Thursday, August 6, 2020

DPW Spotlight Interview: Sally Fuess

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

From Sally's DPW Gallery Page:

I am inspired by the slice of life moments and the fleeting insights into an individual’s character whether it is animals or people. My process begins with ink sketches preferably from life but also video or my own photo reference. With oils, I paint in either a warm/cool vibrant palette over a toned background or a limited Zorn palette. I directly sketch my composition in oil on the canvas/panel and then build layers, playing with brushwork, glazing, pick-outs and palette knife. With my ink and watercolor drawings, the process involves fountain pens, large quantities of coffee, a big recycle bin and a little luck. Thanks for visiting!

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I have always doodled but I took an oil painting class at UCLA and fell in love with it.

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

I was a lab tech for fifteen years but painted in my spare time. Currently, I am lucky enough to paint full time.

Common Squid
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I have dabbled with oils, acrylics, pastels, gouache and watercolor along with pencil, charcoal and ink.

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

I love oil and enjoy playing with watercolors, especially watercolor with ink. Acrylics and I have never gotten on well.

(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I really would like to get better with watercolor and someday study sculpture.

Who or what inspires you most?

I think the urban sketchers movement is really inspiring - I just love the freshness and international aspect of the art. I also love sculpture especially the Terme Boxer in Rome, anything by Michelangelo, Bernini, Rodin and ancient Asian horse sculptures. As far as 2D work, I love the draftsmen: Rembrandt, Sargent, Van Gogh, I. Repin, E. Schiele, Hokusai, Lucy Kemp Welch, Armin Hansen and Sergio Toppi. Subject wise: animals, water and people.

Owlish III
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Fear of messing up. I don’t mind redoing something fifteen times to get it right, but I hate losing the freshness of the work. I find that if I stop and draw it until I know it well, then go back to the painting, it is very helpful.

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

Early mornings and headphones to block out the distractions.

(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Travel, rowing, walking the dog and sketching. I also love harbors, wildlife sanctuaries, aquariums, zoos and preserves for animal reference.

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

Draw, sketch and then draw some more. I also find workshops invigorating.

Goofy Gull
(click to view)

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

Influence of Japanese prints on western art especially Van Gogh.

What makes you happiest about your art?

Finishing a piece. Selling a painting is awesome too.

Thanks, Sally!

© 2020 Sophie Marine


  1. Several things that I like about your work: You have an understanding of anatomy and form which girders your paintings, so often not seen in animal paintings. I love your understanding and use of color and I love the loaded brushstroke so Masterfully executed. I paint animal really well AND I can learn a lot from you.

  2. so reading a little more carefully, You're applying the paint with a palette knives??? on a 5x7?? I am in awe.