Thursday, July 8, 2021

DPW Spotlight Interview: Kay Palecek

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 "Nellie" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Kay's DPW Gallery Page:

With a backround in fashion design, I have always been drawn to the creative side of every job I've had. So it was a natural fit to try my hand at oil painting.

I decided to take a shot in the dark and begin classes five years ago at a local art studio. Upon retirement last July, I committed to start each morning painting in my studio. Painting each day is sheer bliss even when the picture isn't turning out the way I'd like.

I enjoy seeing the "perfect painting" in everyday scenes in my neighborhood, travels or just taking a scenic drive. I never lack for ideas, just the time needed to paint them all! Right now, I enjoy painting animals, still life, people, portraits, and landscapes, but I'm open to whatever inspires me.

I live with my husband and two dogs in a northern suburb of Chicago. Some of my biggest inspirations? My family, our pets and the world around me.

What did you want to be growing up?

It's probably easier to tell you what I didn't want to be, which was anything involving math or science. I knew early on that creativity and a variety of responsibilities would be essential in whatever I chose to do in life. I started in marketing and communications, which included developing promotional materials, attending trade shows, PR, newsletters, writing articles, etc. Even though this position wasn’t specific to art, it had a creative side to it and a good amount of variety in its responsibilities.

When did your artistic journey begin?

My painting journey began in 2015. I was talking with my uncle about his hobbies and he mentioned that he had just taken up painting. It was a real light bulb moment for me. I never considered learning how to paint, but with my drawing background —a degree in fashion design— I thought I’d give it a try and I haven't looked back since.

(click to view)

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

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

I've always had some sort of a creative outlet whether it was music, sewing, or learning how to make sock bunnies with my daughter! They were all fun, but nothing stuck with me as much as painting.

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

I mainly paint with oils. Painting with watercolors feels backwards to me and acrylics just dry too quickly. I started painting a number of different genres including landscapes, animals, figures and portraits, and I assumed I would eventually be drawn to specific genres. Right now, I still love painting animals, but lately, I've started to lean into portrait painting. There's just something about the human face that fascinates and frustrates me at the same time. I like the challenge.

(click to view)

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

You have to be willing to try new things: I paint anything that grabs my attention, no matter the subject matter. I also try different brushes or tools and of course, new paint colors. When I have down time, I watch instructional painting DVDs and even Youtube videos of painters I'm interested in. You'd be surprised how much you can learn by trying lots of different things.

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

Lately, I’ve been excited by the paintings of Jane French from the U.K. and Patrick Saunders. Jane paints primarily portraits using beautiful colors and brushwork. Patrick can paint anything. I’ve purchased instructional videos from both of these artists. I love their use of color, brushwork and composition and hope it somehow influences my own work.

Nosing Around
(click to view)

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

Do you mind if I mention three? First, don't expect to be good at painting right away. It's going to take lots and lots of practice. Second, paint as often as you can. When I first started painting, I probably painted one or two days a week when I was working. However, when I retired, I promised myself I would paint every day or as close to it as possible — and I did. When you paint every day, you see improvement in your work a lot quicker, which helps increase your confidence. Third, keep drawing and sketching. Good drawing skills help make great paintings. It’s an incredible skill to have as a painter.

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

I was lucky enough to turn a bedroom in our home into a studio. It’s nice having everything right at your fingertips. Every day, I wake up, eat breakfast and paint for 2-3 hours a day. I've been doing this since Covid hit and it really improved my painting. Now, when I don't paint for a day I feel guilty.

(click to view)

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

Whenever I paint something that isn't my best work, I appreciate the effort and start on another painting right away. Not every painting is going to be great, but continuing to do the work is the only way you are going to get to where you want to be.

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

Short term is just to keep learning and getting better. I’ll continue to draw, attend paint workshops, watch artists’ instructional DVDs, and so on. Long term might be to win an award for one of my paintings.

(click to view)

What does success mean to you personally?

For me, it’s twofold: creating a piece of work that I’m proud of and having one of my paintings connect with someone. I can't tell you how many wonderful and kind remarks I've gotten from people who have either purchased, or left a message about, one of my paintings on the DPW website, Facebook or Instagram pages. If I'm not having a particularly productive day, these messages are a nice pick-me-up.

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

I was particularly proud when I got to the point where I could start selling my work. I waited about four years before I was able to do this. I wanted to be proud of the work I sold, but more importantly, I wanted the people who bought a painting to feel like they were getting a nice piece of artwork.

Attention Getting
(click to view)

Thanks, Kay!

© 2021 Sophie Marine

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