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.
(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.
(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.
(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.
© 2019 Sophie Marine