Thursday, October 14, 2021

DPW Spotlight Interview: Rina Lubov

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

From Rina's DPW Gallery Page:

Rina Lubov lives in California with her husband, beautiful two kids, dog and bunny. Originally from Russia, educated in LA, NY and Florence, Italy.

Over 25 years of painting and I am still learning to paint, unfolding complexity of playing with the paint and having fun.

Artist for life.

What did you want to be growing up?

I loved school and I wanted to be an elementary teacher.

When did your artistic journey begin?

I started to draw a little at school, but really my journey began when I was 16 years old. My father told me that we would be immigrating to America and I should learn some skills that might help me there. Since he was connected to some artists, I begun taking private classes for drawing and painting the year before we left.

Just Wondering
(click to view)

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

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

No, I really didn’t have any periods without painting. If I don’t paint for a couple days, my mood shifts and I become unpleasant. Painting is my Prozac.

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

Every time I paint I am concerned about learning to paint, which to me means, "how can I do this better, more poetic, what new thing can I discover." I am not concerned with finding my voice or style, for me it will be a cage, a limitation, stagnation, kind of, "this how I sound, this is how I look, this is me." No I don’t want that, I have split personality disorder when it comes to my painting - one day I paint happy flowers, another day I paint cloudy sky, I just make sure I do the best painting I know how at this day.

Perrot, The Hairstylist
(click to view)

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

It’s a long list, but David Leffel will be #1. He has taught me so much and I am forever in his debt.

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

Get as strong of a foundation as possible and build any sandcastles that you want on top.

My Name is Sunshine
(click to view)

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

I really don’t have those. Painting feeds my soul, cleaning, laundry or anything else doesn’t. My choice is always an easy one.

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

Critical doubt is constructive, self-doubt is not. I always tell myself that painting is challenging and it’s a problem-solving experience, so if I can identify the problem I can search for the solution (try different variations, look at other artists and how they solved similar problems or just erase and start over.) I always  say to myself, "I can do it!"

Sofia's Garden
(click to view)

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

I have no goals, I just want to paint, be inspired, learn more, take classes, the rest will follow by itself.

What does success mean to you personally?

Success means freedom, I can do more of what I love.

Natalie
(click to view)

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

When I first erased my painting, I realized that we have complete freedom over our creations. Having a great show is also a burst to my ego, but the next show could be not a success and it’s the same paintings (so I feel not so proud about the same paintings.) I really think an artist is vulnerable to so many exterior conditions that we become insecure in our creations. I suffer from it too, except deep inside I know it doesn’t matter.

Guardian II
(click to view)

Thanks, Rina!

© 2021 Sophie Marine

Thursday, October 7, 2021

DPW Spotlight Interview: Elen Vejaya

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings. To enter to win Elen's painting "Bird Portrait" 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?

Really I was an active and noisy child. I learned to read and write early and easily found something to do. But I had no clear idea of adulthood. I definitely enjoyed creating something, and painting was part of that process.

When did your artistic journey begin?

Although I have been drawing since childhood, I consider February 2015, that is, 6 years ago, to be the start of my art career. Then I came to drawing consciously and with maximum determination.

Bird Portrait
(click to view)

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

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

Yes, I did. This period lasted about 10 years and was after graduating from a school of art. By the end of the education, I had the skills, but there were absolutely no ideas and topics that I would like to express in my work. Then it seemed to me that it was closer to me to design buildings. I entered the architecture department at the university. Drawing was also part of the curriculum, but I didn't want to draw so much that I skipped classes. I left my studies. Over time, I understood myself and realized that everything that I want to translate into reality, I can first create on paper. I quickly realized that missing 10 years was bad for my level. And I decided on the challenge "1 day - 1 page", and lasted 2.5 years. This helped to gain confidence in drawing. 

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

Now I use paint markers, black gouache and acrylic paints. Step by step, I go to combine painting and drawings, different materials in my works, and add new methods. I want to complicate my work, to make them with a lot of composite.

I don't think I want to paint with watercolors or oil paints right now. I also like to look at realistic paintings, but I do not know how to create it. I prefer surrealism and some absurdity in my works.

Eel Fish
(click to view)

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

Once I finished a small drawing, I felt complete unity with the image and the medium. After a while, the same thing happened, but with a different theme and different medium. Now I have formed an idea of how my works and my style should look in the future. And I'm just moving in this direction. I explore new topics, master mediums, combine techniques. My current style is only one stage of development.

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

From classical art, Mikhail Vrubel inspires me. The characters in his work and the complex color combinations made a huge impression on me.

However, now I follow digital artists more. They create whole incredible worlds, three-dimensional models, locations. They are not limited to one plane or format of the painting. This is great freedom.

Headlights
(click to view)

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

Perhaps I have no advice. Each step taken, each obstacle overcome has led to the present creative self, and will lead to the future creative self.

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

There is one trick. I have a huge stock of ideas and everything that is not created and not painted. What is already planned will be enough for me for three to five years of full time work. And every new book I read, every movie I watch, gives me more ideas and images. If I feel tired of one idea, then I simply choose another from the list or change the medium.

Puffer Fish
(click to view)

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

It is difficult to answer. Each new step and each new drawing gives me determination and self-confidence. Looking back, I know what path I have come across. And I can pass it again. So I just push forward.

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

Right now, my short-term goal is to make money from my creativity so that I can do it all the time. Now I additionally work in the store.

As for the long-term goal, when I come to my final style in traditional mediums, I want to design a digital environment filled with art. An environment in which architecture, painting and sculpture will be woven together. It seems that I am only at the very beginning of this journey.

Tea Service
(click to view)

What does success mean to you personally?

I think about a lot of my artwork around the world. Different sizes, different contents, different mediums. This will be my success as an artist.

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

Last year I created the cover for the first issue of a new literary magazine "СКОБЫ". That project suited me.

Shoal of Fish
(click to view)

Thanks, Elen!

© 2021 Sophie Marine

Thursday, September 30, 2021

DPW Spotlight Interview: Margaret Mayer

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

From Maggie's DPW Gallery Page:


Growing up, Margaret Marya Mayer (aka Maggie) was always an artistic person, who recognized beauty in everyday life. Since childhood, she has experienced life in places all over the world from the Colorado Rockies to Europe and the Middle East. She lived in Atlanta, GA for most of her adult life and moved to Mississippi in 2019 to be near her elderly parents. Maggie currently works in marketing for the Madison County Library System and paints during her spare time and on weekends.

She grew up in Mississippi where her family owned a log house and land off the Natchez Trace Parkway. When her father was offered a two-year contract job in Saudi Arabia the family moved overseas so, Maggie, age 15 at the time, got to see the world. Her life on the farm, love of nature, and travels abroad have a big influence in her work.

"My hope with my work is to paint from my heart and bring joy to the viewer.”

What did you want to be growing up?


I didn’t have a plan for what I wanted to be when I grew up. I can remember being a dreamer as a child. I loved to daydream and often had my head in the clouds. I would create all kinds of stories in my imagination and plans for a future. Back then my dad was a traveling medical supply salesman, and he would sometimes take me with him on his road trips. Since my dad was a master storyteller, we would often collaborate with these dreams turning them into stories, building castles in faraway places with horses and lots of land. 


When did your artistic journey begin?

When I was in 5th grade, I had an art teacher that believed in me. She saw potential in me and that I had a desire to learn. She encouraged me and was very patient, gentle and kind. I felt comfortable making art in her class. That was the beginning.



Mick's Garden
(click to view)

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

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



Fortunately I haven’t had too many times in my life without creative expression. I can think of times in my life when I had to schedule time to paint because of other commitments like when my kids were very young or other family commitments. Also, while working full time I set aside time to get in my studio even if that means saying no to other fun things to do. One thing that has kept me on the horse is having a permanent place to paint in my house… somewhere I can leave my paints and easel set up so that when I do have time I’m ready.

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

I gravitate towards oils. I have also been using gouache quite a bit lately. I’m still learning the water ratio. I love the mat finish but not so much how fast they dry. I paint many different subjects. I like to paint scenes that appeal to me on an emotional level. Sometimes it’s a memory or feeling that I try to capture on canvas. Sometimes it is dependent on the light. I love to look for subtle nuances of color shifts and try to capture that in my piece. It seems if you look hard enough you can see many different colors in a scene but the shifts are slight. I love the challenge of putting it all together in a painting and having all the design elements like value and composition work. Sometimes I leave parts of a painting unfinished but that’s intentional if it’s not necessary. This also allows the viewer to participate by finishing the painting themselves.

Urban Morning
(click to view)

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

Miles of canvas. I believe my voice and style came out after I had been painting for many years. I have been all over the board with my voice but I think it settles into you the more you paint because you discover what you like. I found that I was really having an opinion when I looked at artwork.

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

I love the work of Jill Soukup, an equestrian painter. She captures the solidity of the horse in both her drawings and paintings with composition, color, values, and edges. I like the work of Russian painter, Slava Korolenkov because of the expressive quality of his work. I admire the work of Anne Blair Brown from Tennessee. I took a workshop from Anne. She is an amazing colorist and I love the mood and subjects of her paintings. I appreciate the Northern California coastal paintings of Jim McVicker. There is so much mood and feeling in his work and I am constantly asking “how did he do that”.

Clare Bowen is an English painter who I met at a workshop. She is such an inspiring person to know and gave me some great advice about pursuing my plein air work. I love Clare’s tonal plein air paintings. I just discovered Kathy Odom and I’m so inspired by her plein air paintings. I like her underpainting work and then how she boldly puts paint on canvas sometimes with a palette knife not to disturb the layer underneath. Her work is so fun and joyful to me just like her personality.

Famous painters: Nicolai Fechin and Joaquín Sorolla. I admire both of these painters because of their bold and expressive work.

Chellberg Farm at Indiana Dunes National Park
(click to view)

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

Take workshops from artists whose work you admire. Don’t get discourage when you make bad art because it’s part of learning. Don’t compare yourself to others. Think of making your art as play and have more fun. Enjoy the process and not just the finished work.



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

If I’m very busy and over committed to other things I still try to paint for only 30 mins to an hour every day. This is an antidote to creative blocks. I’m stealing this advice from the book The Artist Way by Julia Cameron because it works. Making small amounts of time each day means that I’m moving forward with my work and more likely to show up again the next day.

Cellist
(click to view)

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

I pray and journal and remember all my blessings and recall what I’m grateful for… sometimes even writing these things down in a gratitude journal. I’ve struggled with self-doubt, stress and anxiety at times in my life. I don’t know if this comes from my sensitivity but it draws me closer to God. Giving it to God and surrendering clears the junk and fear that holds me back.

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

Short term: To keep painting every day and take a Kathy Odom workshop. 

Long term: A dream of mine is to paint our National Parks.

High Hill Hopes
(click to view)

What does success mean to you personally?

Doing something that I enjoy to bring someone joy is a success and success is courageously going for it and not asking “what if”.

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

The opportunity to be an artist in residence at Indiana Dunes National Park. This was an honor and I’m grateful.

Hound Dog
(click to view)

Thanks, Margaret!

© 2021 Sophie Marine

Thursday, September 23, 2021

DPW Spotlight Interview: Fu-Hsuan Liao

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings. To enter to win Fu-Hsuan's painting "Restaurant Omnivore in Pau II" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Fu-Hsuan's DPW Gallery Page:

HELLO!

I'm Fu-hsuan, 'noting' things with different materials, presenting what I "received" in colorful drawings. I work principally in oil pastels.

Before I studied and worked in fashion design domain, and now I'm trying something new!

If you would like to give my drawings a new home, please contact me by mail or instagram! Thanks! (click to read more)

What did you want to be growing up?

Teacher while I was in elementary school, then someone capable of feeling the world in every way.

When did your artistic journey begin?

I am not sure whether it could be called an artistic journey 'cause I have never been trained or followed a typical systematic art class. Let’s call it draw-something journey. It began when I didn’t know how to write my name. In my country (close to Japan), Japanese comic style (characters with giant eyes) was trendy, therefore I drew for around thirteen years giant eye characters with pencil. My mother still keeps one of my drawings (a girl in a sleeve-less top and jeans holding a small purse) - done as a 6 year-old.

Restaurant Omnivore in Pau II
(click to view)

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

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

I did, while I worked from 9:00 to 19:00, plus two hours of commute and language classes after work till 10pm. In this period I didn't feel eager to create even a quick sketch, literally nothing. After I left, everything got back to normal. It seems to me I'm either always being in a rush and exhausted or being creative, not both.

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

Oil pastels, charcoal, and oil paints, sometimes acrylics, mediums textural. Even better if it’s textural, rough and thick at once, such as oil pastels. Mediums usually used to create a transparent effect, like aquarelle, is not that attractive to me. For genres, it must be Post-Impressionism and Fauvisme where people detach the reality from realistic painting and separate painting from representing what we see by observing/encountering the outside world in multiple ways. I would like to mention the minimal art and conceptual art as well which I appreciate the idea, but for simply the visual side, I personal prefer artwork more pictorial.

Beer bottle II and a plant decoration on table at restaraunt ishikawa bord 
(click to view)

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

I started with pencil from don’t know when, till my seventeen-year-old with a Japanese comic style; since college, in fashion design we needed clear and readable illustration, therefore, I switched to fine-liner pens, Staedtler, Uni... in order to accumulate all silhouettes illustrated. Coloring with Copic Markers, and this fine-liner and Copic marker combination has lasted more than ten years until the readability didn't seem to me as important as before - that’s the moment where I needed something more rough, less clear and delicate, such as oil pastel. In other words, I switched to unmodifiable and textural mediums.

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

Van Gogh and André Derain.

Van Gogh for calling himself too unstable and unrealistic, but painting real objects (such as flowers, people, countryside views) allowed him at least to stay in the connection between himself and the stable outside.

André Derain for his composition of colors and rough traits shown in his paintings during 1904-1907 or even later, 1908, where his style changed radically (though it changes all the time). It seems to me that every part of his paintings (in this period) can stay alive separately but meanwhile their vitality won’t change - even being gathered in one canvas. It’s like a big biscuit is a biscuit, but after being cut in dozens of pieces, these pieces can still stay legitimately biscuits. Not like how a lizard’s tail won’t be alive once it's separated from the body, but more like how one cell separated in two, then four then eight, works perfectly as the first single cell.

Travel to Bilbao-on the bridge to Casco Viejo
(click to view)

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

That pursuing the narrow gap between real and unreal, optique and non-optique would never hurt, it’s the entrance of everything.

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

No, I draw, create and think because I receive from the exterior, no way this transmission from interior to exterior could be stopped even while being isolated in a cave. Therefore this nonstop process of releasing what is received happens naturally as instinct, exactly as if we eat because of hunger, rest because of fatigue, and the ‘distraction’ doesn’t really appear in this situation.

Restaurant Bouchon Les Lyonnais
(click to view)

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

I don’t have any special tricks, however in my opinion doubt (or self-doubt) is natural also neutral, think-doubt-act are three elements that work reciprocally. As a normal circulation. There is no need to feel uncomfortable (or comfortable) while doubting.

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

Short term goal is to refine the colors in my drawings, sometimes they are way too much. Long term goal is to start a boutique with mixed offerings: a selection of product ceramic, clothing (a minimum), plus a corner studio where I can work on drawings or any kind of creations and display them right on the site where they are created.


Black Teapot
(click to view)

What does success mean to you personally?

Being consistent and impartial. All actions and pursuits must present the same coherence.

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

The moment where I finally realized there is no need to deliberately avoid drawing recognizable shape in order to make it look less real, vice versa. A house is a house, whether I agree or not, whether it appears green or pink in my eyes, the existence of this house is absolute, the nature of things won’t change any, what I need to do is to draw while thinking about a house existing independently in its ‘house way’. After this moment, I start hearing some interesting comments, ‘your lines are moving’ or ‘they are alive in your drawing’. I appreciate that people see through drawings and paintings 'cause they are way more than just an image representative of an objet.

Thanks, Fu-Hsuan!

© 2021 Sophie Marine

Thursday, September 16, 2021

DPW Spotlight Interview: Lena Levchii

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings. To enter to win Lena's painting "Pumpkin 4" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Lena's DPW Gallery Page:

Our world is wonderful. Every little thing, creature, has its own place and make sense. And it’s just impossible to not see it. Sometimes there are so many positive feelings that need to be expressed. Every person is looking for their own way to do this. My way is oil painting. (click to read more)

What did you want to be growing up?

I wanted to be a BIG FATHER. It's not easy to explain without the context... BIG FATHER is a collective term for a person's role in this world. This is somehow a prototype of my father and who he was in my children's eyes: a hero, strong, intelligent, always knowing what to do. Therefore, there was no specific profession that I dreamed of. My dream was to become a strong personality and achieve the impossible in any area.

When did your artistic journey begin?

My journey into art began with the contemplation of the beauty of nature and its interpretation. Also from the bookshelves in my house. There I could find books with reproductions of paintings by famous classical artists. And with the first Plein Air with my father, when he showed how you can depict a dandelion with a couple of precise strokes.

The Obligatory Apple
(click to view)

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

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

Yes, of course. I knew I had to earn money in this complicated world. To be an artist in my country, in my time was and still is not the best idea. I needed to receive a "real" Diploma of Higher Education to find a good job. And I did it twice! During this time and next with my jobs I had no time for creativity. Art was just a little part of my life. I came back to art when I had a year of no working break. I used that time to think about the really meaningful things in my life, to find new goals. Then I found out how much art can change in me. It's a huge emotional resource that I can use for anything else.

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

As usual I use oil. My favorite genres are still life and portraits. I also combine these two genres to create a scene of daily life. Like people eating or children playing with fruit.

Fish Mosaic
(click to view)

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

I was very inspired by Carol's book "Daily Painting". From it I drew some conclusions for myself. First, I allowed myself to make mistakes, to make unsuccessful pictures, but to try again and again. Secondly, I took a small format of paintings so that I would have a finished work every day. So I felt the movement towards the goal and my artworks improved every day. And last, but not least, I began to listen to myself and choose themes for the picture that ignited me. Every day, going out for a walk, I looked with my eyes for objects and situations that raised pleasant emotions in me. I realized that sunlight, the play of light and shadow, bright colors most of all correspond to my nature. So I started painting with all my heart. Each picture is a part of me transferred to the canvas. I give my best and get great pleasure when there are people who are able to share my joy, my outlook on life. 

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

It's Claude Monet. He really knew how to capture the impression of the moment on the canvas.

Strange Tangerine
(click to view)

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

Don't be scared of creating crap. It can't be crap if you do it with your heart.

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

First of all it's important to start. That's the most difficult part. And then I just do what I want first to be done on my painting. This action involves me in the process and inspiration comes!

Cup of Cherries
(click to view)

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

I do things that bring me pleasure. Long walks in nature always help me find myself and return joy in life.

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

My long term goal is to find my place in the art community. Be known and familiar with other contemporary artists.

My short term goal is to sell enough paintings to cover my costs for canvases, paints and everyday visits to the coffee shop. :)


Coffee Time
(click to view)

What does success mean to you personally?

To be a person whose opinion matters. Be in demand.

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

The moment when I was able to surprise not only myself, but also people close to me with my success in painting. It was really an achievement, because I never knew about my potential.

Thanks, Lena!

© 2021 Sophie Marine

Thursday, September 2, 2021

DPW Spotlight Interview: Nils Gleissenberger

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

From Nils' DPW Gallery Page: 

I've been an artist for a long time, but only picked up physical media about a year ago. Until then, all I knew were computers! I've spent much of my life in front of a screen, surrounded by electronics, making video games, films and commercials in computer graphics.

I picked up oil painting because I (like many people here, I assume) read Carol Marine's book and got hooked on daily painting. So I bought some paint. Bought a brush. Tried to figure out where the batteries go. Turns out you don't need any! How crazy is that!

What did you want to be growing up?

I was really into computers and video games as a kid. My brothers and I always dreamed of making our own video games. We would divide up the work and I’d always end up creating the art. My mom’s side of the family is very artistic - my mom was a painter herself - so anything artistic was well supported. In fact even though my mom was the more artistic of my parents, it was my dad who always reminded me to find something I enjoy doing with my life.

It is hard to really know what you want to be when you’re young. Apart from maybe a Lego-building astronaut who plays video games all day, I only had a vague idea of doing something creative involving computers. Looking back, I hit that goal pretty good.

When did your artistic journey begin?

I got interested in computer-generated art in school, and carried on doing it into my career. I spent about a decade as a digital artist working on video games and TV commercials. If you’ve ever seen a talking animal on TV trying to sell you frozen food or a mortgage - chances are that was me (and a lot of very talented people).

I got lucky in my first job and found a great mentor who taught me how to draw. Until then all I knew were computers. So I guess that’s where my traditional art journey began. I kept drawing for a few years but never made the jump to really enjoying it as a hobby.

The Obligatory Apple
(click to view)

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

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

After working in commercials I dropped art altogether for a long time. It’s an exhausting industry, and I guess it would be fair to say I got a bit burned out. I think I didn’t touch anything art-related for about 5 years.

My only contact with art at that time were some blogs I followed. Then one day I had one of those “wait a second…” moments when I realised Carol Marine had written a book about something called “daily painting”. I read the book, bought some oil paints the next day and I’ve been happily painting ever since. I built an easel out of a kitchen table with a smaller kids table balanced on top, with a shoebox sticky taped on top of that and a tiny wooden frame to hold my canvas stuck on top of that. Very stable, very safe (not). I haven’t bought a proper easel yet.

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

I’ve spent most of my time with oil paints - I love the brilliant colors they offer! I also love that every painting requires a strategy: Painting in the right order to preserve the most vulnerable colors, planning out values beforehand. Even mixing colors needs some planning since everything gets contaminated eventually. All that I really enjoy.

The fact that oil paints take forever to dry turned out to be a great plus as well. I can paint, walk away for a day, and then pick up where I left.

I’ve tried gouache too, but I tend to panic when my paint dries too fast. It felt a bit too hectic for me, and I have the greatest respect for everyone who can master it.

I also very rarely draw anymore - it’s something I know helps me with my underpaintings, but it’s not something I enjoy very much.

King Fisher
(click to view)

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

I follow a lot of talented painters so whenever I see something I like, I try to incorporate it. I very much like bold, simple, confident styles with great color.

It’s not something I feel I can really do yet. I don’t have enough confidence yet to be really bold, and I can’t stop fiddling with details so there goes the “simple” right out the window. But it’s great fun to have an idea of where I’d like to be a few years down the track. And who knows, by the time I get there I’ll have found some other styles I’d like to try!

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

Easy peasy - Carol Marine. Thanks again for writing that book, it made a big difference in my life!

I also admire a lot of classical painters, both for their incredible skill and the sheer ambition of their work. The idea that they worked hundreds of years ago, without the internet to do research - it’s beyond impressive. The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is one of my favorite places in the world.

Deep Freeze
(click to view)

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

That’s an easy one: relax! I’ve always been pretty driven and focused on results as opposed to enjoying every day as it comes along. It’s only been over the last year that I’ve managed to slow down a bit so I could enjoy the journey. Painting has certainly helped me with that because the part I enjoy most about it isn’t the result - it’s the painting process itself. I don’t know what it is about it, but time just flies by.

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

Absolutely! Anything goes when it comes to beating procrastination. For me, procrastination is mostly about anxiety, so I try to manage that with a few tricks:

For example, I break up my painting sessions into underpaintings and final paintings. The idea is that you can’t really make unfixable mistakes at the early stage, so it can be done without pressure.

I’ll do 2-3 underpaintings (base color and sketch) at once in a session, and then let them dry before I do the final paintings in a session each. That gives me a window where I can look at the sketch while I’m going about my day, and I’ll sort of plan out the actual painting in my head. By the time I start the final painting I’m usually feeling pretty confident in my approach.

I’ve also found that it helps me to mix most of my colors first, before I start painting. So typically I’ll spend about an hour mixing colors, and I’ll try them out on a little canvas pad. This is another “safe” phase where I can’t really make a mistake, so it builds up my confidence.

In terms of habits, I do have one day a week when I always paint no matter what. It wasn’t an intentional thing - it sort of got established over time and now my family knows that on that day I’ll be painting. It helps to know that I’ll have time that day (unlike most other days), and it also sets an expectation for myself that I'll paint, which keeps me from procrastinating.

Chiaroscuro Watermelon
(click to view)

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

This is a hard one for me because I get discouraged easily and then tend to give up.

When painting, it’s helped me to stop worrying too much about my mistakes. This is where daily (well, twice-weekly) painting has really made a difference. Because the paintings are fast and small, it doesn’t matter so much if I mess one up. When I do fail at a painting I’ll usually do two things:

* I’ll put it away to dry, out of sight. This way I’m not constantly reminded of it.

* Every now and then, throughout the next few days, I’ll peek at it and try to figure out where I went wrong. If it’s something obvious, for example a bad value choice, I’ll figure it out sooner or later and then I’ll at least have learned something (which puts me back in a good mood).

It gets a bit harder when I mess up several paintings in a row. That usually happens when I try something new, for example the first landscapes I painted. They were pretty bad. In those cases I try to find something else to paint altogether, preferably something I know I’m pretty good at. It’s all about rebuilding my confidence at that point instead of trapping myself in a downward spiral.

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

I’ve only been painting (with traditional media) for about a year, so I’m very much enjoying the day-to-day improvements I can see.

Long term it would be great to build up my confidence so that I can try some different styles and media. I’m not there yet and for now I prefer to stick to safe ground with my oil paints.

Shire Of Ashburton
(click to view)

What does success mean to you personally?

A year ago that would’ve been a very complicated question, with a complicated answer. The last year has been a lot about trying to find a happy place, and painting has really helped me with that. I guess at this point, success for me means being in a place where there is something to enjoy every day.

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

You mean apart from this interview?

I’d say it was when my wife and my son picked some of my paintings to frame for themselves (“You can’t sell it, it’s mine now!”). It’s awesome to feel that something you’ve made is making someone else happy.

Thanks, Nils!

© 2021 Sophie Marine

Thursday, August 26, 2021

DPW Spotlight Interview: Susan Paulsen

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

From Susan's DPW Gallery Page: 


Susan Paulsen is a North Carolina artist working in watercolors and oil. Her subjects range from still life to landscape to animal portraiture, with horses being a favorite subject.

Although an avid drawer and painter since a young age, Susan’s formal education has taken a few twists and turns. Finding few options for training in the representational painting style she loves, her natural flair for mathematics lead her to major in statistics at Princeton. There she was profoundly influenced by John Tukey and his highly creative and non-conventional approach to using numbers to describe the world.

Next, Susan pursued her PhD at Duke University where she studied the evolution of butterfly wing color pattern, combining her enthusiasm for data analysis with the beauty of nature.

Susan was inspired to take up her paint brush more seriously by a watercolor class at the Carrboro ArtsCenter. Since then she has benefited from instruction by local artists such as Luna Lee Ray and Brian Kuebler. Next, Susan studied alla prima painting with Sarah Sedwick, an Oregon artist. Her recent landscape work is influenced by her current mentor, the Australian painter Colley Whisson.

What did you want to be growing up?

I was really torn between wanting to be a scientist and wanting to be an artist -- and tried to put off the choice for as long as possible.

When did your artistic journey begin?

In elementary school I drew every day. Mostly I drew horses, a lot of horses. I was horse-crazy. In high school I was lucky enough to go to the Maryland Summer Center for the Arts. It was an amazing program. Painting and drawing and exploring other visual media all day long with great teachers. In the evening there were performances by students in the performing arts. Some important artists, like the sculptor Toby Mendez came out of this program. Sadly, after 50 years it was cancelled due to dwindling financial support. But still, after all these years, the creative joy I felt there still sparks.

Hummingbird
(click to view)

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

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

Freshman year of college I was so excited to take a painting class. But I discovered only non-representational work was permitted. If your work even accidentally suggested something representational, it was banished to the hallway. And it was not just this one class; I saw this sentiment everywhere in the art world at that time. While I can appreciate non-representational work, it was not what I wanted to do. So I decided to focus on my other love -- science -- and told myself that I could pursue art later.

“Later” arrived seven years ago, but it was hard to start again. What really helped was enrolling in a class at a local art center. Next, I found two great mentors, Sarah Sedwick and Colley Whisson. With their instruction and feedback I found I could more consistently produce successful work.

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

I really enjoy playing with watercolor. It’s just so luminous, and I love watching the happy accidents occur. I have a thing for granulating pigments too. But lately I’ve spent much more time painting with oils. Compared to watercolor, it’s just such a joy to paint the light (rather than carefully reserving it). And you can work as slowly as you want. Something doesn’t look right? Just wipe the paint away, and try again.

Every once in a while I try gouache. Carol Marine’s recent work in this medium was very inspiring. Yet every time I use gouache, I just about want to cry. The lighter colors dry so much darker than I expect them to. I don’t have the hang of how to control edges or blending. As for genre - I love loose realism. There’s nothing like a few strokes describing the essence of a subject. On the other hand, with something like photorealism, I’m distracted by my thoughts of how much very hard work went into the painting.

Plate O' Pears
(click to view)

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

I used to worry about not having a personal style, and I’ve been all over the place subject-wise. But one (of many) good things about posting my work at DPW is that I can look back at my paintings and see that a style has in fact emerged without my having to consciously focus on it.

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

I absolutely adore Ronald Jesty, a British watercolorist. The man could really paint water, rocks, glass, metal -- really just about anything in a beautiful way. There’s a certain tidy crispness to his work that makes me happy.

As for oil painters, I really admire both Sarah Sedwick and Colley Whisson. I like to channel Sarah for still lifes and Colley for landscapes. Both have loose, expressive brush strokes and a great eye for composition.

Untitled
(click to view)

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

Pay more attention to composition! My younger self was pretty good at rendering subjects, and everybody (including myself) seemed pretty happy with just that, but if my composition worked, that was purely by accident. I’d give myself a copy of “The Simple Secret to Better Painting” by Greg Albert.

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

I wish I was a daily painter, but in all honesty, I’m a weekly painter, so I’m constantly fighting this battle. If my creativity has gone cold, I’ll break up the process into small steps and tell myself I only have to do one step that day: for example, set up the still life or find a reference picture. If that doesn’t take too long, and I’m starting to get excited, I’ll move onto the next step. Sometimes I can get a painting done in one day from start to finish, but it’s a huge mental block if I think I have to do it.

Seashell #6
(click to view)

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

This is when I try to remember how I worked when I was a scientist. I worked on a lot of experiments and statistical analyses that took weeks -- if not months -- of labor with no guarantee of success. I put in the time because that’s just what was required. Compared to spending several months collecting seeds from morning glory plants (which had to be untangled every day!), how bad can it be to spend three hours on a painting that doesn’t succeed? Still, I will say it hurts when a painting doesn’t work out. You are making yourself vulnerable. I just fall back on thinking it’s “just work.”

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

I would really like to be able to paint looser, and the key to looser, more confident brushstrokes is putting in more painting miles (per Carol’s advice!). I’d also like to paint subjects in a related series more often.

Chicken Coop at Twin Creeks
(click to view)

What does success mean to you personally?

I try not to think about success writ large too much because it tends to lead me to self-doubt. Instead, I feel like I’ve succeeded when someone likes my work enough to comment on it or purchase it. The latter may sound awfully prosaic, but it’s a concrete way of knowing I’ve created something that’s going to bring joy into someone’s life.

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

It was a very small moment, just between me and the canvas. I was painting a large scene of a tractor pull (I do like to paint “local”), with a friend of mine on the tractor. I managed to capture her face and characteristic posture with just a few brush strokes. There are no real details, but anyone that looks at it knows it’s her. That’s when painting’s really fun.

Honeymoon Beach, Mosquito Island
(click to view)

Thanks, Susan!

© 2021 Sophie Marine

Thursday, August 19, 2021

DPW Spotlight Interview: Galina Podgorbunskikh

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

From Galina's DPW Gallery Page:

I like to draw, travel, and play sports. I put all my impressions and love of life into my paintings. I hope you feel it. The world around is beautiful and it can be conveyed in colors. Art helps me overcome the challenges that can be encountered.

What did you want to be growing up?

I drew well as a child, I wanted to become an artist. But I didn't study painting anywhere.

When did your artistic journey begin?

The Internet has opened up many opportunities for online learning and somehow my husband gave me drawing courses, knowing that I like to draw. During these courses, I realized that I lacked a basic academic education. I found academic drawing and painting courses in my city and started studying at them. Teachers from the university and the art school taught there. Then I continued to study online with teachers, I chose the courses that I needed myself.

Red Apple
(click to view)

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

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

There was a period during the Covid-19 pandemic, when my relatives began to get sick. I was depressed. But painting helped me here, starting to paint small works, I was distracted while working and this helped me a lot.

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

I like to draw landscapes and still lifes. I am less interested in historical genres and battle genres.

Goldfish
(click to view)

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

I'm still looking for my own style, but there are artists whose works I really like.

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

Konstantin Korovin, Nikolai Feshin, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet. I admire the color of the paintings, the color combinations, how the emotions of the artist are conveyed by color. 

River
(click to view)

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

They are not afraid to express themselves, follow their intuition.

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

I watch paintings by my favorite artists and listen to music. I also like to travel and get inspiration for new works there.

Apple Slices
(click to view)

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

I'm just trying to get through this period, I tell myself that all this will pass and there will be a good streak in my life.

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

I want to continue studying academic drawing. I want to paint portraits. I do not set long-term goals yet, I am still an amateur in painting.

Sunny Pears
(click to view)

What does success mean to you personally?

Success for me is painting professionally.

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

I am proud that I can draw, that my paintings bring joy to people. Each work is filled with my emotions. I hope people see this.

Kettle with Grapefruit
(click to view)

Thanks, Galina!

© 2021 Sophie Marine