Thursday, July 22, 2021

DPW Spotlight Interview: David Gibson

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

From David's DPW Gallery Page:
Dave Gibson was born and raised in the Pittsburgh area. As a result of the American steel industry collapse during the 1980’s Dave moved to Lancaster, PA in 1987 and has lived here ever since.

A self-taught artist blessed by God with the innate ability to replicate with paint and brush the experiences of life. Until 2016 painting had been an on again off again hobby for Dave. He retired from the Kellogg Company June 2016 and committed to a renewed focus on the further development of his artwork.

Water Mixable Oil paints are Dave’s preferred medium. His style is representational impressionism. Dave finds the subjects for his paintings through his daily interaction with the world. “I’m always on the lookout for dramatic lighting and compelling compositions in everyday life.”

Recent accomplishments

"Oil and Garlic" 1st Place Non-Professional Category 2019 LCAA Winter Exhibition
"Sweet Peppers and Glass Bowl" 1st Place Non-Professional Category 2019 LCAA Garden Exhibition
"Dilly Beans" 1st Place Non-Professional Category 2019 LCAA Spring Member Exhibition
"Bourbon Street Bucket Drummer" Honorable Mention Oil & Acrylic Painting Category 2019 LCAA Open Exhibition
“Peppermint And Cinnamon” Honorable Mention Non-Professional Category 2019 LCAA
“Keeping It Cool” Exhibition.
"Hangin' At The Barbershop" Honorable Mention 2019 LCAA Fall Membership Exhibition
"Walking Towards The Light", Honorable Mention 2019 LCAA Seniors Exhibition
“Sliced Pickles” 1st place in the Lancaster County Art Association 2020 Garden Exhibit Professional Category
“Leaf On The Snow” 1st place in the Lancaster County Art Association 2020 Let It Snow Holiday Exhibit

What did you want to be growing up?

During elementary school I wanted to be a doctor. At some point I realized the amount of schooling  required to become a doctor and changed my mind. During high school I was planning on going to college for art. After watching my high school art teacher manage students in his classes that were there simply because they didn’t want to take algebra or chemistry, I changed my mind again. I ended up spending my career in the technical arena, as an electronic technician, automated manufacturing process programmer and a process manager. 

When did your artistic journey begin?

For as long as I can remember I loved to draw and create things. My art teacher in the 4th grade recognized my artistic abilities and registered me in a Saturday art class at the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh. This class was attended by hundreds of grade school students in the Pittsburgh area. I’d say that this experience was the beginning of my artistic journey.

Sweet and Sour
(click to view)

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

Did you have long periods without creative expression? How did you get back on the horse?

In my opinion, when you’ve been blessed as a creative, you can’t avoid creative expression. There have been extended periods of time during my life when I didn’t paint or draw. However, during these times, I expressed my creative spirit through guitar, carpentry, landscaping and numerous other outlets.

June of 2016, I retired from my professional career. My dream was to focus my time and energies on my artwork after I retired. For the past five years I have done just that.

Which mediums and genres do you gravitate toward? Which ones don’t appeal?

Water Mixable Oils is the only medium I work with. As for genres, I am particularly fond of impressionistic still lives. Still life subjects allow me to have total control of the environment. No changing light. The subject stays as I set it up, for days if needed. However, I do enjoy painting a variety of subject types. Figurative, animals and landscapes. I have never been drawn to abstract art. Not as an artist or as an admirer.

Coffee Break Discussion
(click to view)

What was the process like of pinpointing your personal style or finding your voice?

With painting as well as being a guitarist, it took quite some time for me to realize that my style of painting and playing guitar is unique to me. Be comfortable with that and enjoy it, allow it to happen naturally. Be yourself!

Name an artist (or artists), well-known or not, who you admire. Why?

Dennis Perrin. I love Dennis’ work. After I retired, I enrolled in a couple of Dennis’ online training courses and my approach to painting changed forever. Dennis teaches that the mental approach to painting is equally as important as the physical. Meditate on the painting before you pick up a brush, perhaps for days. Paint the piece in your mind before painting it on canvas. Another Dennis Perrin philosophy that I found extremely helpful is that you aren’t painting things, or objects. You are painting abstract shapes of varying color and value.

Oh My Darling
(click to view)

If you could offer one piece of advice to your younger, creative self — what would that be?

Pursue being an artist!! Follow the artistic abilities that God has blessed me with!

Do you utilize any habits or tricks for winning the distraction and procrastination battle?

In the infamous words of Nike, Just Do It!

Cold Bridges
(click to view)

In moments of self-doubt or adversity, how do you push forward?

I rely on my faith in God and pray!

What are some of your long and short term goals for yourself or your art?

Now that I am a 67-year-old retired individual, my goals are more focused on the short term, daily goals. 

Improve as an artist everyday

Have my artwork seen by the public

Sunflowers
(click to view)

What does success mean to you personally?

Success to me means that I’m living my life following God’s plan, bringing joy to others. Hopefully my artwork brings joy to others and touches them in some way.

What is one of your proudest moments in your creative life?

Shortly after I retired, I entered one of my paintings in a local art association exhibit and was awarded honorable mention. My first award as an artist. That was a proud moment for me.

Susquehannock Road
(click to view)

Thanks, David!

© 2021 Sophie Marine

Thursday, July 15, 2021

DPW Spotlight Interview: Zhanna Kan

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

What did you want to be growing up?


I dreamed to become an artist since my early childhood. One day we were visited by a familiar artist. When he saw my artwork, he exclaimed “she should study to be an artist”. So his remark settled in my head. I associated artists with people wearing berets and with a sketchbook over their shoulder, who only draw outside. For some reason I thought that artists painted only landscapes.

When did your artistic journey begin?

I began drawing quite early, according to my mother's words, before I began to speak. I spent my childhood in a village, in my grandparents’ house. Therefore, since childhood, I was surrounded by beautiful nature, fields, rivers, pets. I had my own workshop – a drawing table, pencils, watercolors. I drew trees, forests, animals, people, various objects and I also created illustrated stories.

After school graduation, I entered an Art College, where I studied for 4 years as an artist-designer.

Chickadee
(click to view)

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


Did you have long periods without creative expression? How did you get back on the horse?

I had a rather long break in my creativity. After graduating from college, I was interested in studying Korean language and then worked in the commercial sphere. Then there was my marriage, my family, my daughter’s upbringing in a musical environment. Thanks to her, I discovered classical music in a new way. Music turned out to be no less interesting than fine art. Attendance at concerts, competitions, trips to master classes, all this greatly captivated me.

Later my daughter went to study to Europe, and apparently this moment made me decide to go back to my vocation. True, then I was just planning to return to creativity, but I did not know in what technique. Before doing anything, I first studied and got prepared, so it took me almost two years to go back to painting. And the last impetus was a visit to an exhibition of contemporary artists. After the exhibition, I bought materials for painting and gradually began to paint. 

Which mediums and genres do you gravitate toward? Which ones don’t appeal to you?

I like both watercolor and oil techniques. It seems to me that in oil technique is easier to paint in various styles, such as realism, and impressionism, etc. As for the watercolor technique, it has always attracted me. But the watercolor technique is much more difficult and professional watercolors always have the plan what to do step by step. Water colorists remind me of chess players. After all, all the steps must be planned in advance. In oil painting, I usually begin to paint from colored spots and then move on to detail without step by step plan. The most important thing is to see the finished painting in my imagination.

In my youth I loved to paint seascapes, landscapes, but now I prefer to draw birds, animals and still life painting more. But I am at the beginning of my journey, so maybe I will return to landscapes.

Butterfly
(click to view)

What was the process like of pinpointing your personal style or finding your voice?

It seems to me that I have not yet formed my personal style. Most likely there are personal preferences and certain skills that you follow. Even while studying at college I was impressed with impressionism. After all, impressionism means the first impression. Therefore, I prefer quick drawing. It seems to me that quick painting most accurately conveys the nature and properties of the subject. Therefore, when I was studying, it was difficult for me to paint a portrait for 50-100 hours, as it should be in academic teaching.

Name an artist (or artists), well-known or not, who you admire. Why?

I love mainly French impressionists, these are Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, Camille Pissarro. And Russian impressionists Konstantin Korovin. I also love the work of Toulouse Lautrec, although his work already relates more to Post-Impressionism. As I said above, I like impressionism because this style most clearly shows the character, there is usually a lot of air, light, freshness and life in the artworks.

Grey Tabby Kitten
(click to view)

If you could offer one piece of advice to your younger, creative self — what would that be?

I would advise only - don’t be afraid and do it. If you feel gaps in knowledge, then just study this point in more detail. In addition, visit exhibitions, see the artworks of other artists, this will broaden your horizons. And of course more practice, the more you devote your time to what you love, the better you get.

Do you utilize any habits or tricks for winning the distraction and procrastination battle?


The good planned daily schedule helps me. Every day I devote the first half of the day to painting. In addition, of course, I have to earn money to live and it also plays an important role.

In moments of self-doubt or adversity, how do you push forward?

As for painting if I begin to feel self-doubt, then I just tell myself to stop. The most important thing is to stop on time. Then I just start painting another picture. In other cases - the rest, walking in the fresh air, changing activities helps me very well.

Seaside
(click to view)

What are some of your long and short term goals for yourself or your art?

For short-term goals, I would like to increase the categories and sizes of paintings. As for a long-term goal is it would be great to have own workshop studio and the opportunity to earn enough to live by selling my art.

What does success mean to you personally?


When I decided to return to creativity, I made a plan for each day to achieve my goal. Every day I painted and marked the date of creation on each painting to see my progress. Therefore, it was a success for me to return to creativity and then to begin to sell my paintings.

What is one of your proudest moments in your creative life?

My first paintings that I posted on Instagram. The first positive reviews were my pride, now the feedback from buyers.

Crow
(click to view)

Thanks, Zhanna!

© 2021 Sophie Marine

Thursday, July 8, 2021

DPW Spotlight Interview: Kay Palecek

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

From Kay's DPW Gallery Page:

With a backround in fashion design, I have always been drawn to the creative side of every job I've had. So it was a natural fit to try my hand at oil painting.

I decided to take a shot in the dark and begin classes five years ago at a local art studio. Upon retirement last July, I committed to start each morning painting in my studio. Painting each day is sheer bliss even when the picture isn't turning out the way I'd like.

I enjoy seeing the "perfect painting" in everyday scenes in my neighborhood, travels or just taking a scenic drive. I never lack for ideas, just the time needed to paint them all! Right now, I enjoy painting animals, still life, people, portraits, and landscapes, but I'm open to whatever inspires me.

I live with my husband and two dogs in a northern suburb of Chicago. Some of my biggest inspirations? My family, our pets and the world around me.

What did you want to be growing up?

It's probably easier to tell you what I didn't want to be, which was anything involving math or science. I knew early on that creativity and a variety of responsibilities would be essential in whatever I chose to do in life. I started in marketing and communications, which included developing promotional materials, attending trade shows, PR, newsletters, writing articles, etc. Even though this position wasn’t specific to art, it had a creative side to it and a good amount of variety in its responsibilities.

When did your artistic journey begin?

My painting journey began in 2015. I was talking with my uncle about his hobbies and he mentioned that he had just taken up painting. It was a real light bulb moment for me. I never considered learning how to paint, but with my drawing background —a degree in fashion design— I thought I’d give it a try and I haven't looked back since.

Nellie
(click to view)

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

Did you have long periods without creative expression? How did you get back on the horse?

I've always had some sort of a creative outlet whether it was music, sewing, or learning how to make sock bunnies with my daughter! They were all fun, but nothing stuck with me as much as painting.

Which mediums and genres do you gravitate toward? Which ones don’t appeal?

I mainly paint with oils. Painting with watercolors feels backwards to me and acrylics just dry too quickly. I started painting a number of different genres including landscapes, animals, figures and portraits, and I assumed I would eventually be drawn to specific genres. Right now, I still love painting animals, but lately, I've started to lean into portrait painting. There's just something about the human face that fascinates and frustrates me at the same time. I like the challenge.

Sam
(click to view)


What was the process like of pinpointing your personal style or finding your voice?

You have to be willing to try new things: I paint anything that grabs my attention, no matter the subject matter. I also try different brushes or tools and of course, new paint colors. When I have down time, I watch instructional painting DVDs and even Youtube videos of painters I'm interested in. You'd be surprised how much you can learn by trying lots of different things.

Name an artist (or artists), well-known or not, who you admire. Why?

Lately, I’ve been excited by the paintings of Jane French from the U.K. and Patrick Saunders. Jane paints primarily portraits using beautiful colors and brushwork. Patrick can paint anything. I’ve purchased instructional videos from both of these artists. I love their use of color, brushwork and composition and hope it somehow influences my own work.

Nosing Around
(click to view)

If you could offer one piece of advice to your younger, creative self — what would that be?

Do you mind if I mention three? First, don't expect to be good at painting right away. It's going to take lots and lots of practice. Second, paint as often as you can. When I first started painting, I probably painted one or two days a week when I was working. However, when I retired, I promised myself I would paint every day or as close to it as possible — and I did. When you paint every day, you see improvement in your work a lot quicker, which helps increase your confidence. Third, keep drawing and sketching. Good drawing skills help make great paintings. It’s an incredible skill to have as a painter.

Do you utilize any habits or tricks for winning the distraction and procrastination battle?

I was lucky enough to turn a bedroom in our home into a studio. It’s nice having everything right at your fingertips. Every day, I wake up, eat breakfast and paint for 2-3 hours a day. I've been doing this since Covid hit and it really improved my painting. Now, when I don't paint for a day I feel guilty.

Roar!
(click to view)


In moments of self-doubt or adversity, how do you push forward?

Whenever I paint something that isn't my best work, I appreciate the effort and start on another painting right away. Not every painting is going to be great, but continuing to do the work is the only way you are going to get to where you want to be.

What are some of your long and short term goals for yourself or your art?

Short term is just to keep learning and getting better. I’ll continue to draw, attend paint workshops, watch artists’ instructional DVDs, and so on. Long term might be to win an award for one of my paintings.

Sam
(click to view)


What does success mean to you personally?

For me, it’s twofold: creating a piece of work that I’m proud of and having one of my paintings connect with someone. I can't tell you how many wonderful and kind remarks I've gotten from people who have either purchased, or left a message about, one of my paintings on the DPW website, Facebook or Instagram pages. If I'm not having a particularly productive day, these messages are a nice pick-me-up.

What is one of your proudest moments in your creative life?

I was particularly proud when I got to the point where I could start selling my work. I waited about four years before I was able to do this. I wanted to be proud of the work I sold, but more importantly, I wanted the people who bought a painting to feel like they were getting a nice piece of artwork.

Attention Getting
(click to view)

Thanks, Kay!

© 2021 Sophie Marine

Thursday, July 1, 2021

DPW Spotlight Interview: Olga Nikitina

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

From Olga's DPW Gallery Page:

Hi, my name is Olga. I'm a professional artist. I live in Russia.

I've been drawing since I was a kid and I love it more than anything. Painting for me is a pleasure, it is a meditation, and painting is always an experiment. I like to work in different techniques, use different materials. I paint in watercolors, oils, and acrylics. In oil painting, I work with both smooth, almost transparent layers of paint, and impasto, a palette knife.

Most of all, I am inspired by nature. I like bright colors. This is how we saw the world as a child, and when I draw, I become a child again and look with admiration at this infinitely beautiful world! I like to draw this good fairy tale, such as in the pictures in children's books. Do you remember?

I am happy when my works find their new home and I hope they will bring joy to their new owners. Good mood!

What did you want to be growing up?

I didn't have a clear idea of what I wanted to become when I grew up. But I remember that I was always interested in nature, its beauty. I liked to look at flowers, butterflies, tree leaves, I really wanted to see how they look in a microscope. So I even thought that it would be interesting to work in some laboratory… But still, I was more interested in the aesthetic side of nature.

I also liked how people create beauty with their hands. Starting from embroidery and ending with hairdressing. Yes, at one time I wanted to become a hairdresser. And I'm doing it a little now, but it hasn't become my profession.

When did your artistic journey begin?

As soon as I learned to hold a brush and pencil in my hand. My dad was an amateur artist and painted oil paintings in his spare time. And since childhood, I have been leafing through his magazines with reproductions of paintings. I remember the first time my father gave me a canvas and paints, and I drew three tulips, and proudly showed my older brother, saying that I had drawn a painting. He chuckled. Of course, I felt that this was too loud, but... for me it was an achievement.

All my childhood I drew watercolors in albums, and when I turned 12, I went to art school, where I studied for 4 years. There, too, the main material was watercolor. That's probably why I think more like a watercolorist, although I also work in oil and acrylic.

Then there was an Art College, where I studied at the painting and pedagogical department for 5 years.

Kauai
(click to view)

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

Did you have long periods without creative expression? How did you get back on the horse?

Yes, after studying at an Art College, real life began, where I had to earn money. Painting, unfortunately, gave me little income at that time, and I abandoned it, going to work in the production of outdoor advertising. Then there were many other jobs that had little to do with creativity.

In addition, I had a family, a son was born, and the desire to study painting again had to be postponed. It was an emotionally difficult period for me.

I began to return to painting seriously only in 2017, when everything in my life changed. I had a new family, a new home, and I allowed myself to quit my job. I told myself that I would stop trying to be something that I am not, that I am an artist, and only with a brush in my hands do I feel in my place. It's the only thing that makes me happy.

And I started selling my paintings on the Internet. It is a great success for us that it exists. It's amazing that people from all over the world can see and buy your paintings! In 2020, I came to Etsy, and this was a big breakthrough for me.

Which mediums and genres do you gravitate toward? Which ones don’t appeal?

Now it is easier for me to negotiate with watercolors and get a result that will satisfy me. I also paint in oil, but less often than I would like. This is partly due to the smells of paints and diluents. But I have a huge desire to paint in oil. I like different techniques of oil painting, I like impasto with a palette knife.

I am generally interested in a lot of things in painting. When you enter the creative path, you feel like a child in a huge toy store. There are so many things I want to try!

What don't I like? There is no such thing, probably, rather, I haven't practiced enough in some techniques and materials.

Genres? Of course, most of all I am inspired by nature, its vastness. Therefore, I mainly paint landscapes. The sun, the wind, a riot of colors… An impressionist lives in me.

Provence Lavender Fields
(click to view)

What was the process like of pinpointing your personal style or finding your voice?

I think it's very early to talk about my style as something that has already been established, once and for all. It has always been interesting for me to convey exactly the sunny, cheerful state of nature, as the first Impressionists did. I have been developing in this direction. But now I feel a craving for more abstraction in the landscape, or for more decorativeness. These general trends of modernity also occupy me. Also, I still have a penchant for some illustrative graphics, reminiscent of illustrations in good old children's books. This can also be called part of my creative style, if you like.

Name an artist (or artists), well-known or not, who you admire. Why?

In my youth, I fell in love with the works of Claude Monet. I was particularly struck by the series with the Rouen Cathedral. And this first love is still alive in me. Then I saw a huge number of works by different authors, and I admire many of them. I can't count them all. Among the most famous to you are Erin Hanson and Howard Behrens. The crazy optimism of their canvases cannot but delight!

Palm Trees on the Beach
(click to view)

If you could offer one piece of advice to your younger, creative self — what would that be?

Well, everything is banal here. Paint more, be bolder, believe in yourself, do not suffer from excessive perfectionism, experiment, play!

Do you utilize any habits or tricks for winning the distraction and procrastination battle?

If we are talking directly about the creative process, three things help me now: an equipped workshop, where everything is at hand and just waiting for me; this is a mode in which several working days and specific hours are planned, dedicated specifically to painting; and this is the very need to work to pay the bills. Yes, the survival instinct will not allow you to procrastinate indefinitely!

If we are talking about mastering new things in creativity, about some steps to new levels, about large and complex tasks, then yes, I become very cautious and think for a long time about whether I should take this step at all. After all, it is so energy-consuming, and the result is unknown. Well, I try to take these steps deliberately and gradually.

Tuscany Sunflower Fields
(click to view)

In moments of self-doubt or adversity, how do you push forward?

I always have uncertainty as a result of creativity. It is impossible to predict whether the work will succeed or not. I won't even be able to repeat exactly what I've already done, let alone a new one. And as for the various troubles that are knocked out of the saddle, then, of course, they happen. If I can, I "shoot back" from them. If I fail, then I save up my strength to get involved in the battle again.

What are some of your long and short term goals for yourself or your art?

Further creative plans include the creation of watercolors of larger formats and the launch of the production of their own prints, as well as experiments with oil painting and acrylic. Perhaps there will be a series of figurative paintings, a series with animals, urban landscapes, abstract and decorative compositions. I want to do a lot of things.

From a personal point of view, I want to live in a house in a quiet and beautiful place, among greenery and flowers. I hope this dream will come true.

Green Mountains of Oahu, Hawaii
(click to view)

What does success mean to you personally?

The realization of creative potential, first of all. If I can implement at least a tenth, at least a hundredth part of my ideas, I will feel happy!

Another success is satisfaction with the result. Then - a confession. Well, and financial viability, of course.

What is one of your proudest moments in your creative life?

Today, for example, I am proud that in the first year of working on Etsy, I sold more than a hundred works! And even more have been created! I am proud that I can finally earn a living by creativity. I am proud of how the level of my skill in watercolors has grown over this year. I am proud that my father is proud of me.

Tuscany Poppy Fields
(click to view)

Thanks, Olga!

© 2021 Sophie Marine

Thursday, June 24, 2021

DPW Spotlight Interview: Juliya Fedotova

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

What did you want to be growing up?

When I was little, I loved George Lucas' Star Wars movie very much. And I have always dreamed of other worlds, planets. I thought that when I grow up, I will fly in a spaceship, I will see other Galaxies. As a child, I did not really like to draw, I did it badly and I often asked my brother to draw a spaceship for me. I remember, I always envied that that he managed to draw them, but I did not.

When did your artistic journey begin?

At the age of 13, I realized that I wanted to become an interior designer and enter the University of Architecture and Civil Engineering. When I found out that for admission you need to be able to draw, it was an unpleasant surprise for me! After all, I not only did not know how to draw, but also did not like it. I had to enroll in a local art studio to learn at least the basics of drawing.

After 4 years of study, I was able to understand what perspective is, learn how to mix colors, draw educational performances, still lifes, plaster heads. And fall in love with drawing forever! I could not enter the University of Architecture and Civil Engineering, but my knowledge was enough to successfully pass the exams at the College and get the profession "Fashion Designer", and later enter University for the specialty "History and Theory of Fine Arts."

Roses
(click to view)

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

Did you have long periods without creative expression? How did you get back on the horse?

After 3 years of study at University, I had to quit it because there was not enough money for education. My life began to resemble a pendulum: life-work (at that time I worked as a layout designer in the editorial office).

I couldn't look at paints and brushes at all, because I didn't understand who needed my paintings, and why draw them at all. I was so lost in my daily routine that I did not even understand how it was possible to live differently.

But after the decree, everything changed! I was finally able to clear my head and remember my dream - to paint and live freely. Free from an eternally disgruntled director, from working overtime, from monotony.

Once I just took out all my paints from the cabinets, bought a bunch of canvases and began to paint portraits to order. At first it was scary - like it or not, will it work out? But I, like Scarlett, said to myself: "I'll think about it tomorrow" and just drew. Oddly enough, my portraits began to enjoy great popularity and orders became more and more. Of course, this fueled my self-confidence and faith in myself as an artist!

Which mediums and genres do you gravitate toward? Which ones don’t appeal?

Of course, my favorite genre is a portrait, I still paint portraits to order. But this year I decided to try new genres and began to draw animals, flowers, still lifes, fruits... whatever I like! And this is such freedom! Every morning I wake up and ask myself only one question: "Julia, what do you want to draw today?" And, usually, over a cup of coffee, the answer emerges.

African Woman
(click to view)


What was the process like of pinpointing your personal style or finding your voice?

It's hard to say how my style developed. I just love bright decorative painting, I try to work on color in my works, I am constantly looking for new techniques to further emphasize their decorativeness. Stained-glass windows and mosaics inspire me; I transfer many techniques from there into my paintings.

I also think that it is very important to go to museums and look at the paintings of great masters. See what canvases they used, how they applied paint strokes, how they worked with texture, and then apply some of this in their paintings. A little from here, a little from there, plus my own vision, and this is how my style developed.

Name an artist (or artists), well-known or not, who you admire. Why?

My favorite artist is Vrubel, a Russian artist of the Art Nouveau era. He has very deep and soulful pictures with deep meaning. It was his style of painting that led me to the idea that a painting can be both deep and decorative at the same time.

Blue Heron
(click to view)

If you could offer one piece of advice to your younger, creative self - what would that be?

I would say in the words of the great artist Vincent Van Gogh: "If you hear a voice inside yourself: "You cannot draw," draw at all costs until the voice dies down. "

Do you utilize any habits or tricks for winning the distraction and procrastination battle?

Before, when I worked at home, I was always distracted by household chores. My husband saw how hard it was for me to combine drawing and chores. Now I have my own workshop, and when I come there, I know that I have come to work. At the moment, selling paintings is my only source of income, and I have a clear schedule of what to do and when. I think being organized is the most important thing that an artist should have if he really wants to sell his paintings.

Naked Woman
(click to view)

In moments of self-doubt or adversity, how do you push forward?

I'm not always good at drawing. There are just bad days when nothing comes out. But over the years of drawing, I realized the following: if it didn't work out today, it will definitely work out tomorrow! On such disastrous days, I try to get out into nature, walk in beautiful places, look at the clouds, just get inspired...

What are some of your long and short term goals for yourself or your art?

Now I paint on completely different topics, some are more successful, some are less. And the goal of this year is to understand which genres and themes are worth developing further in my work, and which ones to abandon.

If we talk about long-term goals, then this is participation in art fairs and exhibitions. I want to paint big pictures, do interior work.

Little Tulip
(click to view)

What does success mean to you personally?

For me, success is about being a sought-after artist and, at the same time, painting topics that interest me. Although, even just being able to draw every day is already a great success for me.

What is one of your proudest moments in your creative life?

With my dedication and perseverance. Not all paintings come out equally well, but I don’t give up and try to draw them over and over again. With each new painting, I find new techniques, ways to solve this or that problem. And this always leads to moving forward!

Thanks, Juliya!

© 2021 Sophie Marine

Thursday, June 17, 2021

DPW Spotlight Interview: Rosalind Morgan

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

From Rosalind's DPW Gallery Page:

My passion for art began before I can remember, and was encouraged by my parents throughout my early life. The path to where I am now has not been a straight one and the drive to create laid dormant for long periods, but it never went away.

In the summer of 2018, I visited the Cinque Terre in Italy where the desire came flooding back in full technicolour, loud and proud!

Since then, I have been following Carol Marine’s model of daily painting, which equipped me to consistently paint regularly (and happily!) for the first time.

In October 2020, I decided to quit my job, move back to England from the USA, and make the leap to painting full time; a goal that came fully to fruition in March this year.

I live in Buckinghamshire with my mum and our happy, 14 year-old marmalade cat.

What did you want to be growing up?

An artist! I’m interested in many things, but always come back to visual art. There have been fallow periods during which I pursued other creative outlets, all of which I’ve enjoyed, but painting refuses to go away.

When did your artistic journey begin?

I imagine it started at birth! I was fascinated by the visual world as a child, always looking closely at plants and insects, and my parents encouraged my drawing and painting. I’m told that when I was four, a drawing of mine was chosen for the cover of my school’s annual magazine. My parents were very proud.

Cherry Pair
(click to view)

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

Did you have long periods without creative expression? How did you get back on the horse?

I don’t think I’ve had a period of any significant length without some form of creative expression, but I have had periods of months and years wherein I did no drawing or painting. Advice from other artists and inspiration from looking at their work, through instructional books and, more recently, the internet, are what helped me find my way back. Daily painting, specifically painting small and often, was the key to moving forward as this approach released me from the need for every painting to be successful. Removing ego from the conversation empowered me to embrace the learning curve. Of course, that’s an ongoing battle, but it’s getting easier - and painting’s a lot more fun now!

Which mediums and genres do you gravitate toward? Which ones don’t appeal?

I’ve discovered art I love created in all mediums and genres. Colour’s what gets me the most excited about anything. I use oil and gouache for my own work, simply because I enjoy using them and have found them easier to use than acrylic and watercolour. Learning watercolour is one of my ambitions though and many of my favourite artists are watercolourists. I also hope to do more landscapes in the future. At the moment I’m enjoying the possibilities within still life oil painting - they’re endless! And cats are my favourite subject for gouache. With both mediums, I enjoy starting with thinner layers, followed by thicker paint with more texture. I work alla prima as it suits the loose style I’m striving for. 

Pensive Tabby
(click to view)

What was the process like of pinpointing your personal style or finding your voice?

I consider myself at the beginning of my career and think my personal style is still evolving. Hopefully change will continue throughout, but I expect a consistency of subject matter and mark-making will emerge over time. For now, I’d say I’m a representational artist who wants to be able to express in a painting the beauty I see that brings me joy. The most important aspects to me in a piece of art are colour and shape, which rely on accurate values and strong design. So these are what I’m always aiming to achieve.

Name an artist (or artists), well-known or not, who you admire. Why?

How long have you got?! A short list is Karen O’Neil, Teddi Parker and Sarah Sedwick for still life. Ken DeWaard, Kim English, Trevor Chamberlain, and Anne Blair Brown for landscape. Lena Rivo for gouache. Claude Simard and Su Blackwell for work I love that’s completely different to what I do myself. 

And I can’t not make a special mention of Carol Marine! Carol has been the single most important influence in getting me back into painting. Her book, Daily Painting, provided the tools I needed to get started painting again after many dry desert years. I follow Carol’s guidance in general and specifically for still lifes in oils and her gouaches of animals are the inspiration for my pet and animal portraits. 

Juicy Orange Quarters
(click to view)

If you could offer one piece of advice to your younger, creative self — what would that be?

This is going to take a long time. That’s one of the beauties of learning and you’re going to do a lot of bad paintings before you get near to where you want to be. Your love of learning and the visual world is what will carry you through and there are many other things you need to learn about yourself before you’ll be ready to be a painter. 

Do you utilize any habits or tricks for winning the distraction and procrastination battle?

Yes, I tell myself I only have to paint for a short time- as little as ten minutes. Then once I’m doing it, I usually find I get into the flow. I also think it’s important to honour the ebb though, and not try to force the flow if it’s just not happening. It might be that I need to refill the creative tank before I’m ready to make something again, so then I’ll look at work by other artists or do something completely different to give my brain a break.

Tuxedo Cat
(click to view)

In moments of self-doubt or adversity, how do you push forward?

I remind myself that doubt and adversity have their function. They are here to keep me pushing on to improve and not get complacent. They also never last. So far at least, they haven’t outlasted the desire and drive to create. 

What are some of your long and short term goals for yourself or your art?

I could write pages on this! And do, in my journals. A love of learning and growth underpin my approach to art and life in general. In a nutshell, I strive to keep improving artistically and personally by setting and writing out tangible short-, mid-, and long-term goals. My specific plans and goals are constantly evolving and tracking these draws a map of where I’m heading and a way to gauge how far I’ve come. 

Divide and Conquer
(click to view)

What does success mean to you personally?

To live a life committed to authenticity and personal improvement. Continual growth both as an artist and a person - identifying, facing and working through fears. Anne Blair Brown says, “In some of us there’s the need for growth that transcends the need for oxygen.”

What is one of your proudest moments in your creative life?

In 2020 I decided to quit a life that wasn’t working for me and didn’t even feel like my own, move back to England from the US, and jump in to becoming an artist full time. Fears are the signposts directing me to the next area of change needed. I’ve learnt that facing fear and commitment to positive action is the only way for me to build a life of which I can be proud.

Thanks, Rosalind!

© 2021 Sophie Marine

Thursday, June 10, 2021

DPW Spotlight Interview: Samantha Koehn

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

From Samantha's DPW Gallery Page:

All my watercolor paintings are painted with non commercial watercolors. The majority of my watercolor paint is bespoke. From vendors on Etsy, one Japanese company and a vendor who has been around for nearly a century. I prefer to paint with non commercial paints, I am a collector and prefer to support small business, just like myself. I also believe it brings something special to my art. And the colors, boy, do I love the colors of the bespoke watercolors, real pigments.

I am available for commission work. I am reasonably priced, and my turn around is often fast, depending on the subject matter. I prefer hard objects as opposed to fluffy, cats, dogs, or pets. I will leave those commissions to the experts!

Thanks for stopping by, Sam.

What did you want to be growing up?

I grew up in London, England. Fashion, Arts, Theatre Arts, anything that was not related to office work was really where I wanted to be. I lacked the confidence to be a part of these genre’s - I was VERY shy. Alas I did not end up with a career in these areas!

When did your artistic journey begin?

I have always had an artistic journey since I was little. Art in secondary school was my favorite subject. I do not think there has been any part of my life that I have not dabbled in art in some way. Up until today, art has always been a hobby. I was laid off from my long-term career in corporate retail at the end of 2019. Then 2020 hit. To cope I decided to paint one picture a day for the year 2020. As the year progressed my work grew. My supportive husband encouraged me to put myself out there and open an Etsy shop for my art. I would say the abundance of my art path, has been from 2019 to present day.

Big Tree Big House
(click to view)

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

Did you have long periods without creative expression? How did you get back on the horse?

I do not have long periods without creative expression. A couple of days at most. I usually go for a walk, exercise, visit with my kids, or surf the internet for inspiration to shake the cobwebs. Right now, I have an abundance of energy and creativity. Maybe ask me this question again in a couple of years! I do understand burn out though, humble enough to know it will happen one day.

Which mediums and genres do you gravitate toward? Which ones don’t appeal?

Right now, all my art is watercolor. I LOVE this medium. I love the fluidity, the motion, the texture. I love that you can paint transparent or layer and layer until you get the desired intensity. Watercolor feels natural to me.

I used to only paint with acrylic. I loved how I could get messy with the paint. Now it makes me feel a bit suffocated. Oils. I have not dabbled with. They intimidate me. Maybe they are too technical for me!

Magic Garden
(click to view)

What was the process like of pinpointing your personal style or finding your voice?

I do not like to be very technical or concise with my art. I am a pretty fluid person by nature, and I think this reflects in my art. I like pretty things, and I paint pretty. My rt does not always have to make sense.  I think in the past six months I have found my true voice, I seem to paint now with a similar style, no matter the subject matter. I try to remember to paint with whimsey. Would I like to be in this picture, would I be happy in this picture?

Name an artist (or artists), well-known or not, who you admire. Why?

My husband. Jim Koehn. He is a historian with a twist. He is very technical and has been painting for close to forty years. I have learned SO much from him. It helps to live in the same house!

My favorite famous artist is David Hockney. I mean come on! His landscapes, who would not want to be in his countryside.

Mule Ears, Big Bend National Park
(click to view)

If you could offer one piece of advice to your younger, creative self — what would that be?

Never think you cannot be the person you really want to be. Confidence comes from within, love yourself first. The rest will follow, even if it takes forty years.

Do you utilize any habits or tricks for winning the distraction and procrastination battle?

Procrastination is minimal in my DNA. I am what my mother called a “do-er”. I only tend to procrastinate when it comes to numbers! I do get distracted, more in the way of too many choices. I must learn to focus on one thing at a time.

Ocean Blues
(click to view)

In moments of self-doubt or adversity, how do you push forward?

For me self-doubt is a painful experience. A discussion with (usually my husband) shakes my self-doubt. His positive outlook usually kicks me into gear. Even if it takes me a couple of days for his words to register. I guess patience pushes me forward.

What are some of your long and short-term goals for yourself or your art?

I am happy to be able to paint daily. My long-term goals are to keep doing just that. Short-term and long-term it would be nice to sell more of my art because it speaks to people.

Garden Shed
(click to view)

What does success mean to you personally?

This question does not relate to me just for art. Success for me is to be happy in all aspects of my life.  As a wife, mother, friend, sister, to have found the right tribe. To live with a humble lifestyle, that affords nice things now and then, and affords road trips, travel, and paint!

What is one of your proudest moments in your creative life?

The year 2020. When I was brave enough to put myself out there and not be afraid of what people think of my art. If you do not like it, fine, if you love it, awesome.

Thanks, Samantha!

© 2021 Sophie Marine

Thursday, June 3, 2021

DPW Spotlight Interview: Jen Finch

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

From Jen's DPW Gallery Page:

Starlight Finches is the name for the art by Finch Jen Volkening. Finch is an artist from Austin, Texas. She has a BFA in Studio Art from the University of Texas and has lived all over the United States, including Hawai'i, Oregon, North Carolina, and Washington DC. She is influenced by many years of working with children, all of the art she has ever seen, and a love for nature and getting 'lost' on a trail. Her work is inspired by the interplay of what is wild and what is safe; what is real and what is imagined.

What did you want to be growing up?

I don’t think I ever identified with wanting to be something in particular, but I knew I wanted to have animals around me and live close to the mountains and woods. Some combination of author and person who takes care of baby animals, I think.

When did your artistic journey begin?

When I was a child, I used to love to write, especially describing imaginary worlds and animals. I was basically painting with words. I used to love going to bed because that was the time I would ‘write’ in my head. I would get so excited about these ideas that I would have a hard time getting to sleep. That creative space before falling asleep was probably the root of my artistic life.

Blooming Kalanchoe
(click to view)

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

Did you have long periods without creative expression? How did you get back on the horse?

I have definitely had times when my creative expression has been dormant or on hold. In the past ten years this has been related to moving, my work-life being out of balance in favor of work, and studying to get my AMI diploma or other kinds of certifications that aren’t necessarily artistic. Usually those times are followed by other times when the creativity bursts out once my mind can finally sit still… like one of those cartoons where a kid cleans their room and shoves everything in the closet, but then the mess ends up pushing it’s way out in a huge heap. I’m definitely working on regulating this cycle.  

Which mediums and genres do you gravitate toward? Which ones don’t appeal?

I have always gravitated towards 2 dimensional art and 4d art (video/simple animation). That third dimension has always felt out of my grasp, although I love ceramics and the challenge of wheel-throwing. That speaks more to my own strengths and limitations as a visualizer than an actual preference. I love paint, color, glaze, lines, charcoal, graphite… things that feel very direct and accessible.

Half Moon Lizard
(click to view)

What was the process like of pinpointing your personal style or finding your voice?

I still feel like I am in that process now. I get inspired very easily, so for me the challenge is to sit still and put my compositions to paper before another wave of inspiration washes the first one way. It feels like an ongoing balance between inspiration and output, or imagination and order. I feel like I am at the beginning of that now.

Name an artist (or artists), well-known or not, who you admire. Why?

I admire so many artists! Off the top of my head Robyn O’neil, Julie Speed, Jessie Homer French and Sascha Gordon. I’m drawn to how these artists mix vast space with flat sort of illustrative/hyper detailed qualities. I love how their paintings go beyond the description and become the story in and of themselves, if that makes any sense.

Dark Peony
(click to view)

If you could offer one piece of advice to your younger, creative self — what would that be?

Maybe to have learned more about the business aspect of the art world before I graduated from art school. (I probably wouldn’t have listened 😊)

Do you utilize any habits or tricks for winning the distraction and procrastination battle?

I think that sometimes it’s okay to embrace and maybe even important to give in to procrastination. Sometimes what I really need to do is go on a walk or sleep on an idea before it’s put into action. But if there is a deadline involved or the procrastination goes beyond a day or two, my strategy is to prepare my workspace (clear the table, find music, light a candle), go drink coffee or tea, and then sit down and just start on some aspect that is accessible. Like choosing colors or sketching a thumbnail. My dog really likes to nap next to me while I work, so that’s good motivation as well.

Half Moon Birds
(click to view)

In moments of self-doubt or adversity, how do you push forward?

I also think sometimes it’s okay to take a few days and sit with the negative emotions around doubt and really name what they are and where they came from. It’s part of the process of knowing yourself and what you are afraid of. Once a thing is named and known, it’s a lot easier to keep the overwhelm at bay.  After that, I think movement is helpful, especially swimming because you’re physically propelling through a barrier. Then I move into my same strategy for defeating procrastination, setting a space and sitting down so that my dog can nap peacefully 😊 If the adversity is less emotional in nature, then it’s time to get resourceful and problem solve based on the situation and what is available and possible.

What are some of your long and short term goals for yourself or your art?

My long term goal is to try to be a good and truthful person each day and have a body of work, including larger paintings, that I feel proud of. My short term goals are pretty task based and mundane… but those little goals are crucial and add up like a jar of change. Today I have a short term goal to finish work at my day job, finish this interview, buy a meterstick at Home Depot and roast these vegetables that have been sitting in the fridge for a few days before they go bad.

Clover Bee
(click to view)

What does success mean to you personally?

Success to me means that I am living a life where I am engaged in meaningful work while as much as possible living in harmony with others and especially the environment.

What is one of your proudest moments in your creative life?

I don’t know about the proudest one, but I felt really proud after I recently finished building my website. I don’t know how to code, but I decided not to use a template because I had a vision for how I wanted it to look (very 2010s), and I was super happy with how it turned out, even though it still looks weird on different phone screens. I also felt proud of the animal moon series I created last year (2020) amidst quite a bit of chaos. They started out as little paintings I made on ceramic cups with underglaze in 2014, and I loved seeing them hold such a large flat space as paintings. I really hope they make it out into the world!

Crescent Moon Deer
(click to view)

Thanks, Jen!

© 2021 Sophie Marine