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

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