Friday, February 21, 2020

DPW Spotlight Interview: Steve Ellison

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

From Steve's DPW Gallery Page:

Steve has been involved in the visual arts for most of his professional life. His attraction to painting grew from watching his mother paint landscapes as he was growing up and from his studies of the great portrait painters.

As the owner and photographic portrait artist at LSN Studios - a leading portrait studio in Reno, Nevada, Steve created artistic wall portraiture of families, children and high school seniors for more than twenty years. Every day was a new exercise in composition, lighting, color values and personality management! He earned the Master of Photography Degree from the Professional Photographers of America in 2003. During these years he also created a vast library of landscape photographs, many of which were imaged using film on large and medium format camera gear and printed in his studio darkroom. He later became an expert user of Adobe Photoshop. Steve leverages these experiences and knowledge in the creation of his paintings. (click to read more)

Genoa Road
(click to view)

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

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

My mom was a talented landscape painter - first in oils then in watercolors, but I was never the kid that was always drawing and doodling. Only after I was fully immersed in a professional photography career did my curiosity start to awaken - especially after studying the works of the great portrait painters. "What would it be like to paint?", I often thought. The one day my insurance salesman brother in law announced that he was now oil painting - I had to start after that! 

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

Several! When I first started I had the proverbial collection of lots of tubes of paint. Too many choices resulted in discouragement and taking a break. Then I discovered the sweet science of the limited pallet. Three primaries and white, and that's it - been that way ever since! Maybe it's due to my photographic background, but I have no problem mixing colors, even to match existing colors.

Fall in Lamoille Canyon
(click to view)

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I started and have always stuck with oils - for no other reason than that's what all the great masters that I admire used. I paint on primed Masonite. I created a great many landscape photographs over the years - even getting to the point of investing in large format photography gear (think Ansel Adams under a dark cloth kind of stuff). I really only have an interest for landscape images probably due to that reason.

Who or what inspires you most?

For inspiration I look for paintings that have a mood. Artists that are able to create a comfortable living either being a dedicated full time or part time artist are always an inspiration!

Spring in Nevada
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Talking myself out of a subject. "That's too hard to try", or "that subject is too busy". I need to get over that! Maybe next week...

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

I'm always searching for new subject matter throughout the day, and always have a camera ready for reference. While I would like one day to have the time to just drop everything and go paint outdoors, till then having a stream of possible source images at my disposal sure helps.

Grand Canyon Storm
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I look for the composition first. How will the eye be directed through the scene? I learned long ago to sketch out the scene first in a sketchbook. Here I can solve composition problems before they rear their ugly head midway through a painting session.

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

Right now I'm all about values. Get the values and the composition and the shapes right, and color will almost take care of itself.

Carson Valley Color
(click to view)

What makes you happiest about your art?

I like to step back and take a good solid look at a finished work. If I can think, "Wow - I did that!" then it's mission accomplished!

Thanks, Steve!

© 2020 Sophie Marine

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