don't burn out, I don't express everything I possibly can before I die, I have to come back, and I don't know how to do that. So I aim to burn out. I want to be able to "renounce the world " before I die. I don't see burning out as a bad thing. It is a change in the progress of one's journey, the next step, or a "level up". I visualise life as an upward spiral. I don't want to attach unnecessary fear to the natural process of change.

I am aware of human suffering, and I am not an exception to that. It is a different subject. Suffering relates to the ego. Things not working out as we wanted them and it's painful.

As simple as it sounds, so hard to get through it. Walk-in nature and any physical activity, or sport can help to pass those feelings. 

What makes you happiest about your Art?

It feels good to look back and see some of those paintings I did in the past, they might not be perfect, but all of those are the steps in my progress. Even more fulfilling if someone decides to pay money for it to include in his/her home. My real goal is to give, and it might sound "cliche", but I believe that evolution has a forward motion. On top of that forward motion is humankind. I found that "giving", and "service" is what contribute best to the forward movement. I wish that my art aligned to that. If those expressions I create touches someone, I am glad, that is my purpose and makes me happy.

Thanks, Csaba!

© 2019 Sophie Marine

Thursday, December 12, 2019

DPW Spotlight Interview: Rachel Petruccillo

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

From Rachel's DPW Gallery Page:

I'm an artist. It took me a long time to call myself that despite wanting to be an artist for most of my life.

It's not an unusual story among artists, I loved creating art as a child and by the time I was a teenager, it was the only thing I wanted to do with my life.

If only it had been that easy!
(click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I started to paint seriously a few years ago. Although I went to an art college, my major was sculpture so I took only the required painting classes. As a child, my parents were supportive of my interest in making art. My mother brought me to art classes and art museums. I also spent many hours learning about wood working and photography from my father. It was in college when I secretly started wanting to be a painter. Looking back, I realize that much of my sculpture work was practically two-dimensional!

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

For nearly a decade, I made almost no art at all. I moved to New York City straight out of college with seriously grand delusions of becoming a professional artist. The problem was, I had no idea how to make that happen. I didn't have the discipline or tools necessary so I quickly found myself on a completely different path. That path led to a fourteen year career in marketing which provided a lot of opportunities and allowed me to travel the world but there was very little art in my life during those years. Part of the reason I didn't make art for so long was due to some limiting beliefs surrounding inspiration and what it means to be a "real" artist. The past six years since I left my first career have been so life-altering that I started to blog about my return to art. I hope my experience might help other artists realize it isn't too late!

Thrown Thunder
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

When I returned to making art, I started with a pencil. I began drawing bizarre candid portraits from photographs I had taken in my travels. When I decided to start painting a few years later, I needed something I could do on my kitchen counter so I used watercolor. I continued with portraiture and figurative work for a while. As I'm an avid fan of cycling, I've also done a lot of cycling-themed paintings and drawings. More recently, my focus has been landscape and still-life, and I use primarily acrylic and acrylic gouache. I've found that incorporating mixed media such as water-soluble pastels, charcoal pencils and embroidery thread helps me create a more layered surface and highlights elements that are important to me.

Sweets to the Wind
(click to view)

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

I've wanted to paint semi-abstract landscapes ever since college so I believe this will be a theme I'll stay with for a while. Watercolor doesn't appear on my palette too often now but the beauty of water-based media is that it can be used together so I'm sure it will appear in my work from time to time.   

Rising Out of the Mist (Cliffs of Moher)
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

My new obsession is gouache and using watercolor ground on wood panels. Also, this year I attended a demo on yupo (a synthetic paper) by artist Gretchen Warsen and I'm intrigued by the possibilities I've begun to see with some initial pieces.

Who or what inspires you most?

Open spaces inspire me. Whether it is an alpine pasture or low rolling fields, I love broad vistas. The changing light and the way it falls on the landscape captures my attention. I like to look for the place in the landscape where that transition in the atmosphere exists. Perhaps it is the drama of these kind of places that intrigue me. There are so many living artists whose work inspires me as well – although there is no comparison to seeing artwork in person, I do feel fortunate to have access to so much work online.

Slant of Light (County Kerry, Ireland)
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Fourteen years in a marketing career

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

Earlier this year, I started a daily painting practice. I have been making art somewhat regularly for years but my practice was inconsistent. Often I had trouble getting started so I thought a structured daily project would help. My husband suggested painting my cup of coffee every day. I did it religiously every day for more than one hundred days and found that in addition to the daily paintings, I became much more prolific. I've also become very protective of my creative time. It helps that I'm not a very social person, I'm happy to stay in for days on end!

Coffee Painting, Day 22, Cuppadaypainting
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

As I've gravitated to landscape painting recently, I find myself not just admiring nature but wanting to closely observe it so I can try to translate what I see and feel with paint. Sometimes a color combination or even a shadow will stop me in my tracks. I take pictures to help me remember something inspiring I've seen.   

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

A short attention span and the thrill of new materials help me avoid burnout and keep my work fresh! I work on a lot of pieces simultaneously and try new materials often. I also allow myself to change direction if I have lost my enthusiasm for a subject. Art-related podcasts and videos are also great sources of inspiration for me. If I need a creative jolt, I'll listen to or watch one of my favorites.

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

I'm learning how to focus and dig deeper. My focus is on a new series inspired by my travels in Ireland. I want to really delve into how those landscapes feel to me and figure out how to express that in paint.   

Silence to its Edge (Cliffs of Moher, Ireland)
(click to view)

What makes you happiest about your art?

The process of making art is what brings me the most pleasure. I love the solitude of it. I love the time when my mind is clear and I'm just freely creating something. It's so hard to quiet my mind enough to get into that zone but it's the best feeling.

Thanks, Rachel!

© 2019 Sophie Marine

Thursday, December 5, 2019

DPW Spotlight Interview: Diane Van Noord

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

From Diane's DPW Gallery Page:

Wonderfully happy color, color harmony, shape, rhythm, and surface texture are my greatest inspirations for how I paint, and I choose subjects that I can paint with expression that are just right for my inspirations. And of course, using palette knives to paint these inspirations is my "home sweet home" painting tool. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

From the time I was a child, I was considered an artist and encouraged in my creative ways, especially by my father who himself was very creative, introducing me to painting and teaching me to sew, and by my aunt who was an artist and interior designer. The usual childhood art projects filled my life and I always loved to be outdoors as much as possible. I think being outdoors so much is what connected me early on to the landscape. Later on when in college, I studied studio art and some interior design. These gave me good foundations in the basic principles of art.

Even though I always saw myself as an artist and wanted to be a painter, I didn’t seriously pursue painting until my early thirties. My growing young family was my priority, and after my children were all in school, I was able to devote much more of my time to learning to paint well.

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

Once I started painting with professional intentions I painted regularly, attended many workshops with professional artists, was mentored for five years by a professional artist, and began submitting my paintings to juried exhibitions. I also learned to paint plein air, painting in plein air events along with my indoor work.

I painted on the dining room table, setting up and taking down each day. I’ve always said all I need is a 3’ by 5’ space to paint! If you want to paint, you make it work. My dining room beginnings were a sort of daily start and stop. Eventually, I had my own studio space in the house.

The biggest interruption I’ve had as a painter was several years ago beginning about 2008 when I was experiencing challenging family difficulties combined with a terrible economy. It was a struggle to stay on track during the next several years, as I often felt frustrated and personally defeated and in a general state of discouragement because of the difficult financial times. My marketing suffered.

But I never stopped painting, even though I didn’t paint as often. It was mostly out of frustration during those years that I allowed myself to explore a variety of painting styles. I did not realize until later how much those years of frustration where exactly what my art and soul needed emotionally and I learned more about myself as an artist.

And naturally, there are the mini stops and starts that come with the demands of any ordinary life.

Taste of Tropics
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I began my art journey with drawing and watercolor classes. I painted in watercolor for about ten years. Watercolor is such a great teacher for learning to put down a first stroke of great quality paint.  Following watercolor, I learned to paint in acrylics, mixed media, collage, pastels, and oils. Two years ago I began learning how to paint with oil and cold wax. I love it all!

My primary subject is landscape, and I love to paint animals and individual flowers and birds. Over the years, realism, impressionism, expressionism, abstraction, and stylization have been incorporated into my work.

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

Painting landscapes in oil with palette knives is my “home sweet home”. Oil has been my medium and palette knives have been my method for the last twenty years. The palette knife “fits” me perfectly as I am a very messy painter. I find I’m most genuine with the freedom of a combination of realistic expressionism, impressionism, and some stylization.

Cabbage Farm
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I plan to continue with palette knife oil painting indefinitely and paint with watercolor from time to time. I am very intrigued with abstract realism and would like to explore that using oils and cold wax.

Who or what inspires you most?

Beautiful color has always inspired me, as do shapes, surface textures, good composition, and a sense of rhythm or movement through the picture plane. My favorite subjects are the mountains, fields, and shorelines of the landscape, individual flowers, and animals.

I have studied with many wonderful professional artists in their workshops over the years, and I was mentored for five years by Bill Herring who taught me so much about composition and about being an artist in the marketplace. I especially love the work of Gregory Kondos, Georgia O’Keefe, and Jeanne Dobie, and some contemporary Australian painters because of their gorgeous color choices.

Sweetie Pie
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

When I let myself get discouraged and discount myself through poor self-talk, that notorious critical inner voice, and when I let other things take priority that shouldn’t, is when I can become a procrastinator. Sometimes it is when I am not sure what I want to paint next. I learned long ago about staying with the hard work of “doing what I don’t want to do to become who I do want to become”, and also about engaging the self-discipline of recognizing negative thinking, ridding myself of it with purpose, and then do what I don’t want to do even if I don’t feel like it. We all need heroes. Sometimes we need to be our own hero.

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

I keep my calendar clear of everything unnecessary during the week and try to work in my studio from ten to five every day. In the evening is when I do most of my computer work.

Landscape Sixty Four
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I love the outdoors and take a lot of photos for painting references, or paint plein air. The photos serve as a starting point for helping me understand what I want to say in a painting about the scene, etc.

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

Taking regular short breaks about every ninety minutes when painting is very important for staying fresh. Allowing myself to fail at achieving a successful painting and destroy paintings that aren’t good keeps are powerful teachers. Looking at other artists’ paintings to simply enjoy them and consider what draws me to another's artistic expression helps me see with a fresh eye. I listen to my own artist’s heart by experimenting in some way from time to time. And I regularly pray about my work and my art.

Blueberry Wine
(click to view)

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

That a true artist never sacrifices their gift and their calling because of failure, criticism or discouragement. I am reminding myself daily to always dream big, stay focused, plan ahead, to never give up, to believe in my God given abilities and value as an artist in this crazy big world loaded with visual images. I am learning continually that I really do have an innate and unique way of expressing myself and that I need to remain true to that, whether or not anyone likes what I create. I love being in my studio. It is a home to me, even if there are times when I sit in my chair and do nothing but appreciate the creative space, the possibilities and the hope that fill it, because it is an anchor for me.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I am happiest about my art when someone buys a painting of mine that we both realize was meant to be theirs. It is very meaningful to me as an artist to have satisfied the heart and soul of another person with my art. I am thrilled to sell my paintings to people who love them. I am also very happy when mixing paint and preparing my palette. I love the tactile feel of painting in oil with the palette knife. It can seem a little like sculpting on canvas. It is God’s gift to me that I was called to be an artist and create paintings that are my response to and personal interpretation of his beautiful and magnificent natural world.

Thanks, Diane!

© 2019 Sophie Marine