Thursday, May 13, 2021

DPW Spotlight Interview: Valorie Sams

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

From Valorie's DPW Gallery Page:

Valorie Sams resides in the beautiful state of New Mexico, pursuing her dream to draw and paint full time.

Flower on Fire
(click to view)

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

What did you want to be growing up?

I always wanted to be an artist. I doodled on everything! My notebooks were always full of doodles and sketches.

Unfortunately the high school I attended did not offer art. I think I would have probably gone to art school if I had been motivated by an instructor. I feel it’s so important for young children to be exposed to art in every way possible.

When did your artistic journey begin?

Mostly in high school. I was encouraged to join the school newspaper where I did the cartoon “The Peepo People” for the paper. I really enjoyed that. It’s where I learned all about design, layout and printing. It gave me the beginning skills to become a graphic artist which is what I became later on.

Past Their Prime
(click to view)

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

Yes, like most artists we all have dry periods. I stuck with art for many years through the 80’s and 90’s but stopped for awhile after that. I picked art back up about ten years ago when I came down with a chronic illness. It served as therapy for me and helped me cope with my illness.

What mediums and genre do you gravitate towards? Which ones don’t appeal?

My chosen medium to start was color pencil. I took an illustration class in college and fell in love with them. I then tried my skills at pastels and later watercolor. I tried oils and acrylics but did not care for either of those.

Southwest Springtime
(click to view)

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

I am not really sure I have a style. I just paint or draw what moves me at the time.

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

Georgia O’Keefe. She was a free spirit who forged her way despite the restrictions of being a female artist of her time. Her work is beautiful and free spirited. You can feel her appreciation for the beauty of the various objects that she paints.

Margaret's Stash
(click to view)

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

Take the risk and go to SCAD instead of the other path I chose.

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

I have never had much problem in that department. I don’t do art on demand; it has to come as inspiration. That kind of pressure does not produce good art.

Road Runner
(click to view)

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

I try to remember that art is an expression of one’s self and it should be fun.

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

I don’t really have any goals when it comes to art. I think it should be fun and spontaneous and if someone likes it all the better!

Colorful Peppers
(click to view)

What does success mean to you personally?

Success is being happy to be in a good place with my art and enjoying the process.

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

When I won “Best of Show” with my color pencil drawing “Silver Chaos” in the Explore this! Colored Pencil Society of America’s Exhibition.

Silver Chaos
(click to view)

Thanks, Valorie!

© 2021 Sophie Marine

Thursday, May 6, 2021

DPW Spotlight Interview: Mary Beth Harrison

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

From Mary Beth's DPW Gallery Page:

Some of the best times from my childhood were spent around the kitchen table drawing cartoons with my brothers. I loved to copy the characters from Dr. Seuss books and my brothers liked to draw super heroes. As I grew older, I continued to draw, but also learned to paint. I was blessed with an excellent high school art teacher who encouraged me in all my pursuits and exposed me to diverse media and styles. I remember running into her at a restaurant a few years after high school graduation. She was a little disappointed to hear my career plan of becoming a biology teacher, but I reassured her that I would draw the best amoeba the students had ever seen! (click to read more)

What did you want to be growing up?

My first memory of a possible career goal was to play for the San Francisco Giants! My parents were huge fans and my older brother and I collected baseball cards and listened to the games on the radio. I even got to see Willie Mays play.

When did your artistic journey begin?

Creating art was important to me as far back as I can remember. I have clear memories of projects created in Kindergarten, even. When there was an art project at school, in Sunday School, in an after-school program, or at home, I was excited and absorbed by it. I received a lot of praise for my efforts which encouraged me to keep going. In high school I had a wonderful teacher all four years who I praise to this day for all she did for her students.

Three Friends
(click to view)

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

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

In my twenties the chances for creative expression dwindled as I gave all my energies to college, work, career building as a Biology teacher, and then marriage, home-building, and child raising. Photography became my creative outlet, but I often spoke about how much I wanted to get back into painting and drawing and that it would be my retirement activity one day. On my 50th birthday my husband presented me with a full painting kit – easel, paints, canvas, brushes, etc. and said, “You don’t need to wait for retirement.” Best gift ever!

What mediums and genre do you gravitate towards? Which ones don’t appeal?

Oil painting is my bliss! I tried acrylics and watercolor, and both have some appeal, but the feel of oil paint and the colors and glow I can create with it feed my soul and cause intense joy.

Harvest Light
(click to view)

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

At first, I painted from tutorials in books and on YouTube. I read about the processes other painters used, listened to podcasts, and watched DVDs from the library. I bought way too many colors of paint and had no idea how important it was to learn color theory. Gradually I picked up the information I needed to begin painting from my own photos without copying them exactly. I never wanted to paint so realistically that a painting could be mistaken for a photo. I wanted to paint what a scene felt like. I especially admired the work of California impressionists such as Edgar Payne. Gradually I realized that the place I live and love, the small town of North Fork near Yosemite National Park, and its surrounding area, contains all the scenery I could ever want to paint. It is not all that I paint, but it does provide the amazing California colors that fill me with joy. Today, I have work in three local galleries and two restaurants, and it is very evident to me that people who see my work share my love of the area and the impressionistic style I use to capture it.

My desire in painting is to share the joy I feel when I experience beautiful surroundings and situations. Sunrise on my gravel driveway, people talking on a corner, steam rising from hot tea, an excited dog with eyes full of love, even a cement truck on a country road have all been painting subjects that I see my audience respond to with the same joy I felt when painting them. My first attempts to paint these common moments were not too successful, yet the joy of painting and trying caused me to keep going. As an older adult I have found that my ability to allow for failure, appreciate it even, is a great gift. Every painting does not have to be “sellable.” Some are just lessons.

Pink Boots
(click to view)

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

The three artists I have learned the most from are my high school art teacher, Barbara Ogarrio, a local oil painter, Linda McCoy, and the well-known artist of today, Dreama Tolle Perry. Barbara Ogarrio gave me encouragement, knowledge, and confidence in my vulnerable teen years. Linda McCoy gave me skills, techniques, and the opportunity to dive deep into oil painting in a rich community of artists. Dreama Tolle Perry taught me the alla-prima technique I mainly use now and still gives me constant reminders to embrace the joy and love available every day to those who look for it. I admire all of these women for sharing their joy and skills with so many.

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

I would tell my younger self to silence the inner critic, don’t be afraid to share your gift with others or worry about what they will say or think; just create.

Summer's Delight
(click to view)

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

I clean my palette at the end of a painting session and lay out fresh paint for the next day; just knowing it’s ready to go will get me painting.

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

I listen to the Plein Air podcast and Savvy Painter podcast to get inspiration from other artists. Hearing about their own struggles lets me know I am not alone, and that success can come when you least expect it if you just keep creating.

A Walk in the Poppies
(click to view)

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

In the short term, I want to improve my plein-air work. I am painting with a local group once per month at various locations and it is a lot of fun, but so challenging to get the same quality of work I get in the studio. I think I need to stop expecting that. In the long term, I am working on a series of twelve paintings based on old photos of local history. I have four completed. A local history group and I are coordinating to bring awareness to the rich heritage of the central California foothills. I hope to have a solo show of this work in 2022.

What does success mean to you personally?

A teacher once told me that the dictionary is the only place ‘success’ comes before ‘work.’ I have always taken this to heart and believe that when I put in the work to gain the skills I seek, my success will be evident on the canvas. When I introduce myself as an artist and show my paintings to those who feel the joy in them, I am successful.

A Wedding to Remember
(click to view)

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

In the spring of 2020 I retired from thirty-five years of classroom teaching. I planned my retirement party in conjunction with my first solo art show. I called the show, “Joy Remembered” in honor of finding my joy after many years of neglecting my creative side. A local gallery, The Yosemite Gateway Art Center, agreed to host me and I had about two hundred people on my invitation list, a food truck, and live music all booked. COVID derailed the plans for May and we rescheduled for July. By July we were still unable to gather, so I did the whole show as a Facebook Live event! I am shy by nature and being on camera was not something I looked forward to. Many problems with technology also crept in, but with a couple of good friends, lots of laughing, and plenty of patience, we pulled it off! I sold sixteen of my thirty paintings!

Thanks, Mary Beth!

© 2021 Sophie Marine

Thursday, April 29, 2021

DPW Spotlight Interview: Judie Mulkey

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

From Judie's DPW Gallery Page:

Welcome to my Daily Paintworks' shop. I have pursued my passion for painting and design my entire life. In the 1980s, I studied interior design at The Atlanta School of Interior Design. I then began painting under the direction of Coe Steinwart, a published and multi-award-winning watercolor artist. I also studied under Christian Bradford, a professional and highly collected artist. Several of my watercolors and oils have received awards as entries in juried shows. My favorite subjects are landscapes, cityscapes and figurative painting. My works are available online at Etsy.com, Fineartamerica.com and local galleries. I am a Georgia native and currently reside in Marietta, GA.

What did you want to be growing up?

I grew up in a wonderful small town outside of Atlanta. I vividly remember my dream was to be a secretary and live in Atlanta with friends.

Something About You
(click to view)

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

When did your artistic journey begin?

As a child in grammar school, I absolutely loved coloring and collage making. I have such fond memories of those simple times... I can still smell the paste and thick crayons in my mind. I was also fascinated with fabrics and design. In the 1980s, I began Interior Design coursework and focused on interior design for many years. My first painting class was a watercolor workshop that I enjoyed with friends. I followed that with oil painting workshops with several different artists. I was fortunate to have several pieces selected for juried shows and received awards for some of my work.

Did you have long periods without creative expression?

No, I am ALWAYS doing something creative. If there is a day I choose not to paint, you will find me reading about art, watching instructional videos and even teaching painting classes out of my home. I also enjoy cooking, gardening and interior design work.

Mid-Century Revisited
(click to view)

What mediums and genre do you gravitate towards?

I enjoy painting with oils, acrylics (liquid acrylics in particular are my favorite), watercolors and collage. I gravitate towards abstract in most of my paintings.

Which ones don’t appeal?

All mediums are appealing to me and I have tried most. However, I have not attempted pastels, but I am sure at some point I will!

French Market Shopping Day
(click to view)

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

My painting process has evolved over time. I am now focused on intuitive painting. When I sit down to begin a painting, I don't typically know what I am going to paint. I start by toning the canvas and mixing some colors. Then, I place some of the colors on the canvas and at that point I decide what to paint.

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

I admire many artists both past and present, but the one who stands out for me is Coe Steinwart, an accomplished watercolorist and illustrator of the book, Elf on the Shelf. Coe was my first painting instructor and taught me more than just how to paint. She inspired me and stressed the importance of negative spaces in paintings. One of her most memorable lines was, "Just draw a good shape and paint it!" Simple advice, but so very true.

Tuscan Hillside
(click to view)

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

Just keep at it... don't give up. If you are not in the mood to paint... read, watch, educate yourself!

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

Not really, I just stick with my painting and creating. I am and have always been very creative. If I am not painting, I am meandering around the art supply store, watching a video or trying a new recipe.

Do You Wanna Dance
(click to view)

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

I remind myself that this too shall pass. I have always continued to move forward, never giving up.

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

My artistic goals are to continue to paint, to continue to sell my art both locally and online as well as teaching painting in my home.

The French Blue Chest
(click to view)

What does success mean to you personally?

Artistic success for me is summed up this way - I enjoy when someone admires my work enough to purchase it or inquires with me about my art classes.

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

I experience my most proud moments as an artist in front of my canvas. When I can sit down and have the paints flow - as you know, a painting has a mind of its own - and I am able to enjoy that process and create something beautiful. That is complete artistic and creative satisfaction.

Thanks, Judie!

© 2021 Sophie Marine

Thursday, April 22, 2021

DPW Spotlight Interview: Vicki Meadows

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

From Vicki's DPW Gallery Page:

I am a self taught artist, who is still learning. I have always enjoyed drawing but when my dad gave me an easel and paints for Christmas I started experimenting. I put it aside to raise a family but now have started up again and am wondering why did I stop before. I am intrigued how a canvas, some paints, brushes, and some time can come together to take you to a place you have never been before.

What did you want to be growing up?

I wanted to be an architect. But, when I signed up for the class in high school I was told that the class was for boys and not girls. They suggested I take typing... What? 

When did your artistic journey begin?

I was always drawing as a kid. Never watched TV but sat with my legs under the coffee table for hours and drew anything, my dog, my brother, even the TV set. My dad would take us fishing but I would sit and sketch the stream and the rock and trees. In the third grade my teacher entered a painting I did in the county fair and I took first place. A few years later my dad got me an easel and a box of paints and some board canvases for Christmas. I remember in my first painting my clouds looked like cotton balls. I had a long way to go but I just kept at it. Slowly I learned what worked and what didn't. I learned quickly that you don't paint the tree first and then try and go back and fill in the sky in all the openings of the trees. I am still learning and hope each painting teaches me something.

The Lord's Palette
(click to view)

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

Did you have long periods without creative expression?

Once I got married and had my children I stopped painting. I got busy with life and kids and didn't paint on canvas for forty years. I would paint on my kids' and friends' walls at the time as that was popular then but nothing on canvas. Then a few years ago my mother was sick with Parkinson's/dementia and she had an episode and her Dr. actually came to her house. She commented on the painting over mom's fireplace and my dad told her I was the artist. Her Dr. called me and asked if I would paint a picture for the Michael J. Fox Parkinson's Auction that was coming up in a few months on New Year's Eve. I told her I didn't own any paints or an easel but would think about it.

Well after the holidays, with one week left, I thought about it and with my mom having Parkinson's I realized it was something I needed to do. So I ran to Michaels and picked up a cheap easel and a twenty-four paint starter kit of paints. I went home and spent three days on a painting of the lavender fields in France. My mom's Dr. took it to LA to the auction and it did well for them. Of course I know that at an auction like that items go for more due to the cause but every little bit helps towards a cure.

What mediums and genre do you gravitate towards?

Well my last oil painting was when I was a freshman in college. I was painting before school, cleaned my brushes really quick so I wouldn't be late and placed the rags on the counter in the kitchen. Later that day when I came home and opened the door the house looked hazy inside and smelled smoky. I ran across the street to neighbors and called the fire dept. I went back to the house and went inside and got our two dogs out. By the time the fire dept. arrived the rags had started a fire and had gone up the wall to the curtains around the sink. They told me the rags would have smoldered for a long time but when I opened the door that fed them oxygen and the fire started. That was a quick lesson on simultaneous combustion. I learned to put all rags in a container with a sealed lid. Well, after that I was a little leery about using oils so I started using acrylics that I could clean with soap and water. I have been using them ever since.

What Time Is It?
(click to view)

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

Well, I remember my dad was so proud of my paintings and he took one down to an art gallery to see what they thought about it. The first words the man said was, "She paints like an architect... she painted every brick, every shadow under each brick... you don't do that." I thought that was funny since I wanted to be an architect and was told I couldn't as it was a man's job. I seem to still paint that way... putting in all the detail. I tried to loosen up and when I show it to my husband he always says that doesn't look like your work. I go back and add a little and next thing I know I have put all the detail back in. So for sure I would say I am a Realistic painter. I would love to loosen up but the architect in me still sneaks out.

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

I love Monet's artwork, the softness, the colors and the way he uses them. I so wish I could paint like that. How up close it is so loose but stand back and all the details seem to be there. Impressionism.... I love it.

The Arch
(click to view)

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

Don't change how you paint based on what others say. Paint in a way that feels comfortable for you. Don't paint for others but for yourself. You have to be happy with the results and when you are... sign it.

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

When there is a lot going on I can't seem to paint. I have tried to use it as an escape but it doesn't work for me. I can't focus on the art and my mind stresses over other things. When I paint I get so into it that I paint for hours, morning until 10-11pm at night. When my husband says, "What's for dinner?" ...my answer is, "You tell me." I get so engrossed in it that time flies and I love it. But I have to be in the right frame of mind and let things go.

Hinge Door
(click to view)

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

I recently took up painting portraits and that has been a struggle but a great learning experience. I painted my grandkids which was so hard since it wasn't just anybody. When you know each freckle and dimple you know when it looks like them or not. I struggled with my grandson's face. Something wasn't right. I kept going over everything and finally took off just a smidgen of his nose and that was it... It was Gavin! Just that little bit made such a difference. I just kept at it until I knew I had it. I guess that is the detail in me that keeps going until I feel it is right.  

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

I would love to paint loosely. I long for the day when I can paint a cow and not put every hair of his head or every blade of grass in the scene. For some reason I have it in my mind if it looks real up close it will look real at a distance. Yet I know that doesn't have to be the case. Definitely LOOSEN UP GIRL.

Crumbs
(click to view)

What does success mean to you personally?

I am not sure if I am there yet... I know I am not. I keep learning and see that I have progressed in my artwork. I am happy with my work but know I can do better. My husband tells me not to change the way I paint but deep inside I want to someday paint like an impressionist. 

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

For sure it would be when I painted a painting for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's. If the Dr. had not asked me to donate a painting I probably would never have picked up a brush again after forty years. But I felt a need. It was my way of helping my mom. That probably doesn't make sense but when you watch someone with a disease you can feel so helpless. This was my way of feeling like I could do something and contribute, even if it was in a small way.


The Peeking Sun
(click to view)

Thanks, Vicki!

© 2021 Sophie Marine

Thursday, April 15, 2021

DPW Spotlight Interview: Kay Smith

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 "Brusho Bouquet in Jar" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Kay's DPW Gallery Page:

Kay's watercolors hang in the Texas State Capitol building in Austin, TX as well as in England, Germany, France, Netherlands, Thailand, and Australia.  She teaches art in her own gallery, Brushworks Studio in Big Spring, TX.  She is one of three artists who founded Caboose Watercolor Society in 1997 locally in Big Spring. Visit her website and blog links below at www.kaysmith.artspan.com and http://kaysmithbrushworks.blogspot.com (click to read more)

What did you want to be growing up?

Growing up I wanted to be a nurse or doctor which I did in 1978.

Brusho Bouquet in Jar
(click to view)

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

When did your artistic journey begin?

My artistic journey began around nine when our parents took us to a larger town for art lessons as no art or music was available in school.

Ball Jar Zinnias
(click to view)

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

No long periods of art inactivity; was always sketching and drawing.

Roadrunner Profile
(click to view)

What mediums and genres do you gravitate to? Which ones don't appeal?

Oils and pastels were my main mediums until 1993 when I took my first watercolor workshop. Watercolor is my chosen medium and florals and animals are favorite genres.

Portraits do not appeal to me much but I continue to study the human face and figure.


Purple Prickly Pear Cactus
(click to view)

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

I admire Ken Hosmer, my first watercolor instructor, as he continues to teach those who yearn to bring their creativity up a notch.

Fortune Teller
(click to view)

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

Advice for my younger self would be to start watercolor earlier in life and advice to others is to do art now, do not wait until you retire.

Fat Tody Bird
(click to view)

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

As a daily painter I do not have procrastination or artist blocks.

Floyd's Cats
(click to view)

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

Long term goal is to obtain signature status with American Watercolor Society or the National Watercolor Society to go with the various state societies' signatures already attained.

Trumpet Man
(click to view)

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

One of my proudest moments was to earn the SWS (Southwestern Watercolor Society) signature, my first one.

Thanks, Kay!

© 2021 Sophie Marine

Thursday, April 8, 2021

DPW Spotlight Interview: Marian Stamos

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

From Marian's DPW Gallery Page:

I've been creating art for nearly twenty years. I paint because I must. I choose to paint quiet peace and beauty in praise of an awesome God. My painting subjects are widely varied. I see beauty everywhere. My work includes still life, landscapes, figurative, and portraits of people and pets.

I am often drawn to quiet and simple life themes of my youth growing up in rural West Central Illinois... and yet equally energized by the colorful excitement of the city.

While my painting style can best be described as painterly realism, I enjoy learning other approaches.  Oils are my chosen medium due to their flexibility, rich color and buttery texture and ability to magically convey depth and distance on the flat canvas surface.

"The aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life, by artificial means and hold it fixed so that a hundred years later, when a stranger looks at it, it moves again since it is life." -- William Faulkner

I am a member of the Oil Painters of America and the Barrington Arts Cultural Center and regularly exhibit at BCAC galleries in Barrington IL.

What did you want to be growing up?

A school teacher mostly. I often “played teacher” when a child. I did teach English (language arts) for six years immediately after college. Then went on to the corporate world for a twenty-eight-plus year career.

When did your artistic journey begin?

Art was my favorite subject in elementary school and I would draw with crayons and chalk at home. I recall copying a picture of Mary and Joseph with the Christ Child fleeing Bethlehem. It was from a Christmas Ideals magazine. Unknown to me, my mother saved the drawing and many years later at Christmas presented it to me framed with my age, etc. noted on the back in her handwriting. I still have it.

Wee Bouquet
(click to view)

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

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

Oh yes… most of my adulthood was spent without creating art. Life happens. My career was demanding in every way. About twenty years ago the Chicago office where I worked closed and moved to DC. I did not want to move so I found myself looking for a job in my mid-fifties… not easy. We were given career counseling as part of our severance package which included testing to determine one’s optimal career choices. I scored high in the creative end so my counselor suggested I go to her sister’s art school. I started taking classes… was immediately hooked… and I have been painting off and on ever since.

What mediums and genre do you gravitate towards? Which ones don’t appeal?

I began with oils and have stayed since… cannot imagine painting with anything else. I love all subjects – I started with still life but now also create landscapes, figurative work and a few portraits. I become bored if I stay too long in one area. I lean toward realism with an impressionist approach. Paintings that convey pain, weirdness, evil etc. don’t appeal to me. Life is enough of a challenge. God gives us a beautiful planet full of breathtaking surprises as well as special moments with other human beings. I want to focus on those. I want my work to bring joy, hope, excitement to the viewer.

Hot Stuff!
(click to view)

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

I guess it just happened naturally. However, I am still feeling my way. I am drawn to art where I can recognize the subject and relate to it in some way. That would include some abstract work. 

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

Whew! There are so many out there today… unbelievable talent. We are blessed to have them all and their diverse styles. I like Christine Lafuente and her abstract approach but I also like Kathy Anderson’s flowers, Kim English’s figurative work. Carol Marine's clever simplification… and I could go on and on.

Simon
(click to view)

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

Spend more time drawing and looking more deeply at the world around you. I have learned that painting opens one’s eyes, mind and heart to what is around you daily… tremendous beauty all the time.

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

Not really… I am still battling that. It does not help to also have serious interests in interior decorating and design and gardening. I am retired but much of my distraction is from these areas – also creative.

Cuties
 (click to view)

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

I am a Christian. Christians approach life in this world as only temporary and strive on to the eternal kingdom. All here in the present is temporary. So when I am feeling inadequate as an artist or that I have failed in some way, I just accept it and recognize it… try to figure out a way to improve… and then put it all in perspective. And move on.

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

I am 78 years old… not too sure about those long-term goals. Short term, I want to learn how to paint more loosely, be braver about those color choices and work more on those values. I would love just once to win some award. That would be nice for sure.

Happiness Times Three
(click to view)

What does success mean to you personally?

To create the best art that I can -- art that catches the viewer’s eye and makes the heart beat just a bit faster.

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

Anytime someone buys my art… that’s really something! I do recall one moment -- my first time painting in a plein air event and a couple bought my painting. I could not believe it. I  still remember the painting and their faces and excitement.

Thanks, Marian!

© 2021 Sophie Marine

Thursday, April 1, 2021

DPW Spotlight Interview: Tracy Hurley

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

From Tracy's DPW Gallery Page:

I am a daily painter with a habit of painting in the morning, before I do anything else. By the end of my morning session, I know I have been creative for the day, which is a little gift to myself. This habit contributes to my happiness, and I recommend it to anyone.

I have always loved art. I am drawn to looking at the natural world to see if a portion can be framed into a compelling composition. On walks in nature, I take my camera in the hope of finding birds. It feels like a treasure hunt. I try to get close-ups where I can see feather structure, subtle colors, and the flash of light in their eyes. I use many of these as reference photos for paintings. Birds were among the first subjects I wanted to paint.

I live in Southern California, having grown up in Indiana, where my parents and siblings still live. I met my husband here, and we started our family, which now includes 2 kids and a few cats. My cats are the most willing of models, so in addition to birds you may also see them, with a few other subjects along the way.

For more of my art, please see my Instagram page at @tmwhurley.

Thank you for visiting!

What did you want to be growing up?

I wish I knew! I was a late bloomer in figuring out what I want to be, and I’m not sure that I’ve figured it out yet, even at the tender age of fifty-six.

If I were to live my youth over, I would focus more on creating art, and I say that because I’m enjoying art so much now. Instead, I took a science path: I studied biology, got a PhD, and worked in research labs. Some people (other than me) are suited to this work, and I met many brilliant, creative, inquisitive scientists doing clever experiments. My own career satisfaction required a fork in the road. I enrolled in a science communication course, which pointed me along my current path. In my day-job (of twenty years!) we create animations about science. I write/draw storyboards, record voice-over, and do some animation work. It’s a lot of good variety, and I feel happy to have a product at the end of the day. Ever since I had kids, I have worked part time at this job, which also makes it easier to include art into my mornings.

When did your artistic journey begin?

I remember drawing as a child, but I wasn’t diligent or a constant doodler with pencil in hand. I took a few art classes in high school, college, and later in continuing ed classes. I loved looking at art and I had the idea that the artists that I admired simply had a huge amount of innate talent (and they probably did, in part), and so I felt discouraged that my own efforts were not impressive. I only recently cottoned on to the idea that practice makes perfect (who knew?), or at least makes a little better. I wish this lesson had sunk in earlier in my life, because I would have been much more systematic in my hobbies, not getting discouraged by a bad performance or drawing, just trying again and again if I knew there was a nugget of pleasure in there somewhere.

A Jewel of Nature
(click to view)

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

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

I made very little art while I was studying biology and working in research labs. My personal art-making was re-ignited several years ago, inspired in part by Carol Marine’s book on daily painting, as well as by looking at art, birds, and other beauty in the natural world. Also helpful is that I have a friend who acts as my art-accountability partner. We send texts to each other most days, showing our creative efforts, offering suggestions or a thumbs-up (or a ha ha). In this way, my art is not just for myself, but my friend sees it, too, and that helps.

What mediums and genres do you gravitate to?

I am currently painting with acrylics. I have tried and liked oils in the past but worry about ventilation and toxicity issues. So acrylics it is! Before painting with acrylics, I was making bird drawings using colored pencils, and then I discovered the Procreate app to make digital paintings on my iPad, from the comfort of my lounge chair. I have spent a lot of time with Procreate. I love to look at representational art, and this is what I paint as well.

Do I Have Your Attention?
(click to view)

Which ones don't appeal?

Although I admire watercolor paintings, I believe that watercolor artists require a more devil-may-care attitude (or the opposite of that in the form of meticulous pre-planning), because there are stricter limitations on correcting mistakes and no delete button. I have yet to find that attitude in myself, but never say never!

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

I don’t know that I’ve pinpointed it yet. I would like to paint more expressively, but that style may not be in me. I look at my gallery of art and think that they all look like they were painted by the same person, so perhaps I have landed on a style, in spite of myself.

Sycamore with Black Phoebe
(click to view)

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

I follow a lot of amazing artists, going down rabbit holes to see as much of their work as is available online. This week’s rabbit hole is wallpapered with the paintings of Jennifer Anderson, a contemporary artist in the UK. Oh those luminous faces! I love her work.

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

Keep up a daily habit of art, and consider the habit itself to be your goal.

Just Resting My Eyes!
(click to view)

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

My daily habit is to go to my art space every day after I wake up. I’m the early riser of the family, so I have a small window of uninterrupted time. I was inspired to do this from hearing other artists describe their process. I don’t require myself to do much, which eliminates a feeling of burden. Usually I work for an hour, but sometimes just five minutes.

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

I try to frame the “failures” as part of the learning process. I’m also convinced that a steady, regular effort will bring me over most hurdles. Then, if nothing seems to be working regarding a painting, I see no problem with quitting it and starting a new one. I can't forget to mention here that my family is full of sweeties who encourage and promote me, and that helps keep me positive.

Scrub Jay in the Garden
(click to view)

What are some of your long and short term goals for yourself or your art? What does success mean to you personally?

These are hard questions to answer after saying that my goal is the habit itself. I would like to sell my paintings, for sure, but my main goal is to do the painting every day. If I can do that, I have won (that is what I tell myself!)

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

Can I count that DPW asked to spotlight my art?

Dobie Love
(click to view)

Thanks, Tracy!

© 2021 Sophie Marine