Thursday, January 20, 2022

DPW Spotlight Interview: Kim Zimmerman

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

An Introduction from Kim Zimmerman:

I love getting lost in the actual making of art. It’s a journey of my own creation and yet the trip is made without always knowing where I’ll end up. I’ve been painting in oil for about 6 years and I’m still amazed at how much there is to discover.  

Two Lemons
(click to view)

Enter to win by clicking on the link at the top of the DPW homepage announcing Kim's interview.

What did you want to be growing up?  

I always wanted to become a veterinarian because of my love for animals but… math! Art has always been a large part of my life and I suppose I knew I would find a career somewhere in the field someday. I studied Illustration and graphic design in college. Some time later I fell into entertainment advertising after taking an extension class in movie poster design. Who even knew that was a job?! 

When did your artistic journey begin?  

My father was a painter and photographer so I grew up in an artistic environment where my creativity was nurtured. I studied fine art at UCSB and then moved on to Pratt Institute where I received my BFA in illustration. Even after college I continued to take classes and attend workshops. In 2015, armed with an oil painting field kit my husband bought for me, I signed up for a figure painting atelier and fell in love with oil painting. 

Artichoke in Bloom
(click to view)

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

Yes! I’m attempting to make a habit of painting for a certain amount of time each day. But life always has a way of pushing me off track. I have found that classes and workshops help to keep me focused or pull me back in if I get too distracted. It helps to know and work with other artists who are going through the same struggles. It’s been harder with Covid. Most everything has gone online but there is still the opportunity to have meaningful discussions with each other about the work. I get a lot of valuable encouragement, inspiration and feedback from these groups. 

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

Oil paint is my favorite medium. It’s very versatile in that you can work with it thick or thin. You can wipe it away, paint over it or blend it beautifully. I also enjoy working with charcoal when I’m doing life drawings. It has the same movement on the paper as paint. Sometimes I even use a brush and paint medium to push the charcoal around on the surface. My favorite genre would have to be figure painting and portraiture. I just love working with the human form. It amazes me that we all are given the same basic body parts and yet, we each look so different from one another.  

The only medium that doesn’t appeal to me is acrylic. I wish I could work with it for the sake of convenience but it’s a struggle to keep the paint from drying out and getting it to flow on the canvas the way oil does. 

Listen
(click to view)

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

I never set out with a process or style in mind. I just wanted to be able to understand and control the paint. In the beginning, I didn’t want to think about color, so much of my work was done with a very limited palette. I’m starting to get a little more adventuresome with that. I would (and still do) look at a lot of artist’s work online and on Instagram. There are so many amazing people out there posting their work and making videos of their techniques. I love that they are so willing to share their knowledge. I still enjoy experimenting with various methods of painting and over time I find that some of the styles and techniques have stuck with me and some I’ve moved on from. When I look at my work I’m pleased with the way it has evolved. That said, I don’t think I’ll ever stop experimenting.  

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

Richard Diebenkorn. Euan Uglow. Paul Cézanne. John Singer Sargent. These are the names currently at the top of my list. I just love, love, love the colors that Deibenkorn brings to his work. I am drawn to the way Diebenkorn, Uglow and Cézanne break up their images. There’s such a wonderful angular feel to the way they work. I adore all those edges and blocks of color. Sargent’s portraits are amazing. His subjects are filled with so much detailed gracefulness and yet, when you get close up you find that all of that detail is created by only a few strokes of the brush.  

White Flower
(click to view)

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

Don’t fuss so much over whether a piece is good. Just keep painting. If you are unhappy with what you're working on set it aside and move onto something new. At some point you might circle back to the offending art and be able to work on it with a new mindset. Or (as I often do) just create a new painting on top of it. You can’t see how far you’ve come unless you go somewhere. 

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

No! If I can jump-start myself to where I’m sitting in front of my easel I’m in pretty good shape, but this is a constant struggle for me. And if anyone out there has any tips I’m always looking for them! 

Waiting
(click to view)

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

When I get stuck, I try to look outside myself for motivation. I’m inspired by what other artists are creating. Trips to galleries and museums can fill me with new ideas. I also go on walks or hikes in nature to help clear my mind and reset my thinking. By the time I’m back in my studio, I can tackle things with a fresh perspective.

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

Short term is pretty basic. I need to tidy up my studio space. Not only is the clutter distracting, I keep losing things. I literally can’t find one of my paintings. I waste so much precious time searching for stuff. As for my long term goals, I’m working to create a series of themed pieces. I want to push myself into thinking conceptually and adding more storytelling to my work. 

The Morning Cup
(click to view)

What does success mean to you personally?  

Being satisfied with the work I’m doing and feeling like I’m consistently making progress. I know that I’m always going to look at my work critically and see things I could have done better, but, thankfully, there’s usually enough good parts to keep me going. 

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

Hmmm... I guess it would have to be the first time I sold one of my paintings. I’d been so focused on raising my skill level that I never thought too much about anyone wanting to buy my work. When that happened, it was a surprise and a thrill! Being self motivated is very hard. These kind of bumps help.


Peeking Out
(click to view)
Thanks, Kim!

© 2022 Maddie Marine


Thursday, January 13, 2022

DPW Spotlight Interview: Todd Schabel

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

From Todd's DPW Gallery Page: 

Todd Schabel is a contemporary realist oil painter who grew up in Central Wisconsin. He attended the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, where he was fortunate to study with the late Li Hu, who emphasized the need to learn strong drawing skills and the importance of working from life. Todd’s training mainly consisted of the portrait, the figure, and still-lifes, but due to his love of the outdoors and interest in travel, it wasn't long before he fell in love with the landscape, particularly plein air painting.

This love of plein air painting has currently taken Todd, his wife Marcia, and their two Goldendoodles, on the road to plein air events, workshops and diverse parts of the nation to study from life. Todd has had the honor of receiving several plein air awards in the Midwest region including 1st Place awards at Mineral Point, Appleton Paint Out, and Plymouth Paint the Towns and Artist’s Choice at Jefferson Plein Air. He has also been juried into several National and International exhibitions. He is represented by the Richeson Gallery in Kimberly, WI and Foxley’s Gallery in Appleton, WI.

 "There is joy in more places than we can imagine and my hope is to encourage others to pause and see more of that beauty around us, but even more importantly, to nurture it."

Vermont Barn
(click to view)

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

What did you want to be growing up?  

Growing up I was really interested in sports and dreamed of playing for either a professional soccer or football team. I played soccer in college, but my artistic creativity quickly took over and I found myself in the studio refining my painting skills more and more. 

When did your artistic journey begin?  

I had always loved to draw and create things as a child, but my artistic journey really began my senior year of high school. A local artist named Daniel Gerhartz was invited to come talk to our art class; needless to say I was blown away by his work and the fact he made a living with it, and he lived only a short drive away. I think this made the thought of pursuing art feel more accessible since he came from and still lived in a small rural midwestern town. 

Southern Embrace
(click to view)

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

I have never really had long periods without creative expression, but I have had periods where I didn’t create paintings. Shortly after college I started working for a reclaimed custom furniture company where I was able to use my creativity to build one of a kind pieces. I worked for this company for 7 years and had stretches of up to a year where I wouldn’t paint, but I was creating unique things everyday out of wood which fueled my creativity. There eventually reached a point where I was painting consistently again and I knew that it was time to fully commit to painting. 

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

I have always admired the richness of oil paint. That is what initially compelled me to learn how to use it and once I realized its versatility, the possibilities seemed endless for experimentation. I have used watercolor and pastel in the past and will return to them again, but I feel my next medium to explore is gouache.

As for subjects, in college I studied portraits, figures and still-lifes which I really enjoyed. After graduating I quickly became interested in the landscape and that has been my primary subject matter ever since, specifically plein air painting. Since I live in central Wisconsin, the heart of the dairyland, painting barns and farm scenes has become commonplace for me. There is more subtlety to the local farm scene paintings, than say a snow-capped mountain scene from out west, but I am finding them just as interesting to paint. The only subject that I haven’t really experimented with is abstract. For the longest time I avoided even viewing abstract works, but I have to say it is growing on me. I am intrigued by artists incorporating abstract elements within more traditional realism.

Back to Dodge
(click to view)

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

I haven’t really put much thought into my style or voice. I have been more concerned with learning and practicing the techniques to be able to paint the realistic paintings I envision with confidence and then take things in my own direction from there. I still have a lifetime of learning in regards to technique, but now that I am more confident I can let intuition take over. Things start to happen that I hadn’t planned on or I see things in a different way and go with it. If a matter of several hours goes by in what felt like 10 mins, then my voice tends to come through naturally. I am starting to loosen up the reins and allow things to happen more organically and my style seems to be emerging on its own. 

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

From the beginning it has been Dan Gerhartz. He is one of the most kind and generous people I have had the fortune of meeting. He has also maintained a prolific career as an artist while being a devoted family-man. This is something I find myself thinking about now more than ever since my wife and I are about to welcome our first child in the next few days. 

Several other artists whom I admire are John Singer Sargent, Richard Schmid, Mark Boedges, T. Allen Lawson, Bethann Moran-Handzlik and many, many others. 

Sunflowers
(click to view)

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

Stop overthinking it and just paint. Things will work themselves out.  

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

That is a constant work in progress, but one of the best methods for me so far is listening to music, more specifically folk music. This helps silence the noise in my head of other things trying to win my attention and I can focus on my work. As for the procrastination side, I like to have some sort of structure to work within so I set up goals and deadlines to finish pieces and be able to move onto the next. I try to keep it simple and realistic to build momentum. It isn’t always so smooth, but it has helped significantly.  

Prickly Pear and Yuccas
(click to view)

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

I look back at earlier paintings and realize not just how much I have learned, but how fulfilling the journey has been and continues to be. This helps make that next step into the abyss less daunting. It's still nowhere near easy, but if I trust the process, show up and be me, then the rest of the things I can’t necessarily control will take care of themselves as they may. Again, it references just getting to work; momentum is powerful. If I really get stuck, I change things up and try a new approach. I know I am making progress in this regard when I have struggled with a painting for hours and then finally decide to wipe it off and start over. More often than not the next painting comes together in half the time and it was what I envisioned to begin with. Those moments reinforce my resolve for when the next hurdle comes. 

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

A long term goal of mine is not simply just to create art, but to live a full life. A big part of that is that my wife and I are beginning to learn the many tasks of homesteading that in certain respects have been lost. Growing and harvesting as much of our own food as possible has been our recent goal and expanding on that each year by learning something else has been rewarding. This can take up a good amount of time and we realize we need to pace ourselves in the endeavor, but it gives back so much more than it takes. As for a short term goal, I am starting to put together a painting series that revolves around these local and sustainable practices. 

Late Season Snow
(click to view)

What does success mean to you personally?  

To be honest, the idea of success has been a struggle. Although, I have come to realize that to be able to create work that continues to inspire me each day and allows me to be my best self reassures me that I am on the right path. Additionally, if it can help inspire others to do the same on their paths, then all the better. It’s like the music I listen to while painting. I have no real desire to learn the guitar or to sing, but there are countless musicians who create beautiful works in their own ways that can lift me up in a matter of minutes. The shared human experience of creativity celebrates the gift of life and I am glad to be a part of that. Being able to raise a family through the support of those who share that same vision and choose to purchase my work is my version of success. 

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

I have come to really love the plein air community and how accessible it is for the public to interact with artists as they are creating their art right out in the open. At a recent event I created two different paintings of the same unique dilapidated barn. I was able to speak with the farmer as he came by to do his chores and he was delighted that I was painting it. He ended up purchasing both paintings and he told me how his family came over from Italy over a hundred years ago to start farming there and those paintings would hang in the original farmhouse. I had a blast painting them and now they would pass those paintings down and add to their family heritage; what more could I ask for? That is what hits home for me, having gratitude for the good in life and passing it on.   

To Shoshoni
(click to view)

Thanks, Todd!

© 2022 Maddie Marine

Thursday, January 6, 2022

DPW Spotlight Interview: Jeff Atnip

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

From Jeff's DPW Gallery Page:

I have had a long, frequently interrupted painting career marked by bouts with laziness and lots of bad
paintings. But, according to the National Council of Painting Authority*, you have to get most of the bad paintings out of your system before you can do any good ones. I think that is good advice.

On a serious note, I have the most experience with watercolor, but I keep experimenting with other mediums. I love sunlit surfaces, reflected light, shadows and contrasts. I also enjoy depicting weathered textures, trees and old structures.

I have won some awards over the years and been accepted into juried shows, but I have mostly neglected enrolling in competitions.

I definitely like this idea of painting small and painting frequently. It is fun and takes some of the pressure off. Thanks, Daily Paintworks, for providing this marketplace.

*A taxpayer-funded fictitious organization.


Road To Sevierville  

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

What did you want to be growing up?  

First I wanted to be an astronaut, but I found out that you had to be good at math. Then I studied forestry in college until I found out it is not all about living in a secluded cabin in the woods. I finally settled on graphic design because that was the only subject in which I could make good grades and that I enjoyed.

When did your artistic journey begin?  

I was always drawing as a kid - trying to draw the super heroes from my comic books etc… It was always a struggle however, because I was definitely not a prodigy and I was always dissatisfied with my drawing ability. 
 
Barn Window
(click to view)

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

Sometimes I am just lazy, but I don’t recall any extended times when I did not even bother to take a sketchbook with me.

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

I usually use watercolor and I gravitate towards the rural landscapes that remind me of the countryside where I grew up. However I am not averse to cityscapes and still life and whatever shapes, shadows, contrasts and textures that catch my eye. I also will use oil, acrylic, gouache, pastel, colored pencil, and pen and ink. I like looking at some pure abstracts, but I do not see myself ever doing that. Also, art that is designed to shock or offend for whatever reason does not appeal to me.

Some Kind Of Red Bird
(click to view)

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

The process is ongoing and I am worried that it will never finish. The problem is that I cannot seem to settle on one style because I like so many of them. If you look through my gallery page you will see loose impressionism, tight realism, large detailed watercolor landscapes, small ACEO watercolors, tight scratchboard renderings, cars, horses, birds, barns, people. Somebody help! 

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

I admire the watercolors of Tony Couch and Tony Van Hasselt and I have attended workshops by both men. Their style brings out the beauty and unique advantages of the watercolor medium. I also follow Joseph Zbukvic, Keiko Tanabe and artists like them. Other artists I admire are Shishkin, Peder Monsted and Andrew Wyeth.

Green Moss White Oak
(click to view)

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

Get started early and keep filling up your sketchbooks.
 
Do you utilize any habits or tricks for winning the distraction and procrastination battle? 

Force yourself to get started and the good feelings will follow. 
 
In moments of self-doubt or adversity, how do you push forward?

Take a break, walk away, don’t be afraid to tear it up and start over.

Can Of Nails
(click to view)

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

Just keep on trying to get better and maybe eventually sell more for higher prices.

What does success mean to you personally?  

I know God has given me a small measure of talent. I want to see it fully realized and expressed for his glory.
 
What is one of your proudest moments in your creative life?

I have (mostly) avoided entering contests for decades just because it seemed like more trouble and expense than it was worth. But I was pleased a number of years ago when two of my works were juried in to the annual Tennessee Watercolor Society annual show.

Zion View 1
(click to view)

Thanks, Jeff!

© 2022 Maddie Marine