Thursday, June 17, 2021

DPW Spotlight Interview: Rosalind Morgan

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

From Rosalind's DPW Gallery Page:

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

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

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

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

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

What did you want to be growing up?

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

When did your artistic journey begin?

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

Cherry Pair
(click to view)

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

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

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

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

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

Pensive Tabby
(click to view)

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

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

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

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

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

Juicy Orange Quarters
(click to view)

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

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

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

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

Tuxedo Cat
(click to view)

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

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

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

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

Divide and Conquer
(click to view)

What does success mean to you personally?

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

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

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

Thanks, Rosalind!

© 2021 Sophie Marine

Thursday, June 10, 2021

DPW Spotlight Interview: Samantha Koehn

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

From Samantha's DPW Gallery Page:

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

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

Thanks for stopping by, Sam.

What did you want to be growing up?

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

When did your artistic journey begin?

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

Big Tree Big House
(click to view)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Magic Garden
(click to view)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ocean Blues
(click to view)

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

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

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

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

Garden Shed
(click to view)

What does success mean to you personally?

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

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

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

Thanks, Samantha!

© 2021 Sophie Marine

Thursday, June 3, 2021

DPW Spotlight Interview: Jen Finch

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

From Jen's DPW Gallery Page:

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

What did you want to be growing up?

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

When did your artistic journey begin?

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

Blooming Kalanchoe
(click to view)

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

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

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

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

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

Half Moon Lizard
(click to view)

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

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

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

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

Dark Peony
(click to view)

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

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

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

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

Half Moon Birds
(click to view)

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

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

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

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

Clover Bee
(click to view)

What does success mean to you personally?

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

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

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

Crescent Moon Deer
(click to view)

Thanks, Jen!

© 2021 Sophie Marine