Friday, April 10, 2020

DPW Spotlight Interview: Kevin Reisenbichler

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings. To enter to win Kevin's painting "LaFrance" 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.

The first time I oil painted I was in high school. I later went to the University of Central Missouri and majored in commercial art with an emphasis on illustration, graduating in 2003. I took the required painting classes and maybe one or two others but mostly used acrylic paint until switching to oil after graduating.

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

I can’t count all of the stops and starts in my painting career. Some were months and some were years. After I graduated college I would consistently be thinking about painting but it seemed like there was always something more pressing to be done. I applied for a job on the fire department and I’ve been a Kansas City firefighter for fifteen years now. Along the way I would pick up painting for a few weeks and then fall back out of the habit for all of the same reasons most artists stop and start (family, work, home projects etc...) I recently turned forty and decided that I was going to make painting a priority. Since then I’ve been painting steadily every day that I’m not at the fire station.

LaFrance
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?


I’ve experimented with most of the standard mediums at some point. I’ve used graphite, water color, acrylic, pastel and oil all at some point. It’s easy to want to try using a different medium after you have a long series of failed drawings or paintings. I’ve decided that oil paint is what I prefer to use because of its versatility and durability. I’ve experimented with abstract paintings at different points but really prefer to work flat boxes of color and gestural lines into representational shapes.

What ones have stuck and which ones have fallen away?

For the last six months I’ve been using oil exclusively with the exception of when I pick up my sketch book.

Crossroads Northbound
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I would love to try using gouache at some point and give pastel another shot. For the moment I’m pretty committed to oil and using different tools (squeegees, ink rollers, scrapers and different brushes) to get a desired effect.

Who or what inspires you?

As far as painting is concerned there are so many painters out there that inspire me. I recently started using social media (mainly Instagram) after keeping my distance from it for the last ten years. I follow different painters and hashtags and it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the amount of talent that’s out there.

Yellow Kicks
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

I’m most definitely a procrastinator but as I get older I’ve been able to find a little more discipline.  I’ll find myself cleaning or going through my news apps to avoid a painting when it’s at that point where it could go either way (success or failure). Once something feels like it’s going to be successful and it’s ninety percent finished it’s easy to return to the easel and put the finishing touches on. I recently deleted all of those news apps that absorb way too much of my time with little return.

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

I think what works the best for me is just making sure that I paint first before all of the other things that need to be done. There’s always mundane house chores that have to be done but lately I paint first. I’ll give myself till a certain time and then I’ll work on those other things or go to the gym. It makes for a pretty tight schedule every day but it’s really the only thing that works for me. If I wait till the end of the day to paint it usually won’t happen. Painting absorbs a lot of energy and if I put it off I don’t feel like I’m mentally there.

Untitled
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at the ideas for your paintings?

Lately, I’ll drive around the city looking for things that I feel have potential. I usually leave work around 7 or 8 am and the sun is coming up so the light is usually interesting. Sometimes I come across something that catches my eye and I’ll give it a shot and sometimes I’ll drive around for a couple hours and come up empty handed. Like most artists I’d prefer to work from life but sometimes that’s just not possible and an iPhone photo is all you have. They can be great tools and they’re super concealable and I always have mine with me.

How do you keep your art fresh?  

Lately I’ve been working on a lot of cityscape paintings but sometimes I’ll need to take a step back from those and give some other subject a shot. I find myself doing that a lot the last six months but I’ll flip through Instagram and see someone else’s awe inspiring cityscape and I’ll come right back to it. Experimenting with different tools also helps keep it interesting for me.

Vintage John Deere #1
(click to view)

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

Honestly, everything. Color, light, value, color mixing, etc... Things that I’m sure some would consider fundamental painting skills present problems almost every time I paint. I just try and take a step back and work through all of those problems. More specifically though I’ve been working on a couple of paintings that I felt worked as small paintings and turned them into larger ones. It’s crazy how all you’re doing is putting the same image in a larger space and it’s a huge challenge. All of of the squiggly goop that worked well in the smaller painting doesn’t always work in the larger painting and it feels flat and boring.

What makes you happiest about your art?

Progressing! I couldn’t achieve the same effects that I can now a year ago and hopefully I’ll be able to say the same thing in 2021.

Thanks, Kevin!

© 2020 Sophie Marine

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