Friday, December 4, 2020

DPW Spotlight Interview: Elizabeth Blanchard

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

From Elizabeth's DPW Gallery Page:

I am a native and current resident of the Tidewater area of Virginia (now referred to as Hampton Roads). I still get to visit the home where I grew up in Portsmouth where my parents still live. My growing up years on the Elizabeth River, family boat trips up the Chesapeake Bay, summers of crabbing and fishing on the pier, and later trips to the Outer Banks of NC have influenced my bent toward anything water. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

In 2011 I found myself a stressed out homeschool mom of three. I needed something outside of kids and home, so I tried to remember what I did before marriage and kids. Art! I used to love art, so I called my friend to sign up with me for a six week oil painting class. That session turned into another and another while I started teaching art at our homeschool co-op, which led to teaching K-12 at a school, which then transitioned to teaching privately. I am back to homeschooling and back as the teacher in the oil painting class that started it all.

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

I had a twelve year break after my college years until I started painting again in 2011.

Behind Saint John's Church
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I have tried just about everything from wire sculptures to pyrography, to printing, to clay, to collage, to packing tape body sculptures, among many other projects in preparation to teach art. Teaching kids is a great way to get out of a rut, out of your comfort zone, and to appreciate styles you never would try for yourself. Apart from teaching, I have tried watercolors, gouache, acrylics, pastels, and pencil.

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

I find it difficult to work on watercolors and oils simultaneously, so I rarely use watercolors anymore.  Pastels and acrylics are also on the back burner right now.

The Cow Painting
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

Gouache is a medium I’d really like to work on and learn how to use well. Also I need to get my 16 year old daughter to teach me how to paint digitally.

Who or what inspires you most?

The most powerful and meaningful source of inspiration is my Lord, Savior, and Friend Jesus Christ.  I see Him in the beauty, order, and unpredictability of creation. Painting is my way of worship and meditation. If I have something in my ear while I’m painting, it will be worship music of some kind. Secondly, I find help, inspiration, and instruction from contemporary artists, whether online or local. I learn so much from fellow artists.

Quilted Light
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

It looks like homeschooling, potty training, dirty laundry, dishes, cooking, driving someone somewhere, or playing word games on my phone. It’s not hard to find an excuse to put off working on that painting.

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

Teaching my weekly oil painting class forces me to keep painting, thinking about painting, get out of the house, be with other artists, and keep pushing myself to learn more in order to teach others.

Boogie Boarding
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I go outside.  I try to paint local and the things and places I know. I rarely paint anything I haven’t seen or experienced first hand.

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

Burnout happens to me when I push too hard for a finished product. I have to be ok with failing, with taking my time, and not thinking about the deadline. I go back to focusing on it being an act of worship.  I do think that those times when nothing is working and I can’t put out a decent painting, are the times I’m doing to most growing as an artist. Those seasons are productive in unseen ways.

Crab on a Plate
(click to view)

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

There are so many things to learn! I think I'm figuring out better what kind of painter I want to be and narrowing down my style. What is important and what isn’t. I’m learning to be more worshipful.

What makes you happiest about your art?

Every painting is an accomplishment.

Windsor-B
(click to view)

Thanks, Elizabeth!

© 2020 Sophie Marine

Thursday, November 26, 2020

DPW Spotlight Interview: Priscilla Olson

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

From Priscilla's DPW Gallery Page:

Biography

Priscilla Olson grew up in Midland, Michigan, but spent her professional life in the Chicago area as a commercial animator and plein air painter.  Since returning to Midland in 2011, she has been participating in painting evets around the state, exhibiting, selling and receiving awards for her work.  Priscilla continues to be an active plein air painter and enjoys sharing and promoting this activity throughout the Great Lakes Bay Region.

Artist's Statement

I like wondering - not so much knowing - about the subject.  It is curiosity that compels me to choose my themes.  My paintings represent the feeling of anticipation and mystery that the subject evokes in me.  I enjoy viewing art that poses open questions.  My goal is to create work that invites you to imagine.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting:

As a little girl, I got lots of encouragement and praise for my drawings and paintings, so I kept at it!  I’ve always been involved in making art, in one way or another, but it wasn’t until I became a professional animator that I really learned to draw competently.  My real preference is for painting, and I started developing my skills in that medium while working professionally as an animator.  While I loved and valued the experience of working as part of a team (in animation) I have come to enjoy the solitary activity of painting.

Morning Light
(click to view)

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

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

Not really.  I started to dedicate my off-work hours to painting and drawing early on, when I started in the animation industry, and, now that I’ve left that profession, I get to paint more!

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

In the animation industry, I worked with all sorts of media: modeling clays for stop motion, and a variety of drawing media for the less conventional spots that we did (before digital).

I enjoy sculpting as an exercise for understanding form.  I’ve painted in watercolor, acrylic, oil and pastel.  I can’t take pastel, because putting it to paper gives me the same feeling as when I start to bite into a peach.  I can hardly stand the texture!  My favored medium is oil paint.  I like painting people in an environment, but not so much portraits.  I like painting still lifes, but mostly for practice.  Landscape is where it’s at, for me.

Tucked Away
(click to view)

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

Oil paint is by far my favorite.  I concentrate on this medium, and try not to get enchanted by other media.  There is already so very much to learn!  I have done a fair amount of research into making the particular kind of surface I want, and right now I’m in a place where I’m just concentrating on the content and technique of making compelling and interesting images.

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I’m interested in doing more figurative work at some point. In oil paint.

Bird's Eye View
(click to view)

Who or what inspires you most?

All of nature, mainly.  But, in addition, I spark to the writings of John Ruskin, John Carlton, Harold Speed, and several others from long ago.

I also get much inspiration from studying the landscape drawings of the Renaissance Dutch masters and others.  I have found good reference from old museum catalogs in used book shops and, now, online.

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

I try to keep my mornings untouched by any other concerns.

At Grandpa Tiny's #2
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I paint outside frequently.  I decide on a destination, then go there to paint.  Sometimes it’s difficult to find a view that sparks my imagination, but that’s just part of it.  So I’ll focus on a spot that may not interest me, just to get going. The challenge then becomes how to make the scene work on canvas.  Other times, it seems like the painting just appears in stages as I look on!

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

I stay interested by reading, doing exercises, sometimes copying a small part of someone’s painting that I admire in an attempt to find out what it is like to make this stroke, mix that color, etc.

I do studies, where the commitment is less, but the likelihood of understanding something new is greater.

Local Color
(click to view)

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

I’m currently learning what’s been studied regarding the genesis of art by early hominids.

What makes you happiest about your art?

Painting when I know I’m going in the right direction.  And to have a painting that I did resonate with a collector!

Violet and Lily
(click to view)

Thanks, Priscilla!

© 2020 Sophie Marine

Thursday, November 19, 2020

DPW Spotlight Interview: Samira Yanushkova

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

From Samira's DPW Gallery Page:

I am watercolor artist
I want to share the news. I won the international competition the "Golden Brush" in Turkey 2020. More info here 

Exhibitions:
2018 🇺🇦IWS Ukraine, international Watercolor Exhibition
2018 🇨🇿IWS Czech Republic
2019 🇲🇲Myanmar 1st International Watercolor Art Festival Myanmar “Peaceful Golden Heritage 2019”
2019 🇻🇳 Vietnam Cambodia "3ª International Watercolor Biennale 2019 “Watercolor & Peace”
2019 🇷🇴Romania Bucharest IWS Romania 1st International Watercolor Festival
2019 🇮🇹Italia Fabriano
2019 🇮🇹Italia UrbinoInAcquerello

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I was born into a family of artists, so my toys were pencils and paints. I have been drawing since early childhood. During my school years, I helped my parents do their art work: I painted portraits in oils, drew cartoons, and developed street advertising.

Still life onion with frame
(click to view)

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

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

There was a short stop after the baby was born.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

Yes, I tried to work in different techniques and genres: Sculpture, ceramics, stained glass, engraving, cartoons, glass engraving, oil, illustration, abstraction.

Meeting place
(click to view)

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

Realism, watercolor, drawing. They have disappeared at the moment: oil, sculpture, but I am still interested in these materials.

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

Oil, sculpture.

Onions in a cauldron original watercolor painting
(click to view)

Who or what inspires you most?

Inspired by sunlight on objects and faces, inspired by nature combined with watercolors.

What does procrastination look like for you?

In my case, this is perfectionism. I want to do the job perfectly and I'm afraid to ruin it. My husband inspires and supports me and gives me confidence, so this condition rarely occurs.

Cityscape watercolor original painting
(click to view)

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

A clean workplace, new art materials, exhibitions, ideas in my head make me go to the studio and draw.

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Being in nature, at the sea, in the garden, I look at the forms, follow the light and imagine how it can be depicted in watercolors, make sketches, ask questions and try to find the answer.

Landscape of Forester's House
(click to view)

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

Freshness of art "Positive!" I enjoy simple things like a child. I try to see only advantages in everything. I love the sun and rain alike. I have a very cheerful family, she makes me smile and see the world in bright colors. With my creativity, I want to tell the world that it is beautiful.

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

Myself, trying to understand who I am and why I am here.

Metal Milk Can original watercolor painting
(click to view)

What makes you happiest about your art?

A viewer who experiences what I wanted to convey in the picture.

Thanks, Samira!

© 2020 Sophie Marine

Thursday, November 5, 2020

DPW Spotlight Interview: Nata Shray

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

From Nata's DPW Gallery Page:

Painting provides a path for me to express my emotions through a myriad of colors, textures, abstract shapes and forms. I work periodically in various techniques and like to experiment with different materials. I frequently throw paint at my canvas and let my creativity go free. Through my art I hope to move and inspire others, make them smile and encourage them to pursue their own dreams. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

It so happened that I am an architect-designer by training, although all my life from my earliest childhood I dreamed of being an artist. I started drawing as soon as I could hold a pencil in my hand, probably at the age of one and a half. My mother kept my early works, which show a bright temperament and a penchant for impressionist style.

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

I started painting constantly in 2013. Before that, I worked as an interior designer. I paint pictures every day and I'm not going to stop. My daily routine is what gives me a constant flow of energy. Besides, now I sell paintings and this is my income.

Vermont Fall
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I experimented with oil paints, acrylics, pastels, and watercolors. I love painting landscapes. I love nature and travel. I have lived in Thailand for many years and the nature of Asia inspired me to create. And now I live in a very beautiful mountain country of Turkey. I've never been to the United States, but I want to visit beautiful national parks. For materials I like oil paints, watercolors, dry pastels, but also sometimes I paint with acrylics and oil pastels. Changing materials gives me the opportunity to experiment and not get bored.

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

This is a cyclical process. Something temporarily disappears, and then sticks again. It's like the spirals of a galaxy. I love color in painting, so all the materials that give me bright colors are suitable for me.

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

Every time I dive into a material or story, I explore something new even in familiar things. I would like to explore pastels more deeply. Try professional brands of pastels and crayons that are made by hand. Crayons that are made by hand are very expensive, my goal is to buy them and try to paint a picture with them.

Who or what inspires you most?

Most of all, I am inspired by travel and nature. Hiking. I also have a video blog on YouTube and I am very inspired to communicate with other artists. I've been doing live broadcasts lately, we talk a lot, and it gives me inspiration for creativity.

Hawaii Beach
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

I'm a very happy person because I don't have procrastination periods. If I have forced breaks, I look forward to picking up the paint again and starting to create.

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

Since I only work as an artist, I spend my full time working on art. I draw pictures, meditate, and contemplate. My time is totally saturated with art. Painting is my main activity, so I always have enough time for it.

Birch Tree
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings? 

I love National Geographic films very much, they inspire me to create and give me ideas for paintings.

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

I meditate and do energy practices. They feed me and charge me with creative energy.

Tuscany Lavender Fields
(click to view)

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

In the last year, I switched from large formats to small picture formats. That's why I registered an account on Daily Paintworks. Now this is my study of the possibilities of miniature painting. Recently, I began to draw with a wide flat brush in the sketch technique. It turns out very quickly and effectively.

What makes you happiest about your art?

Painting for me is everything: the Meaning, and the Path and the Goal. This is my meditation, understanding Myself. This is life itself, because drawing for me, like breathing, is a necessity. This process is magical for me. At the moment, I sell only finished paintings.

Taking a brush in my hands, I plunge into a special state of consciousness - artists call it the Creative Flow. That's why I like to sell ready-made paintings more, it is in the stream that really strong paintings are born.

Red Poppies
(click to view)

Thanks, Nata!

© 2020 Sophie Marine

Thursday, October 29, 2020

DPW Spotlight Interview: Nigel Williams

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings. To enter to win Nigel's painting "Aubergines Study #3" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Nigel's DPW Gallery Page:

Acrylic painter and guitarist from St Maarten. Trying to capture the magic of the sunny Caribbean regardless of subject matter.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I grew up on the island of St Maarten at the Little Bay Hotel. My dad was the head electrician and on-call 24/7, so we lived in a little house on the premises. I used to roam around the place all the time and befriended a watercolor artist who used to sit outside her room and paint scenes of the ocean. She lived in the Netherlands but would visit the island regularly because her husband worked for the hotel. She would bring me brushes, paint, and paper and showed me how to paint with watercolor. Before that, I used the old staple, the Crayola Crayon, and colored pencils. When I was around nine I was headed to the beach one day and saw a guy painting these 5x5 beach scenes in watercolor. He would knock them out real quick and stick a $15 price tag on them. $15 to a nine-year-old in the ’80s was a lot of pocket change. With that kind of dough, you could be king of the arcade. I never realized until that point that you could earn money from your art. I had learned to paint the same type of scenes from my artist friend so I figured why not try to earn some pocket money from something I did every day anyway. I figured I would do better than that guy if I sold my art in the hotel lobby at night instead of infringing on his territory at the beach. The market couldn’t bear two guys painting the same subject matter right? And besides, who went to the beach with extra cash to buy a painting anyway? The lobby was perfect because there was a casino and it seemed to be a place where people left with untold riches. So I set up shop one night and started selling my work for $15 but was convinced by the manager of the hotel, whose son was my best friend, to sell them for $1. I wasn’t selling anything and he told me I probably needed more experience. A real nice way of telling me my art wasn’t worth $15. :) I looked at him like he was crazy. One dollar? After my bruised ego recovered, I realized here was this grown man sharing some wisdom with me so maybe I should listen. I dropped the prices to $1 and sold 20 paintings in a couple of hours. I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything.

Aubergines Study #3
(click to view)

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

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

Yeah, I became a musician. Hanging out in the lobby I was eventually exposed to live music. I would hear the sounds of various bands that would perform in the lounge right across from the casino. I got bit by the music bug and art became kinda boring. I was making good money painting. Enough to start buying musical instruments. I started off on drums but ended up on guitar eventually. I attended Berklee College of Music to study Music Education and still painted over the years but the music was my focus. I think I took my art for granted because it came so easy and I felt I could get back into it at any time. I would get inspired to paint every couple of years and get totally obsessed with it. I took some life drawing classes at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. A lot of my older pieces from my oil and pastel period are on display at several banks and government offices on the island. I used to date my work so I see the huge gaps in time from period to period. I look back at some of those pieces and cringe but they had a certain innocence I guess. My style is so different now.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

When I lived on the island I was into pastels and oils. I’ve dabbled in colored pencils and oil pastels also. I never did still life’s back then now that I think of it. Mostly landscapes, seascapes, and market scenes. I remember in my early days I made a still life in oil in a very classical style. It was grapes in a bowl. I did it because I wanted to break away from painting the same things all the time. I tried to sell it along with my other work but nobody cared for it. It probably wasn’t very good because I wasn’t passionate about it.

Cleaning Today's Catch
(click to view)

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

I think I’ve officially given up on watercolor because I can’t get that loose bold look. It’s funny because I had a watercolor book by Charles Reid and was always thinking wouldn’t it be cool to paint like that in another medium. I think I’m actually better at colored pencils than all the other mediums I’ve used but I find them tedious. If I can figure out how to really fix oil pastels I might get into those a little more. I thought they would be a good alternative when I have to travel but the paintings don’t travel well. I also love pastels but for health reasons, they aren't very good for me. When I moved to Los Angeles in the early 2000’s I lived in a small apartment with my wife at the time and the smell of oils wafting through our place wasn’t an option so I started exploring acrylics. I got a cheap set and took some lessons but it wasn’t until I took a course called Painting Fast, Loose, and Bold with Patti Mollica that I discovered their beauty. I sing her praises every chance I get because she literally coaxed out of me the style of painting I always wanted to create but just didn’t know how to. There was no formal instruction on painting loose and bold at the time that I knew of. We had a painting in the house by a Dutch artist and I remember when I stood close to it, it just looked like a cacophony of colors but from a distance, everything blended together perfectly. I remember finally getting the concept on the last painting, on the last day of the course, after I had mentally given up. I just started painting and not really worrying about details and the things that I would usually get hung up on. I had a eureka moment. Don’t think, just paint.

Ti Punch
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I’ve been seeing a lot of artists doing amazing work with Gouache. It’s such a luminous medium. I might just treat myself to a set for Christmas and see what happens.

Who or what inspires you most?

I’m inspired by life. There’s so much beauty in everything. For me, it’s good music, good art, and good food. I guess I like creating things. I grow my own food and I also make things like bread, mayo, and pasta from scratch. My fiancé jokingly asks me when I’m going to start churning my own butter all the time. Challenge accepted. Everything is a blank canvas in my world. When it comes to art I’m inspired by Sir Roland Richardson. He’s a Caribbean Impressionist and a national treasure. Crazy enough I’ve never asked him for advice on how to paint like him. I always felt his style was sacred. In fact, I was the same way with the other great artists who mentored me like Ruby Bute and the late Cynric Griffith. I never tried to paint like them. Mr. Griffith and I would go fishing and never really talked much about art. When I visit the island I always make time to check out Sir Roland’s gallery and Ruby has a couple of my paintings for sale in her gallery. Three distinctly different styles of artists but each had a profound effect on my development as a person. Be yourself at all times.

Ripe Guavas
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Getting caught in the social media vortex. IG, FB, and Youtube are all-consuming. I’m always watching “how-to” videos but have to be careful not to “study” so much that I don’t actually get anything done. Then I end up telling myself it’s ok because it’s for research.

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

I’ve been trying to get up early, exercise, and paint first thing in the morning. Life has a way of getting in the way so if I do it before my day officially gets started I have a better chance of accomplishing something. When the phone starts ringing it’s all over. If you truly take time inventory you’ll find that there's always 15 or 20 minutes of time throughout the day that you just kinda waste. I started walking with a really small sketchbook everywhere I go and if I have a spare minute standing in line to shop or whatever I try to sketch something. I try to do something creative every day. Even if that means cooking a fancy meal and trying to plate it as a master chef would.

Avocado Trio
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I feel like I have so much to learn. I choose subjects based on my mood. When I’m feeling nostalgic I'll paint something that reminds me of home. I love the Flamboyant Tree and making studies of them brings a smile to my face. They produce bright red flowers in the summer and the image of a stately red tree against a green Caribbean landscape is nature's basic lesson in how complementary colors work. I don’t think there’s any scene occurring naturally in nature where pure complementary colors are working in harmony like that.

I am trying to get better at subjects that I’ve shied away from because I always perceived them as being impossibly difficult. I was hiking one day with my fiancé and her friend and the subject of my art came up. Her friend challenged me to make a painting of a wine bottle and glass. I made all kinds of excuses like “I’m a Caribbean artist and I don’t do that.” I was having flashbacks of my failed classical grape painting. Besides, glass is about as hard to paint as hands and feet and so on it went. She said, “But if you don't practice, how will you get better at it”? Obviously, she had a great point, so I searched Youtube to see if I could find a video of Patti Mollica painting the same subject matter and the good ole internet didn’t let me down. Turns out it's not as difficult as it seems. It’s all about painting the shapes you see. Glass is now one of my favorite subjects to paint. I posted the painting on FB and 3 people reached out to me about it right away. I recently got a commission to do a portrait of a friend but I let her know that I wasn't really a portrait artist and explained how difficult it is to capture a likeness and blah blah blah. She told me “Nah, you can do it.” I agonized over that thing forever. I was constantly on Youtube watching every video I could about painting skin tones. I attempted it 3 times without success. I kept mixing this weird purple skin color no matter what I did. I got it on the 4th try after I relaxed and just painted as if I was a kid using paint for the first time. Portraits are definitely a harder subject matter to tackle but are really good exercises to see if you are paying attention to detail. You never know what you're capable of if you never step out of your comfort zone.

Flamboyant tree study #3
(click to view)

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

I feel like a kid that’s seeing the world for the first time so everything excites me. I read a great book called Effortless Mastery that puts a lot of how we get these mental blocks into perspective. The author observed that musicians seemed to have the most fun when they are just messing around on another instrument that isn't their principle. His theory is that if you call yourself a guitarist but are jamming on the drums, for example, you don’t have that pressure of sounding great because it’s not your principal instrument. You don’t call yourself a drummer so mistakes don’t matter but the minute you get back to playing your principal instrument you feel the weight sounding like the great musicians that have come before you. In your mind, you must be as good as so and so or you’re a failure. He had a piano teacher that made him play one note each lesson for a half hour. Just one note. The idea was to treat that one note as the most beautiful sound you’ve ever heard. The one that got me was when he posed the question: If you had a plastic bag over your head, after 20 seconds what’s important? After a minute? After two? Are you thinking about music at that point? His point was to not take what you do so seriously. Just have fun and enjoy the journey. That philosophy changed the way I approached the guitar and now I’m using it in my art. It’s very Zen.

Self Portrait: Trini’s Son
(click to view)

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

I’m truly learning to see better. With music, you have to learn to listen, with art you have to learn to see. 

What makes you happiest about your art?

I paint pretty pictures because that's how I perceive the world. I grew up in one of the most beautiful places on earth in my opinion and I try to convey those memories and feelings in the paintings I make. I believe that every color, like that one note, is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. I’m very happy when I paint something and it brings someone else the same joy that I felt while painting it. When someone feels so moved by something you created to purchase it, hang it on their wall, and look at it every day, that to me is an honor.

Thanks, Nigel!

© 2020 Sophie Marine

Thursday, October 22, 2020

DPW Spotlight Interview: Jeff Mott

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

From Jeffrey's DPW Gallery Page:

Born and raised on East Coast but living on West coast for last 20+ years. I come from an artistic family but made a career in the Tech world and have now recently retired. Currently residing in Tucson, AZ with my wife (my biggest supporter) and our many critters. I am self taught and have painted on and off for many years, exclusively in watercolor, and now hope to become a more regular painter. I enjoy loose and impressionistic styles (of all media) and struggle to simplify my work to meet these goals. I enjoy the outdoors and try to incorporate my many wanderings into a visual journey. Thanks for stopping by!

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting?

I started painting in my late thirties as a way to relax from my regular work. I come from an art family but chose a different career path into the world of Semiconductor fabrication and found I needed a distraction from that daily workload. I took a few Adult Education courses in watercolor painting and found this to be most rewarding. I continued playing with watercolor on and off as time went on.

Did you have stops and starts in your painting career?

Yes, I had way too many stops and starts, in my opinion. Changes in jobs, houses and states have played out over the last many years. We moved from the NY area to Tucson, AZ in 1998 and then to CA in 2013 and back to Tucson in 2020 all in support of my professional career. Time for art was not really possible during some of this period. I had done sketching during these years as it was easy to do and not time consuming but actually sitting down and painting was difficult during some of this time. I did some watercolor in the early 2000’s and I joined a watercolor group in Tucson from about 2002-2008 but demands of my career limited much of my art time after 2008.

Quiet Evening
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I have always used watercolor. Growing up in an art household with the aroma of turpentine, mineral spirits and varnish wafting about made me want to stay away from oils. I have pretty much stayed with landscape and nature painting. However, I am partial to railroad art as well, my interest in trains is a carry-over from my childhood and my father. I have never done figure work but might try that one day. My father told me that he never really became an artist until he could master life drawing and painting, the human form. He told me that over forty years ago and from what I read today about “learning” art that is still sound advice.

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

I guess that since I am hooked on watercolor, all other mediums have fallen away or I've at least not tried them yet.

Southern Pacific No.5
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I am not sure but there is a lot of nice work I have been seeing with gouache and that would seem to be a logical progression (or maybe a regression if you are a watercolor purist!) If you consider plein air a genre then that is something I have not done but plan to start.

Who or what inspires you most?

Wow! This could be a very long answer! In terms of who, there is the standard list of Sargent and Wyeth and for the modern day I admire Dean Mitchell, Andy Evanson and David Drummond’s work. From the UK I really like Richard Thorn and Robert Brindley’s work. But there are so many less known but extremely talented people, I am just scratching the surface with these names, just look at DPW, there is a ton of talent here.

In terms of what inspires me it is very much the outdoors. I have great memories of the East coast and New England areas, the desert Southwest is a different type of rugged beauty with canyons, mountains and colored rock and the West coast is totally wild and rugged compared to the East coast line and all are inspiring. The smaller things such as shadows, textures and colors of rocks, flowers and leaves, rock color and shadows in clear water of a running stream, old barn siding, rusting metals, fall colors in any location  and snow all inspire me as well. Seeing how others capture these images and how they convey that emotion is also inspiring to me to try and be an effective teller of the story.

Narrow Path Saguaro West
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like to you?

LOL! Well, its me sitting with a brush in hand staring at a white sheet of watercolor paper and not having any idea of what to do next, maybe this is more fear than procrastination. But seriously, I have set up a workspace with my supplies and books and it usually is me sitting and thumbing through my reference photos, looking at my reference books, (can I say looking at DPW since I really do that?) looking at my prior work, sometimes just doodling just to get a shape or image going and trying to get into the mindset. I will play with notan at times and if I get really desperate I will throw paint onto paper and see if it develops into anything inspiring. I will admit that there are times when this lasts days but you just have to work through that. I recently saw a coffee cup on a DPW artist bio page (I’m sorry I can't remember who!) that said something to the effect... Just do a painting today even if it sucks! ...this sounds like good advice. 

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

Structure is easy for me, I am predictable and boring, ask my wife. Since I have retired I can now paint nearly every day if I want so it's easy for me now to make the time. I mainly focus on art in the afternoons. I am probably doing two to six hours a day related to art. It's not all painting, it's a lot of reading, YouTubing, DPW’ing, reading other artists' blogs and just looking and absorbing.

Winter Blanket
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at your ideas for a painting?

Since I enjoy nature and hiking it's easy to find inspiration in my reference photos, books and other reference material but I do look for images that I can connect with and feel some form of emotion. To me, Art is really about communication so that is important to me. What does that image say to me; how do I, or can I, communicate that to someone else; how do I emphasize what drew me to that place or image. Once I find an idea I get more technical and do preliminary sketches or drawings and a value study and see how things progress and try to see if I have been successful in getting the feeling onto paper. 

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

This is an interesting question. I have not really thought much about this but I would say that to avoid burnout you need other avenues to distract you so something not related to art; try for some balance and not have it an obsession. Obviously that is easy for me to say since I am now retired and I do not rely on art for any income but it's ok to take a break and walk away if you lose your focus or passion, it will return.

In terms of keeping work fresh, I would say that as I look at other people's art I will look at the details of “how did they do that?" Is there a way to get that effect, create that feeling in watercolor. I do love texture and color so I am always trying to get these to be visible in my work. I have recently moved to smaller format pieces and that was a change for me. It was initially for studies and planning but seemed to work out better for some ideas but doing a variety of sizes will assist in keeping things fresh. In terms of engagement, it's about communication, have I put the feeling into the painting? I am doing a lot more self critiques these days and doing painting series rather than skipping subject to subject or size to size, this seems to help me. I really enjoy wet in wet techniques and color mixing on the paper but also there are times when hard edges are a must and so a variety of styles helps to keep things fresh. Try to keep an “I can do this'' and not an “I can't do this'' attitude. I will say that I have a closet full of bad work and a drawer full of good work.

Arizona Rocks!
(click to view)

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

I think I am getting much more technical about design and composition in order to improve my painting. I have really tried to do value studies and have been watching Andy Evanson videos on YouTube, and there are plenty of other artists as well that offer their advice on there. As all professional artists will tell you, doing value studies is essential and he is a really good teacher and communicator of his ideas and methods. I have been doing a lot of color studies and mixing studies. Color studies were something that I didn't think were really necessary early on because as an artist you can represent any scene anyway that pleases you but I now think this is true only to a point. I think color harmony is important and so have been revisiting early teachings that I neglected. I have started using a limited pallet, I have reduced my pallet to essential reds, blues and yellows. I have also been studying other oil and pastel artists for their processes and techniques but in general I think I am just getting much more technical in my approach to painting.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I think it's two things. The first is when someone can make a connection to one of your paintings, a feeling, a memory, an object, a time, whatever, it can be almost anything that makes that connection but it is made. That is the feeling of success. The second would be the personal satisfaction that I did a successful painting, I like what I see in front of me. I have captured something other than an image and whatever I captured is appealing.

Fall Stream
(click to view)

Thanks, Jeff!

© 2020 Sophie Marine

Friday, October 16, 2020

DPW Spotlight Interview: Mk Cha

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

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

Luckily, I had a lot of opportunities to travel and reside in many different countries for years. As I visited various museums, I realized that visiting art museums and looking at paintings makes me happy. Since then, my hobby has been appreciating paintings. One day, I came to this idea of, "Why not start painting on my own?" However, at that time, I couldn't even draw a tiger that my son asked for, let alone draw a cat, and ended up drawing a mouse-looking animal.
Grapefruit
( click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experienced with? Which ones have “ stuck” and which ones fallen away?

When I first started painting, I started with watercolors as it could be easily prepared. The subtle colors and expressions of watercolor were enough to fascinate me. However, watercolor isn't an easy medium for beginners to learn by themselves. Not only did I have to deal with the concentration of water and paint well, but I also had to have a definite plan on highlighting and shading before starting any work. However, oil painting was different. I was able to freely correct any mistakes or to apply a change of ideas at any time. The rich color and lively brush stroke produced unexpectedly good results and made me delighted beyond my expectations.

Sliced fruits on black
( click to view)

Who or what inspires you most?

Throughout life, everyone feels both joy and sorrow, although the emotion ratio is not equivalent objectively or subjectively. Some feel more sorrows and others think they have more joys in their lives. I want to keep and maintain those "joy" emotions/moments such as beauty, happiness, and peacefulness in my life for a long time by painting and capturing these moments (even when there are more "sorrow" emotions/moments). I wish anyone could feel comfort, joy, and rest while looking at my painting.

The little pleasures in my daily life (having a cup of coffee with friends or freshness of a plate of fresh fruit) and the thrilling scenery from planned trips are enough to inspire my painting activities.

For lovers who are starting
( click to view)

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

I usually set deadlines for my paintings and try to meet them to prevent myself from procrastinating and use my time more efficiently. 

But, there are occasions when I cannot complete the paintings on time even when I try my best. When this happens, I think to myself that I do not have adequate painting skills to express what I want on time yet, but I know that these struggling moments will eventually lead me to where I want my painting skills to be. This motivates me to work harder everyday.

On a peaceful day
( click to view)

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

I admire artists who practice/paint similar art objects countless times because I find it difficult to even practice the same type of paintings. When I get bored of painting Still Life, I move onto Landscape. Then, when I get sick of Landscape, I start painting Portraits.

I understand that painting such a variety of genres as a beginner is less efficient, but I believe that this is my way to keep drawing.

Lunch with lily of the nile
( click to view)

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

My initial interest in art derived from famous paintings in museums, so my standards/expectations of paintings as an observer were at the level of famous Virtuosos. When I actually started painting at a late age, I was discouraged due to the gap between my painting abilities and my expectations. Thinking back to it now, I am embarrassed of how ignorant I was. It reminded me of the nature of things - I cannot reach what I want to pursue in a short period of time. I learned that I could only develop step by step while enjoying every step and process as an artist and a person.

Thanks, Mk!

© 2020 Sophie Marine

Thursday, October 8, 2020

DPW Spotlight Interview: Matthew Miller

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

From Matthew's DPW Gallery Page:

Matthew Miller is an artist and architect who lives near Washington DC with his wife and corgi. His art comes from a wide variety of inspirations, ranging from capturing a moment or memory from his travels, to finding beauty in the little things. Regardless of the subject, Matthew loves using oil or acrylic paints to celebrate the light, mood, and atmosphere of a place, person, or object.

Matthew first picked up a paint brush when he was in middle school and has not put it down since. Although he has two degrees in architecture and practices architecture by day, he has been developing his art career with fervor, and, because of his dedication to the fine arts, he has consistently been participating in festivals, gallery exhibits, and competitions. Matthew would love for one of his pieces to be a part of your home.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

When I was young, I had an affinity to doodling, and my mother recognized it as a means for my expression, so she bought me “How to Draw" books as well as some art materials. I studied them, I replicated the images, and I moved from "How to Draw" to "How to Paint" within a few years. By middle school, I was selling my friends drawings of their favorite sports cars. I took it upon myself to continue to challenge and critique my work so that, at any step in my painting career, I would be proud of the work I am producing, but always searching for the next step for improvement.

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

Halfway through my undergraduate degree and through my Master’s degree, I took a break from painting. Architecture school is very demanding, and when you are working fourteen hours a day on school work, you have to rearrange your life priorities. I chose to prioritize my sleep! In the six years after graduation, I have been very productive, and I am excited to see my growth as an artist.

Ruby Red Grapefruit
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I had primarily worked in acrylic up until a year ago. I had just had my first solo show, and felt that it was the perfect time to try something new, with no deadlines in sight and the excitement of having accomplished a successful show. From that point, I switched to oil paint, and I am loving it! I feared that the slower drying times and the introduction to mediums and solvents would complicate the process; however, it has done nothing but open new doors to how I approach painting.

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

Oil painting has been a joy, and for me, it is here to stay. I have occasionally used watercolor for in situ painting or quick studies. I applaud those who can master watercolor, but I could take it or leave it. It is certainly handy for travel, but I do not anticipate watercolor being my main medium.

Cherry Tomatoes
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

Since I am relatively new to oil paint, I am looking forward to continuing my exploration of the medium. I am excited to try different surfaces, try both classic techniques and alla prima painting, and try varying degrees of realism and impressionism. The sky's the limit!

Who or what inspires you most?

One day, I hope to be able to paint like John Singer Sargent. His mastery and command of his brushstrokes seem effortless but at the same precise. His paintings, especially the Venice paintings, model light and color beautifully, and the varying degrees of focus and detail mimic our eyes' ability to see.

Castel St. Angelo
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Painting is my second career. I work full time, and at the end of the day, when it is time to paint, I am exhausted. Sometimes the couch is much more inviting than the easel, but I know that once I mentally get over the procrastination hump and once I make the effort to open up a tube of paint and place a dab on the palette, that exhaustion melts away; I am reinvigorated and ready to tackle a painting session.

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

I keep a running checklist of daily tasks, and I ensure that I allot enough time to progress my paintings, especially if I have a show in the near future or commissions in the works. For me, this works wonders, because I know that I feel good when I am able to accomplish my daily goals, and on the flip side, I feel guilty if I get sidetracked.

Capri
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

As an architect, I feel that experiencing the world around me is imperative to honing my craft. As an artist, I enjoy capturing a memory from my travels so that I can 1) learn from and commit to memory that moment in time through the sheer act of recreating it, and 2) share with others something I feel is worth sharing. Lately, because of COVID, the world I experience has gotten smaller, but it has not been without beauty. I have since found solace in painting some items I have found within the confines of my house. 

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

I never want to be pinned down to one subject matter. I will create a series of cityscapes, and then several months later, a series of still lifes, followed by a series of portraits. This constant changing of subjects has allowed me to breathe fresh air into my painting experience. Once painting starts to become a chore or repetitive, I know it's time to shake things up and paint something that excites me.

Kara Walker
(click to view)

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

Currently, I am working on a series of portraits. I find that portraiture, unlike any other subject matter, has a high degree of difficulty. If your brushstroke is off, the expression of the subject changes. If several brushstrokes are off, your painting becomes a different person! I relish this challenge to, not only capture a person’s likeness, but also mood, personality, and expression. At the core of this challenge is developing my ability to see. If I am able to properly see and interpret my subject, then I stand a decent chance of properly representing my subject.

What makes you happiest about your art?

The process. Don’t get me wrong; the final product is rewarding, and even more so if someone chooses to hang one of my works in their home, but sitting down at my easel, with some good music and my palette loaded up -- nothing beats that. Every time I paint a painting, I learn something from it. Sometimes it's reinforcing or developing fundamentals, sometimes it is experimentation with a surface or medium mixture, and sometimes it's diving deep into the subject and living within the colors, forms and values. Occasionally, the process can be frustrating when things are not going the right way, but that only fuels me to step up to the challenge and approach the painting with trust that the process will lead to a great experience.

Thanks, Matthew!

© 2020 Sophie Marine