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

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