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:


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

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