Thursday, July 30, 2020

DPW Spotlight Interview: Marlisa Dunn

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

From Marlisa's DPW Gallery Page:

Thank you for visiting my gallery! I began painting as DIY art therapy and fell in love with the medium at first brush stroke. I want to paint everything around me, to show how beautiful, interesting, or whimsical a moment is, even with typically mundane objects. I'm inspired by nature, strength, and resilience. I hope my art depicts the gratefulness I feel for the world around me.

I akin my daily paintings to the world's most laborious social media posts, as they're vignettes or moments captured on a given day, like a journal. I post some behind-the-scenes in my Instagram stories. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

Well, this is an intense story that I haven’t told anyone. I’ve referenced bits of it, but I’ll see if I can type it out more fully to share here.

I always have enjoyed looking at art. My husband has a natural talent for drawing and so I assumed he was the artist. I even had my own Instagram folder of saved art, to show HIM, even though I was the one really enjoying the posts. Then one particularly stressful day I thought, “I should do art therapy.” That night I was struck by an artist’s emotional piece on social media, and I thought, “how fun would that be to paint those metallic straight brushstrokes?” And then it hit me in an instant, I was overcome really, and I thought, “I could actually try to paint that” and as I was thinking it, something came over me, full body chills, but even more intense, when I realized I WAS allowed to try that. I started softly crying, with the realization that, for my whole life, I could have been an artist, and for some reason had never thought I was worthy. The next day I bought paints and I’ve painted every day since then. This was four months ago.

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

This would be a fun question to be able to answer. I plan to continue painting my heart out and I do hope that eventually I will call it a career.

I will say, my first paintings were exhilarating and nerve-wracking because I simply couldn’t believe I was accessing what felt like an entirely new language. It felt too good to be true. Because I was thrilled by every step of learning, I approached each stroke as a learning opportunity, not a chance to mess anything up. I refused to let doubt or negativity attach itself to even a second of the learning process. This has helped me throw myself headfirst, not with cocky confidence that I’m so great, but with the exuberance that I am so blessed to have this opportunity.

(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I have only painted with acrylics. I also discovered an affinity for sketching.

I don’t know what the term is for the genre I paint. My daily paintings are vignettes, like snapshots, of my daily life. My compositions are heavily influenced by my habit of sharing on social media. I find that I approach them the same way. They are a moment I want to capture because of a feeling it’s created in me.

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

I only have a couple hours before work and an hour after work to create, so my sketching practice has fallen away, even though I still enjoy it.

I began by painting abstract landscapes. They were very fun, in a pretty unique personal style, but they would take me one to two weeks to paint. I found this frustrating to have to stop and start each morning, getting back into flow then needing to stop right in mid-flow. Therefore I decided to switch to a daily painting practice in order to be able to complete a painting in one to two sittings before or after work. That was the best decision I have made so far. It is very gratifying and it also takes the pressure off. It forces me to stop and not overwork a painting. And most importantly, each day is fresh and fun.

Daily painting also gave me freedom to paint anything I want. My first daily painting was my bowl of cereal.

I Like You Now
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I cannot wait to have time to really learn portrait painting and drawing.

I’m also still at a point where I’m looking forward to buying large canvases. I’m already mapping out my ideas for large scale paintings and look forward to seeing what my style evolves into.

Who or what inspires you most?

I get inspired easily, having a lust for life and an empathetic nature. Even typically mundane things bring up feelings of gratitude and need to be painted. Being outdoors in nature inspires me the most.

Serging Up a Storm
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Even though I’m a huge procrastinator in every day life, that hasn’t come up with painting yet. Most days I can’t wait to get started. The closest would be when details start to feel tedious if I’m tired. Such as a lot of botanical details, etc. I then approach it like a patience challenge and breathe through it, making the process more meditative.

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

Getting up at 5:30-6:00am each day and painting while the world is still quiet is absolute bliss. I paint until 9am, then again on my lunch break, then again after work if I didn’t get it finished. I try not to clean anything in the kitchen while I’m making my coffee because that will turn into a two hour cleaning frenzy. So I stay focused, take my coffee to my studio and get started.

Foster Cat
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I pay attention throughout each day to what item, activity, or moment stays with me. Then the next day it comes to me pretty easily. I have a bunch of back-up ideas, but haven’t needed to use them yet.

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

I have too many ideas. After a month of painting I started to feel a type of existential dread, like “Oh no, I’m not going to live long enough to paint everything I want to!” I literally started taking my vitamins more regularly to promote longevity so I can paint as much as I possibly can.

(click to view)

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

I am learning to keep my mind and insecurities out of the way of the artist that has always been inside of me. She is finally free and I am basically jumping out of her way. I don’t have time for roadblocks, particularly self-induced, because I want to make up for lost time. I am riding this wave of momentum and joy as long as I can.

More practically-speaking, doing my own color mixing is my current learning focus. I feel like there is an infinite amount of learning opportunity there.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I am happiest when my art also makes someone else happy or inspires the artist inside of them. That is the ultimate joy, to pass on the passion.

Thanks, Marlisa!

© 2020 Sophie Marine

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