Friday, December 4, 2020

DPW Spotlight Interview: Elizabeth Blanchard

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

From Elizabeth's DPW Gallery Page:

I am a native and current resident of the Tidewater area of Virginia (now referred to as Hampton Roads). I still get to visit the home where I grew up in Portsmouth where my parents still live. My growing up years on the Elizabeth River, family boat trips up the Chesapeake Bay, summers of crabbing and fishing on the pier, and later trips to the Outer Banks of NC have influenced my bent toward anything water. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

In 2011 I found myself a stressed out homeschool mom of three. I needed something outside of kids and home, so I tried to remember what I did before marriage and kids. Art! I used to love art, so I called my friend to sign up with me for a six week oil painting class. That session turned into another and another while I started teaching art at our homeschool co-op, which led to teaching K-12 at a school, which then transitioned to teaching privately. I am back to homeschooling and back as the teacher in the oil painting class that started it all.

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

I had a twelve year break after my college years until I started painting again in 2011.

Behind Saint John's Church
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I have tried just about everything from wire sculptures to pyrography, to printing, to clay, to collage, to packing tape body sculptures, among many other projects in preparation to teach art. Teaching kids is a great way to get out of a rut, out of your comfort zone, and to appreciate styles you never would try for yourself. Apart from teaching, I have tried watercolors, gouache, acrylics, pastels, and pencil.

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

I find it difficult to work on watercolors and oils simultaneously, so I rarely use watercolors anymore.  Pastels and acrylics are also on the back burner right now.

The Cow Painting
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

Gouache is a medium I’d really like to work on and learn how to use well. Also I need to get my 16 year old daughter to teach me how to paint digitally.

Who or what inspires you most?

The most powerful and meaningful source of inspiration is my Lord, Savior, and Friend Jesus Christ.  I see Him in the beauty, order, and unpredictability of creation. Painting is my way of worship and meditation. If I have something in my ear while I’m painting, it will be worship music of some kind. Secondly, I find help, inspiration, and instruction from contemporary artists, whether online or local. I learn so much from fellow artists.

Quilted Light
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

It looks like homeschooling, potty training, dirty laundry, dishes, cooking, driving someone somewhere, or playing word games on my phone. It’s not hard to find an excuse to put off working on that painting.

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

Teaching my weekly oil painting class forces me to keep painting, thinking about painting, get out of the house, be with other artists, and keep pushing myself to learn more in order to teach others.

Boogie Boarding
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I go outside.  I try to paint local and the things and places I know. I rarely paint anything I haven’t seen or experienced first hand.

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

Burnout happens to me when I push too hard for a finished product. I have to be ok with failing, with taking my time, and not thinking about the deadline. I go back to focusing on it being an act of worship.  I do think that those times when nothing is working and I can’t put out a decent painting, are the times I’m doing to most growing as an artist. Those seasons are productive in unseen ways.

Crab on a Plate
(click to view)

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

There are so many things to learn! I think I'm figuring out better what kind of painter I want to be and narrowing down my style. What is important and what isn’t. I’m learning to be more worshipful.

What makes you happiest about your art?

Every painting is an accomplishment.

Windsor-B
(click to view)

Thanks, Elizabeth!

© 2020 Sophie Marine

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