Friday, December 18, 2020

DPW Spotlight Interview: Ute Gil

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

From Ute's DPW Gallery Page:

My goal is to create paintings that show my love of nature and animals while capturing the emotion of my subjects. I consciously reduce details, keeping my brushstrokes loose and impressionistic, allowing the viewer a more personal interpretation of the image. It is more important to me that a painting is compelling rather than true to reality. Much of my inspiration comes from the rural areas that I visit in Western Loudoun County, VA as well as my travels to other countries. The paintings are created both plein air and in my studio. Lately I have been experimenting with abstract backgrounds combined with realistic subjects. My hope is that you will enjoy my paintings as much as I did creating them. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

Growing up in Germany, I took my first art classes as a teenager learning traditional folk painting and later silk painting. In my early twenties I moved to Spain where I was introduced to oil and pastel. I met my husband during that time and we moved to the US three years later. I took a long break from painting while raising two kids. In 2003 I started taking art classes again and haven’t stop painting ever since.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I am experienced with acrylic, pastel, silk painting, watercolor and oil. By taking art classes from different teachers, I was introduced to all subject matters and came to realize that animals and birds interest me the most, even though they are quite challenging.

(click to view)

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

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

Oil is my favorite medium because of its textural qualities. Since my husband retired and we started to travel more, I was looking for a medium that is travel friendly. I’m painting now in watercolor as well and might offer them for sale sometime next year.

Which ideas are you looking forward to exploring?

I’m planning on introducing figure into my landscape. Many times, the reason why I paint something in the first place is the subject itself but I spend lots of time thinking about how to express it on the canvas. I’m very interested in combining abstract, impressionistic backgrounds with realistic subjects and finding ways to simplify complex references.

(click to view)

Who or what inspires you most?

I get inspired by my world around me. A color pattern on a sweater, a new color paint tube, travel to a new place. Inspiration is everywhere. I then start exploring which painting technique would best produce the desired effect.

What does procrastination look like for you?

Procrastination happens when I’m worried about the outcome of a painting. I’ve learned to trust my abilities and enjoy the painting process. I accept that not all paintings are going to be master pieces and that the worst thing that can happen is that I have to scrape the canvas again. But even a failed painting has something to teach. I’m so much more relaxed these days and give myself permission to explore new techniques and new art tools. This is usually when all the magic happens, exactly when I’m not worried about having something to show at the end of the day.

(click to view)

What has helped you to grow as an artist?

I started to paint small in order to accelerate the learning curve. Small allows me to experiment, to not worry about the result since the time invested in a painting is so much less than a large one. Another way to grow is painting in series. This allowed me to get familiar with the subject at an even deeper level and then play with the subtleties of each painting.

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

With painting it’s the same as with going to the gym. You just have to show up even though you might not feel like it at the time. I know that there is never the perfect time to paint, there is always some work in the household waiting for me. I make it a priority to paint every day, even if it is only for an hour. 

(click to view)

What is your biggest challenge as a professional artist?

My biggest challenges are the non-painting activities like maintaining a website and social media presence, writing monthly newsletters and taking and editing photos of the paintings. This seems to take up half of my time and keeping up with the ever-changing technology can be daunting. To have a great support group of other artists who have done this is essential in getting it all done and not feeling overwhelmed.

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

To keep my art “fresh”, I learned that it is vital to paint what interests me, not what I think would sell. I keep true to myself and do not worry if anybody will like my painting.

(click to view)

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

2020 has been a challenging year and we artists have to be creative in how we market our paintings in this ever-changing environment. Unfortunately, it’s not only about having beautiful art, it’s also about how to connect with the collector. I used to know all my collectors personally and now have to learn to navigate the online market. I was surprised to have received some very sweet messages from happy buyers and learned that even selling online can be personal, just in a different way.

What makes you happiest about your art?

The creation process can be like meditation. I lose track of time and can disconnect from everything around me. Many of my sales are to local collectors and some have become friends. And the happiness is complete when I know that the painting found a new home where it is being loved.

(click to view)

Thanks, Ute!

© 2020 Sophie Marine

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