Thursday, August 18, 2022

DPW Spotlight Interview: Brad Bisbey

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

From Brad's DPW Gallery Page: 


When I was young, I suffered from several health problems. I couldn't do sports, so I began to draw and paint, and I didn’t stop. I went on to receive a B.A. degree in Art from St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa. Later I studied with renowned portrait painter Daniel Greene in Chicago. I also teach portrait, figure, and landscape painting at Ber├ęskin Gallery in Bettendorf, Iowa. My work is in many private collections around the United States , Canada, and Europe. 

For me, everyone and everything is a potential subject. I try to stay awake to all the possibilities. All art is a search. I realize that what I am painting must first have an emotional impact on me, and then, hopefully, it will touch others as well. My painting is a search for this balance between intellectual and emotional responses to the world around me. I hope to remain endlessly curious.

I live and work in Moline, Illinois, located along the banks of the Mississippi River.

 What did you want to be growing up? 

For as long as I can remember, I was interested in art. I had asthma and couldn’t do sports, so I occupied my time drawing. My mother had a series of art books that caught my interest. From age 9, I really knew I wanted to be an artist, but where that would take me I did not know!
 
When did your artistic journey begin? 

All I really wanted out of high school was out of high school! College was a different ball game and it took a while to find a sense of direction. It was the 1970s after all. Many miles on the brush were required to find my authentic thoughts that eventually found their way into my work. I think my real journey began after studying with Daniel Greene in Chicago in 1992. His teaching resonated with me and really awakened a creative side that I can’t explain. But I am not sure the artistic journey actually has a beginning or an end. It is an ongoing search that encompasses all our experiences.
It is a search that renews itself every day!
 
Deliverance
(click to view)

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

I did go through a long creative block where I didn’t produce much work and I really thought I was washed up as an artist and it looked as if I would never draw or paint again. Nothing anywhere inspired me to paint! So I didn’t. I just read books on what to do when you can’t paint! That didn’t help. How did I begin painting again? I began painting. And I painted bad paintings. The old saying is, How do you paint good paintings? Answer. Paint lots of bad paintings. So I did. 
Eventually, I was fortunate enough to be accepted into the once Daily Painters.com. And I painted. Now I know I won’t live long enough to paint all the paintings that I want to paint!

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

I worked in oil for many years, and then developed a severe allergy to the solvents. That almost put me out of business. I had to find another medium. I worked in watercolor quite a bit, but I like a paint with more body. Acrylics have come a long way since my college days, and now I wouldn’t go back to oil paint even if I could. I love pen and ink and watercolor as well!
I love all subject matter and approach portrait, figure, landscape and still life on an equal playing field. For me, painting isn’t about painting; painting is all about seeing.

Ballet Dancers
(click to view)

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

I was really hung up on my personal style and my personal voice when I was younger. Now when I teach painting I tell my students not to worry about it because it is already built in. It came with them when they were born! It’s like their handwriting. They don’t have to go searching for their handwriting! I can have 12 students all paint the same subject and they end up with 12 completely different paintings. Just paint. And learn the nuts and bolts of good painting. Your voice is in there!

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

My personal list is long! I love Norman Rockwell and have always admired his painting skill and the themes of his work. He was the first artist whose work I couldn’t get enough of. As mentioned earlier, I love Daniel Greene, who was a world class pastel artist and portrait painter and was an incredibly generous teacher. His technique has stuck with me for over 30 years. 
The French Impressionists are favorites for their paintings and for their biographies. 
I am kind of a sponge when it comes to looking at art. If I see a work or even part of a work that I like, I will soak it in.

The Bride

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

Love more! Don’t be so hard on yourself!
 
Do you utilize any habits or tricks for winning the distraction and procrastination battle? 

Have won a few battles! Haven’t won the war!

New Orleans Model
(click to view)

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

I really had some no nonsense teachers. They were hard core about getting things right the first time! That was a lot of pressure for a poor art student and it carried into real life. I overcame this by understanding that maybe I didn’t have to get it right the first time! What if I didn’t get it right the first time? The world actually didn’t come to a screeching halt! I began to lighten up a little bit, and I didn’t look back. Now when I have self doubt, I lighten up a bit! I understand, as Ansel Adams said, ‘The perfect is the enemy of the good!’

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

I think my goal at this time in my life is examine the parts of my work that appeal to me the most, probably in terms of brushwork and mark making, and incorporate these into future paintings. I have always believed that one grows as an artist by paying close attention to those areas on the canvas that appeal most to the artist, whether they were applied on purpose or by accident, and also by avoiding those marks which appeal least to the artist. It all comes down to being more and more proficient with the brush.

Fields
(click to view)

What does success mean to you personally? 

Success to me used to mean being able to paint every day! But now, success to me means being kind, and being more than generous with the grace of God!
 
What is one of your proudest moments in your creative life?

Creatively speaking, I am most happy with being a Signature Member of the Painters in Casein and Acrylic Society and having work hang in the Salmagundi Club in New York City. 
 And teaching 4 year olds how to paint and having them grab the brush from my hand and say, ‘Let me show you how to do that!’ That has happened several times!


Dancer
(click to view)
Thanks, Brad!

© 2022 Maddie Marine

Thursday, August 4, 2022

DPW Spotlight Interview: Brenda Kay Paintings

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

From Brenda's DPW Gallery Page: 

Brenda Kay Paintings, abstract artist painting representational and plein air paintings
•Inspired by and responding to beauty, culture, and my Creator
•Color filled layers of meaning and paint
•Often complex, always thoughtful

With a commercial art degree from UNW St. Paul, I started out in advertising, but have turned my focus to painting full time in my home studio.  I enjoy using my art training and life experience to build strong abstract compositions.  I love walking in the woods, wind-tossed water, coffee and chocolate, and especially my Beloved Husband and two adult kids.

Brenda has been awarded the BoldBrush Award for Abstract, BoldBrush 1st prize for Abstract, and has received several regional art awards. She has been selected to participate in the Hoosier Salon, the SALI National Abstract Art Exhibition, and is a Hoosier Woman Artist. She was also juried in to a workshop with renowned artist Makoto Fujimura in 2018.
Member: Fort Wayne Artists Guild •Hoosier Salon • Lakeland Art Association• Hoosier Woman Artist

Maple en Plein Air
(click to view)

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

What did you want to be growing up?  

Well, the first thing I remember wanting to be was a cowboy, and when I realized that girls could only be cowGIRLS, I was severely disappointed!
I really could not decide what I wanted to be, but when I was entering my second year of college with an undecided major, my Dad said, "You know, you will always be drawing. Why don't you study [commercial] art so that you have a way to earn a living, and then if you still want more school, you can go back and get more." The better I get to know artists, the more I recognize how unusual that parental direction was! And he was sure right.
 
When did your artistic journey begin?  

I was the kid in elementary school that was often picked to do the art stuff, like painting Christmas scenes on the windows and 'fixing' the out-of-proportion US map.  Maybe that was the start of the journey.
 
Good Morning!
(click to view)

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

I did. I set aside my art for many years while we raised and homeschooled our (now adult) kids. We had just been through traumatic times and my health was compromised during that time, so we decided to put first things first. I did still dabble with some art here and there, but it was not until our kids were on their own that I really started to refocus on my art.

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

I love acrylics, and my primary artistic calling is abstract painting! I really delight in expressing concepts in non-objective art.
Plein air and somewhat representational painting is my new side pursuit, and I am finding a lot of joy in learning and getting more skillful in these genres. Daily Paintworks is a great place for me to share these paintings.
I have difficulty appreciating photo-realism/realism in painting.

Pasture Grazing en Plein Air
(click to view)

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

Interestingly, I had always done representational art until dear friends commissioned me to do a large abstract painting for their home. I didn't even know where to begin to paint a quality work of art that was non-objective, so I began to study and practice abstract works until I found my abstract painting becoming second nature, and I found that I could communicate effectively with that genre.
Now I am in the process of studying and practicing more representational art and plein air painting and I am finding that I don't yet have that inner direction that comes almost naturally in these genres. Particularly in plein air painting, I am finding so many factors that require my attention that I struggle to find my stride! But I am feeling it coming along as I practice.  

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

There are so, so many! Fred Ingrams, for simplicity in design and excitement in color
Jim Wodark, for plein air chops and interesting color
Bob Burridge for teaching skillfully and compelling color
David Huang, metalsmith, for detail and brilliance in his vessels
Timothy Botts, calligraphy, meaningful design and lots of color
And also lots of poets, musicians, dancers, actors, authors, and other artists

Swimmer Warm-up
(click to view)

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

I still need to tell the same things to myself now - don't get too uptight about the results. Do the next right thing, and keep at it, and let the results be left up to God's timing. Just don't give up.
 
Do you utilize any habits or tricks for winning the distraction and procrastination battle?  

Whew, this is a tough question! I do find it is helpful to get SOMETHING on the substrate, and then respond to what is there. It helps me to remember that, as I heard from artist Kathie Odom, "While I am painting, nothing hurts!" Ha ha!
 
Walk By Faith
(click to view)

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

Another tough question! I find that my first response has to be to ask my Heavenly Father whether I am following His lead. More than anything, I want to be doing what He calls me to. So sometimes He will prompt someone to send me an encouraging note (or an invitation to be a featured DPW artist!), or maybe I will win an award or sell a painting. Sometimes I just begin to feel more confident by doing the next thing as a matter of discipline. And sometimes I just have to choose to paint as a discipline even if I don't feel better!

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

I really don't have goals. I know that is not the way I am "supposed to" answer, but it is the truth. I would love to be able to paint when my Beloved Husband retires, and help support our family if possible, but I wouldn't call it a goal.

Dandelions
(click to view)

What does success mean to you personally?  

I have asked myself this question before, and my best answer is that I want my art to communicate - to bring truth, goodness, and beauty into the world in a way that helps people see that God is True, Good, and Beautiful, and that He is extremely fond of us! It is a very tall order for paintings to do that, admittedly!
 
What is one of your proudest moments in your creative life?

There have been significant moments in my artistic journey, including awards, invitations to juried exhibitions and events, and good sales of my work, but at least today as I type this, I think one of the "proudest" moments for me was seeing the impact of one of my paintings on someone. Most years I host an open studio/open house in my home, and I invite as many people as I can get my hands on to come and see my new work! One particular year, I saw a lady in my studio gazing at an abstract work that was on my easel. It was a very meaningful work to me, but I was not yet sure that it was communicating like I wanted it to. But there she stood, weeping in front of that painting. She asked me about the meaning of it, and yes, she had indeed been impacted in the way that I had hoped. Not much can top that. 

DeFries Garden en Plein Air
(click to view)


Thanks, Brenda!

© 2022 Maddie Marine