Thursday, December 23, 2021

DPW Spotlight Interview: Kay Keyes Farrar

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

From Kay's DPW Gallery Page:

My earliest memories are at the family kitchen table amid the chaos of a big family drawing and painting. I never seemed to let go of the pencil or brush; it flowed into my lifelong passion for learning and teaching. Creativity inspires me - whether its drawing, painting - poetry, music, quilting or cooking - it all celebrates the gift of life. I paint and teach in my home studio in beautiful Colorado, which just makes my heart sing... living the dream with an amazing family encouraging a creative lifestyle in every facet of life. (click to read more)

What did you want to be growing up?

I wanted to have it all! Be a wife and mom, travel, work in a prominent gallery or museum and work as a professional artist. Later on I want to be a curator in a museum, so I studied fine art, English and art history.

When did your artistic journey begin?

I feel like I’ve always been on this creative path. Even in grade school I was drawing and painting and creating. All my education, all my reading and my hobbies have to do with creativity and fine art. I’ve worked in museums, galleries, and taught fine art to all ages. Now, my sons are older, I have the privilege to concentrate on my own painting and fine art career.

Morning Study
(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?

Having long periods without creativity can be so draining. But trying to keep my heart in the game was and is a huge goal of mine. Reading about other artists is always so inspiring to me! I’m an art history junkie; knowing their stories is fascinating and always makes me strive to be a better artist.

Even when my sons were younger, I always tried to be doing something creative. I wasn’t oil painting - I spent time drawing and painting in acrylics since they were safer. I was able to work around my family; even get them involved in the process most of the time. There was always some kind of project going on in the kitchen; the boys had their easel and I had mine.

I also used this time to study with all other inspiring artists, knowing that someday I would be able to use their wisdom with my own work.

Now when I’m stuck, depending on my mood and time constraints, I settle in my studio, put some music on, and mix piles of paint harmonies from new colors I’d like to add to my palette. Or I set up a still life of lovely flowers, their color and shapes are always inspiring paint. Or I take a drive to hike with my gear to find an amazing view to plein air paint. Painting from life is energizing and always gets me inspired.

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

Because I’ve been an instructor with all ages, I’ve tried all kinds of mediums to be able to teach my students several mediums and help them find what’s right for their creative style. Right now I am having fun drawing and painting with gouache and oil painting. Being able to do small studies with gouache to work out ideas and have fun with it before moving onto larger works in oil has strengthened my work. But the rich flow of energy created in oil painting is my favorite.

A Moment of Light
(click to view)

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

Finding my voice… I’d like my paintings to sing — with painterly color, value, harmony and energy. My work isn’t complicated. I want to share the joy I see in the world, with beautiful landscapes, portraits, flowers or cows. With energetic brushstrokes and color that weave together to create abstract passages close up, but a beautiful scene to the viewer. I was always drawn to the luminosity of the impressionists, the design of abstract artist, but also the mastery of realism. Trying to blend the freedom of expression with realistic accuracy in my style is a daily goal, and adds up to literally piles of canvases! Sometimes there’s just a few square inches on my canvas that I think, “ahhhh, there it is!” Epiphany! The sweet spot where hours and hours of training, painting, listening, observing, reading, trying and risk taking—pays off. And when all of that happens on a completed canvas, then you really feel your voice sing.

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

There are so many artists that have influenced me. Before the internet, when I started painting on my own, I only had books of the impressionists. And I was lucky enough to work at a museum with a small collection of impressionists and painterly portraits by Robert Henri that I loved. I spent a lot of time with those paintings, studying and dreaming. But I didn’t know what I was doing, lol!! The more I painted and read, the more worlds opened up to me. Inspired and influenced over the years by their artistic style and hardworking lifestyle, here are just an eclectic few: Richard Schmid, Kevin Macpherson, Robert Henri, J.M.Turner, Dawn Whitelaw, Quang Ho, Scott Christensen, Daniel Gerhartz, Andres Zorn, Helen Frankenthaler, Sorrolla, Monet, Mary Cassatt, Cecilia Beaux, Bertie Morisot, Gustave Caillebotte, Norman Rockwell, and Matisse.

Small Gathering
(click to view)

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

Trust your creative self, have a vision for crafting your life, take the risk and believe it will happen. Then Make It Happen. Commit to yourself and your family with hard work, good mentors, good intentional study, lots of paint and supplies!

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

My favorite is a quiet day. But distractions are everywhere, so I listen to music and take long walks with my dog help me stay creative and focused.

Over the years with my family, I learned that I created better and with more freedom when my house was “neat.” I try to get as much done by a certain time, and then I am meant to be in the studio. Many times my husband would do dishes and vacuum or take the boys, so I could go paint. He truly has been the most amazing supporter, of course he loved taking our boys!

(click to view)

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

Self-doubt and sabotage have been a big part of my journey. I’m lucky to have my husband and a few mentors to talk it out with. Looking to someone who’s been there before, really helps you breakthrough.  Being a part of an artist group or online community can help as well. Recently being awarded the Judge’s Pick for Daily Paintworks was a real boost for me. I almost never enter contests, I always talk myself out of it, but this time I was happy enough with my painting to try.

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

I’m continuing my challenge to study, to paint and to inspire and to share my art and process, everyday intentionally, while enjoying life to the fullest with my family. Extending my horizons to travel internationally— paint and teach in new places will be next on the agenda, now that our boys are more independent. Of course, they’ll probably want to come with us!

Fall Apples
(click to view)

What does success mean to you personally?

This has always been my dream. Pursuing this artistic journey and career with the love of my life, raising two artistic, athletic, amazing sons with compassionate hearts — that’s my success.

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

So many moments… so many happy faces of collectors receiving paintings they love and students creating something they visualized but didn’t ever think they could achieve. All of them make me happy. But the when the conversation at our dinner table turns to art and all my guys know the vocabulary, the artists (contemporary and gone) their stories and struggles, their styles and paintings... oh! I’m so happy!

Graceful Light
(click to view)

Thanks, Kay!

© 2021 Sophie Marine

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