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.

(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.

 (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

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