Thursday, August 25, 2016

DPW Spotlight Interview: Graham Townsend

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings.

To enter to win Graham's painting, "Noon-Day Wheat Field" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Graham's DPW Gallery:

My name is Graham Townsend, I live in Belgium with my wife Stephanie and our beautiful daughters Jaynevieve and Evangeline. Painting is the hobby that I try to squeeze into the few gaps that real life leaves in my schedule!

A keen scribbler as a youth, I was introduced to acrylics by my late step-grandmother, and exhibited a few paintings before the distractions of my teens. A brief hiatus of about 25 years followed, where I hardly painted at all, until 2008, when I decided to try my hand with oils. Finding that I enjoyed them, I have been painting ever since, and doing my best to improve. (click to read more)

You can also see more of Graham's art at his personal website here.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I loved drawing when I was a child, but didn't really get into painting until my early teens.  I owe a very big debt to my late step-grandmother, Meg, who introduced me to acrylics.  I then painted a little throughout my teens, until other pursuits became more distracting!  I still have a couple of my acrylic paintings from those days.  In my early twenties, I joined the armed forces, which led to a brief hiatus of about 20 years (!) before I started to paint in earnest again.  That was when, in my early 40's, I first began to experiment with oil paints.

Noon-Day Wheat Field
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I've briefly tried out watercolours and gouache, and certainly plan to use watercolours some more in the future.  But I need to work up the courage first - oils are far more forgiving.  In terms of genre I'm a bit of a traditionalist I suppose - I've always been a figurative painter, although I never strive for true realism.

Flagstaff Sunrise
(click to view)

Who or what inspires you most?

I find that a lot of my inspiration comes from the world around me - sometimes even the most mundane object can hit me in the eye and just cries out to be painted.  And I'm inspired by a number of great contemporary artists:  David Pilgrim, William Wray, David Shevlino, Jeremy Mann, Ken Howard, Karl Terry, Marc Dalessio, Roy Connelly, Trevor Chamberlain - I could go on and on!  Of course, I also love the masters such as Bunkall, Rockwell, Wyeth, Freud, many of the Impressionists...  There are really too many to list.

What does procrastination look like for you?

Many paintings that I've started (maybe most of them!) don't seem to work, or to go in the direction that I'd imagined them taking.  With some I'll persevere, but often they get shelved.  Sometimes I will revisit an old piece and give it another try - this often entails almost the whole thing being painted over from scratch.  And sometimes these pictures just seem to click the second time around; my painting of HMS Ark Royal worked out this way.

Blue Shutters
(click to view)

What techniques work to ensure that you make time for your art?

I find making time to paint really difficult.  I know that many advocate painting every day as the only way to truly improve - and I have a nasty suspicion that they maybe right - but I just can't manage that.  I work full time and have a young family, and am very fortunate to have an understanding wife who offers me huge support; but even so finding those rare free moments when spare time coincides with a flash of inspiration...  Ah, if only!  I do find that getting out to paint plein air helps me to focus though, and the practice is always invaluable, even if the results tend to be somewhat variable.

Hell's Mouth, Cornwall
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

The ideas can come from pretty much anywhere.  Some appear out of the blue, others take a long time to gradually take shape in my mind.  The desire to produce a particular image waxes and wanes too - sometimes I will finally start work on an idea I've been harbouring for a long time, only to find that it's lost its appeal.

How do you keep art "fresh?" What techniques have helped you avoid burnout and keep your work vibrant and engaging?

How to keep fresh - I wish I had the answer!  I'm always trying to loosen up and become more 'painterly', but I haven't managed it yet.  Shall just have to keep trying!

Cafe Diane
(click to view)

What makes you happiest about your art?

That rare and lovely moment when a picture just seems to click, and almost paints itself.  Magical.

Thanks, Graham!

© 2016 Sophie Marine

Thursday, August 18, 2016

DPW Spotlight Interview: Cathy Holtom

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings.

To enter to win Cathy's painting, "Grapes in the Sunlight" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Jeanne's DPW Gallery:

I am an English artist living on the island of Sicily, Italy. I have lived on this beautiful island for over 25 years and have come to know it well. My art is inspired by daily Sicilian life, the gardens and landscapes... there is so much to see that I am never short of a subject! (click to view gallery)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I don't remember a time when I didn't draw and paint; it's been a lifelong passion.  A turning point for me was after a holiday in the Lake District (UK).  I visited the Derwent Pencil factory and bought some watercolour pencils and pastel pencils on a whim.  I spent the rest of the holiday sketching and painting around the beautiful lakes and hills and I knew I wanted to live a life full of art.

Did you have any stops and starts in your painting career?

I had a really good art teacher at school and was all set to take an arts foundation course.  I was really interested in fabric design but, as is the same story as for many people, well meaning family persuaded me to look at more 'profitable' career options and I went off in a completely different direction. Looking back with the wisdom of age and experience, it was totally the wrong decision.

Grapes in the Sunlight

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I've used most mediums: watercolour, pastel, coloured pencil and oils. I like to experiment and mix things up just to see where the medium takes me.  I started out in a very realistic style, copying what I saw in front of me. Over time as I have become more confident, I have started to move away from all the attention to detail and to experiment with my own ideas of light and shape.  I'm still on that journey.

Which ones have "stuck" and which ones have fallen away?

I spent quite a few years using coloured pencil, exhibiting and also winning a few awards.  I joined a local art group where we all used oils or acrylics and that started me on a love affair with oil paint.  I still like my watercolours but I get frustrated when they dry too quickly in Sicilian hot weather.

Aloe and Sunlight
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I would love to try printing and experiment occasionally with lino prints.  Collage and mixed media attract me too; I find myself pulled towards the dynamic use of colour in semi-abstract work and would like to explore that too.

Who or what inspires you most?

My biggest inspiration is the Italian island of Sicily where I live.  The warm light, the sounds and smells make everyday objects, buildings and landscapes special. History and art is everywhere here and I'm so lucky to have it all on my doorstep.

Move Over
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

I admit to being a procrastinator; I have to be disciplined with myself to get anything done.  When it comes to painting, I find the best thing is not to think too much and just get on and do it.  If the end product is really awful it can always be painted over or binned!

What techniques work to ensure that you make time for your art?

I block off whole afternoons and make sure my phone’s switched off. Learning how to say no and protecting my art time is very important, even if that doesn't always make me very popular.

Pitchers
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Things I see catch my eye: perhaps a colour, the way the light lands on something or interesting shadows. I take photographs and sketch a lot. Sketching helps you see things a camera can't capture and often the best ideas come from there.

How do you keep art "fresh?" What techniques have helped you avoid burnout and keep your work vibrant and engaging?

Whenever I get bored or have that sinking feeling about my work, I stop and do something different.  I usually have at least three to four paintings on the go and if one isn't exciting me, I move on to another. Time away somewhere new is a great way to get the creative juices going too.

Flotilla
(click to view)

What do you feel you are learning about right now as an artist?

Right now I'm working on loosening up my work and learning to let go of the detail.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I love to paint and if the end product brings pleasure to someone else too, I'm happy.

Thanks, Cathy!

© 2016 Sophie Marine

Thursday, August 11, 2016

DPW Spotlight Interview: Jeanne Strohrmann

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings.

To enter to win Jeanne's painting, "Little Boathouse" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Jeanne's DPW Gallery: 

Art has always been a part of my life but became far more important after my retirement from an accounting career. I laid aside all other crafts to devote my time to developing and improving my artistic skills. Art is a pursuit that must be studied, pondered and consistently practiced to achieve any degree of proficiency. One day I hope my paintings will fully express my love for God's creation, enriching and inspiring others as I've been inspired by the work of so many others. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting and if you’ve had any stops and starts.

I painted very little until my 30’s and must have mentioned an interest in art to my husband because he gave me a set of acrylic paints for a birthday present. I remember being absolutely delighted with them and started painting, albeit a bit sporadically. Art was simply another hobby to add to several I was already involved in (fiber crafts, mostly). After retirement, I realized I needed to significantly reduce my hobbies or I would never be a master of anything, just a jack-of-all-trades. By this time, my interest in art was growing so I put away the others and began painting in earnest.

Little Boathouse
(click to view)

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

What mediums have you experimented with and which ones have ‘stuck’?

Acrylics gave way fairly quickly to colored pencils because of a workshop I took. After about seven years of colored pencil drawings (which included watercolor backgrounds that I felt I’d never master), I gave soft pastels a try. I was still working at that time and had a little money but no time or sense. I just knew I’d never give up pastels and purchased a boatload of them – they are SO beautiful. However, after some unsuccessful paintings, I realized I wasn’t enjoying them. I didn’t like having to look for the perfect color out of so many and I didn’t like the fragility of the finished work and the framing requirements. Pastels just were not my “cup of tea”. Yet to this day, I absolutely love a well-executed pastel painting; however, I will settle for a deep appreciation and admiration of others’ work.

Next to try were oils and I realized I’d finally found my perfect medium! The paintings are durable, do not need to be framed behind glass, are easily corrected and I can get any color I want by simply mixing it. I have been using oils now for several years and expect to do so for the duration.

What genres have you experimented with?

At first, I was totally interested in florals because I grew so many flower varieties in my garden. However, I have since painted portraits, animals, architecture and now, mainly landscapes. Each one has its particular challenges and rewards.

Midnight Awakening
(click to view)

What have you done to advance your understanding of painting?

Since I enjoy learning almost as much as painting, I have taken numerous workshops, studied art books and magazines, and enrolled in the online Virtual Art Academy – a course I found to be excellent for my needs. I also study the work of artists whose paintings and techniques fascinate me. The study of others’ artwork incorporates and enhances all the material I am learning from other sources. Two of my favorite painters are Edgar Alwyn Payne (1883-1947) and Richard Schmid (contemporary) but there are also many, many artists that inspire me with their work – including on DPW.

What do you feel you are learning right now as an artist?

For the first 10 years or so that I painted, my style was very realistic. It raised a question: why not just take a photograph? So for the last 2-3 years, I have been pushing myself to loosen up. As I study paintings that are more impressionistic than realistic, I’ve come to really love that style. While I once thought impressionism would be so simple to create, I’ve found there is nothing simple about it and have developed a very healthy respect for those who’ve mastered it. A painterly style intrigues me far more now than the realism I once sought to express.

In the Clefts of the Rock
(click to view)

In addition to style, there are various subjects that will require long hours of practice before I am comfortable with them; representing water is just one of many that is in conflict with comfort. Yet, thankfully, painting is a craft that will never exhaust a love for learning and creativity. I have only a very limited amount of talent to create art, yet was taught years ago that anyone willing to pursue training, study and practice can learn to paint. I would encourage all who want to paint never to be hindered by a perceived lack of talent.

Who or what inspires you the most?

The artists who inspire me are far too numerous to detail here (I noted a couple of them earlier). Other artists’ works are a tremendous motivation for me to continue learning and painting. A well-worn joke at our house is my “new favorite artist”. Sometimes when I find a painting that grabs my attention or includes beautiful, harmonious colors, I’ll try to mix colors to match those in the painting then will analyze the color pallet using the resources I’ve studied. This practice builds a good foundation for mixing colors as well as understanding the value of neutral colors, brush strokes, detail of subject matter (or lack of it), composition, use of values, and so on. My study of the work of others has been enormously stimulating and very much impacts the improvement of my own work.

Catchin' Some Rays
(click to view)

As for ‘what’ inspires me, practically everything in view. I cannot look out a window or take a trip – short or long, without finding such things as filtered sunlight on a tree trunk, cattails along the road, wildflowers in the weeds, a grain silo, industrial buildings, everything! There is the old man on one knee with his head bowed praying, the cutest little curly-topped girl you ever saw at play, children at a small table stacking blocks, squirrels on the fence-top ‘highway’, a spray of brambles with ripe berries, a rocky outcrop with flowers in the crevasses, ever-changing clouds and sky colors. Here again, the list is endless. I would need about 300 years to paint what inspires me!

A Stroll in London
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you and what techniques work to ensure you will paint?

Mostly I put art work off until my household and outdoor work is completed. These duties are very greedy of my time and if I didn’t set boundaries on their persistent calls, I’d never paint. My house is “presentable” in lieu of “spotless”, weeds may grow another day, the laundry gets attention when the socks are low, althouth to my great delight, my husband loves to cook. Far too often, however, I get my working pallet out of the freezer, thaw the piles of paint, then at the end of the day, put it back in the freezer for another attempt to paint tomorrow.

By far the best technique to paint on a regular basis has been having two painting buddies who get together with me one day a week for about 5-6 hours of solid painting. Almost every week, we come away greatly satisfied with the work we have just done and vow to continue our weekly retreats from reality until we achieve “world-class” status!

Ancient Junipers
(click to view)

What makes you happiest about your art?

As a painting begins, there’s typically an “ugly” stage that can last longer than I care to tolerate, so when I finish the block-in, I often paint a little part of the picture to completion so there is something to appreciate while the rest is coming along. I love getting past the ugly stage and when it is all completed and others see it, are attracted to and express their appreciation for the beautiful world God created, I am very humbled and grateful for the gifts and resources He has given me that enable me to paint something that brings joy and good memories to many.

Thanks, Jeanne!

© 2016 Sophie Marine

Thursday, August 4, 2016

DPW Spotlight Interview: Jamie Stevens

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings.

To enter to win Jamie's painting, "Petey the Parrot" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Jamie's DPW Gallery: 

About 25 years ago, I took oil painting classes for a year or two (ugh...shows my age!) Every once in a while I would talk with my husband about how I would like to paint again but there just never seemed to be a good opportunity or space to try it. Initially, he gave me acrylic paints and brushes as a gift. I was really excited but completely intimidated! I barely looked at it for over a month. After some encouragement, I finally began to experiment with the paints that he had given me. More recently, I've started painting in oils and I love it. My hope is to paint a little every day. Most of my painting happens during my daughter's nap and in the evening if I'm not too tired from chasing around a 4 year old! The most important thing about me is my relationship with God. (click to view bio)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I always enjoyed drawing and art as a child. I even had a dream in elementary school of one day being a Disney animator! The very first time I painted was when I took an oil painting class during most of 6th grade. I remember really liking it, but for various reasons I didn’t continue the next year.

Petey the Parrot
(click to view)

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

Since meeting and marrying my husband, I would occasionally tell him that I would love to try painting again. Life was busy and we lived in a small apartment so it didn’t seem very feasible. Christmas 2014, he bought me my first set of acrylic paints and brushes. I had never used acrylics before and felt kind of intimidated. It took me a couple of months before picking them up and trying to paint. Once I started though, I didn’t want to stop! I am really thankful to be married to such a supportive person. I fully credit him with my rediscovered love for painting.

After playing around with my paints for a few months, I happened across Carol Marine’s book “Daily Painting”. Not only did I love her work, but I also loved her book! It introduced me to the idea of painting small and often. I was encouraged to read that she started her daily painting journey during her child’s naps. I also paint during my child’s naps. I thought, “Maybe this is something I can really do!” I read that book last summer and feel like that was when I began the path I’m on now.

July Book Club

Did you have any stops and starts in your painting career?

I took a break from painting for most of last school year. I had a three year old at the time and increased my hours at work. I didn’t know how to continue painting and prioritize my family and other important things in my life. I’m trying to get better at leaving more margin in my life for painting. What mediums and genres have you experimented with? I have worked in acrylics and oils.

Which ones have "stuck" and which ones have fallen away?

I painted with acrylics initially but picked up oil painting this past May. I love painting in oils. I haven’t picked up my acrylic paints since I painted my first oil painting! I do want to try working with them again at some point though.

Daddy-Daughter Time
(
click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I’d like to explore using gauche, but I am having too much fun with my oils for now!

Who or what inspires you most?

Other artists. I especially enjoy reading other artists’ blogs. It’s inspiring to get a peek into their journey as an artist. When I feel tired at the end of a long day and unmotivated to set up my studio (aka my kitchen table), looking at other artists’ work motivates me to get up and start painting. I also love the feeling I get when I can see that a painting is coming together. It doesn’t usually happen until I’m about 2/3 of the way through the painting… sometimes it doesn’t even happen until the very end. Remembering that sense of satisfaction and joy inspires me to paint again. I’m also frequently inspired by what I see as I drive around town.

Sunny Side Up
(
click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Because painting can only happen during very limited times during my day/week, I don’t procrastinate much. After I get over the initial barrier of being tired I’m usually pretty excited to get started.

What techniques work to ensure that you make time for your art?

Like I said before, I wasn’t able to do that for most of last school year. This year I won’t be working as much. Also, my husband is very encouraging. It helps that he wants me to paint. It also helps me to be a part of DPW because I want to be posting there frequently.

Mug on Yellow
(
click to view)

What do you feel you are learning about right now as an artist?

I think I’m still learning a lot of the basics… composition, values, how to mix colors and trying to get a lot of miles on the paintbrush.

What makes you happiest about your art?

Painting is a joy and a challenge. I’m happiest with my art when I meet the challenge and it all comes together.

Thanks, Jamie!

© 2016 Sophie Marine

Thursday, July 28, 2016

DPW Spotlight Interview: Tammie Dickerson

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings.

To enter to win Tammie's painting, "Sailing Lake Michigan" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Tammie's DPW Gallery:

Tammie strives to capture the moments of life in graphite, oil, acrylic and now watercolor. Painting from life whenever possible, she is constantly transposing the scene before her onto her panels. Born in Kansas City and long time resident of the metropolitan area, this active local Missouri artist has won awards for her poignant portraits as well as her landscape work. She has attained numerous awards for her artwork in regional shows, One and Two Person Exhibitions, and juried competitions. Portraits from her masterful graphite series, "Mother and Child" are in private collections world wide. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

My first art memory is before I was in kindergarten!  I had drawn the vase full of flowers on my mom’s round, colonial table in front of the picture window in our living room.  I still remember the bright, south light as it flooded the room, the warmth of that sunlight on my legs and arms, as I studied that still life, choosing my colors from the crayon box.  The real thrill came when I gave my rendering to my mom - and she went bananas!  She was so excited that I thought, “Wow. I can really do something!”  And, that, was only the beginning of a life-long passion of all things artistic.

Sailing Lake Michigan
(click to view)

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

Did you have any stops and starts in your painting career?

While in junior high and high school, I had to give up art for the select choirs.  Why do they make it one or the other in so many school districts?  I loved the social aspect of choir, so I did not take art again.  Looking back, I think I took it for granted.  I thought everybody could do this, and it was no big deal.  I always kept my hand in it, though.  I stopped painting in oils when the first three of our five children kept dragging their little fingers through my paintings!  I switched to acrylics, and then china paints, but didn’t get back to the oils until ten years ago.

It was very hard to juggle a family of seven and painting.  There were often times when I could not get back to the paints, but they continued to call out to me.  I started plein air painting while all five were still in the house!  Ranging from 18 to 3 years old, I was finally able to paint in spurts, taking the youngest ones with me when painting locally.  This has become easier as they have grown more independent.  My husband has been very supportive, picking up the slack, so I could get out and paint in the field. Teaching painting classes and workshops, helps to keep me in the paint when not in the field.

Roses in the Rain
(
click to view)

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

Oh my, maybe too many to list!  Oils, acrylics, watercolor batik on rice paper, watercolor, soft pastels, oil pastels, Chinese watercolor methods, pen and ink, graphite (perhaps my first real love), encaustics, flower pounding on muslin, china painting (I taught this for many years), pigmented ink and even sculpting!  Painting daily gives me such freedom to experiment!  If today’s method isn’t fabulous - I can always try something different tomorrow!  I like to mix it up to keep things fresh.

Which ones have “stuck” and which ones have fallen away?

For plein air, I absolutely love the oils, and sometimes I use acrylics and watercolor in the field.  For studio work, I let the whim take me where it will.  I started pen and ink just this January, and I have found a new love!  Graphite portraiture will always be my soul soothing medium, and oils, acrylics and watercolors are constant companions at my studio easel.  I jump into the watercolor batiks on rice paper every so often, and I love how uncontrollable they are!  The mediums that linger in the background for me are the pastels.  I never did get a good hold on the oil pastels, and because of the dusty nature of the soft pastels, I tend to avoid them as a health hazard - though I adore paintings done in this media.

Light in the Valley
(
click to view)

Who or what inspires you most?

For me, it is the beauty that surrounds me every day.  Starting with the first light I see spreading in from the east to the last light setting in the west, I see paintings everywhere!  I am so fortunate to live in the country where there is an amazing view in all directions.  The real challenge is to focus on just one painting, and to juggle that with my very busy schedule!

What does procrastination look like for you?

Like so many other women, I have always felt that my many chores had to be complete, before I could lift a brush.  Some days are so very full, that my first opportunity to paint does not come until late at night, when the rest of the house has gone to sleep.  I often trade sleep for painting!

Sweet Baby
(
click to view)

What techniques work to ensure that you make time for your art?

In January 2013, I answered a challenge from Leslie Saeta to paint daily for 30 days.  That simple, seemingly impossible challenge started me on a daily painting adventure that has not stopped.  That was nearly 1300 days ago.  I have finished a painting every day, through times of my dad being hospitalized due to grave illness, the marriage of our oldest son, and birth of one of the grandbabies who was in the NICU for some time.  So, when I feel like not painting, I just remember the really challenging times that I have been able to paint through, and somehow,  I just can't miss a day, simply because “I don’t feel like it”!  Starting that challenge made me accountable in a way I never imagined, and I have experienced so much growth because of it.

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

There are more things that I want to paint, than I will ever be able to paint.  Everywhere I look, is a painting.  I am especially inspired by all things living. Often, even the hues of inanimate objects call out to me as well.  Any subject that stirs my soul is a painting, just waiting drop off my brush.

Grazing at Green Dirt Farm
(click to view)

What do you feel you are learning about right now as an artist?

Lately, the way warm and cool colors play together in the landscape is drawing my focus.  I am spending more time looking at the subtle color shifts on land and in the skies, ever on a journey towards perfect expression.

What makes you happiest about your art?

Just picking up a brush, pulling in through that thick, buttery paint, and letting a painting evolve.  The simple, tactile act of painting is sheer joy.

Thanks, Tammie!

© 2016 Sophie Marine

Thursday, July 21, 2016

DPW Spotlight Interview: Phil Couture

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings.

To enter to win Phil's painting, "Autumn Morning" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Phil's DPW Gallery:

Phil Couture is a realist painter currently residing in Kyoto, Japan. Born in Quebec, Canada, Phil's appreciation and interest in art developed early on as a child growing up in Lakeland, Florida. Exploring new cultures becomes a running theme in Phil's work. "I enjoy painting and drawing what piques my interest, which usually includes visiting cultures from around the world." Whether it's painting geisha from Japan, holy men from Nepal, or the rocky shores of Greece, Phil enjoys exploring the exotic and the interesting. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting:

I have been drawing and painting my entire life, but didn't begin painting with oils until around 18 years old.  Before then, I painted with acrylics and occasionally with watercolors.  I was always intimidated by oil paint, but after experimenting and practicing, I soon realized just how versatile it is.  It is definitely my favorite medium to work with, but I also enjoy ink, graphite and charcoal.  

Did you have any stops and starts in your painting career?

Since I was a child, I always dreamed of being an animator, but as I entered my high school years, I began feeling less and less like that was the right path for me.  I continued taking art classes, hoping to do something in the art field, but was discouraged by the lack of realism being taught at my school. I gave up on art as a career and eventually stopped drawing and painting altogether.  It wasn't until I got a job at an animal clinic in 2003 with fellow artists Tony Corbitt and Aaron Corbitt that I began drawing and painting for pleasure again.  I would draw animals from life for hours each day and also studied the works of the Old Masters.  This was definitely a rebirth for my love of art.  I began seriously studying art history and developed my skills by drawing from life as well as doing master copies and Bargue drawings in the same vein as classical ateliers. Eventually, Tony Corbitt and I started offering commissioned portraits of clients' pets. After a few years in the pet portrait business, I began offering original work at local galleries and started focusing less on commission work and more on originals.

Autumn Morning
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I have tried many different mediums over the years including color pencil, clay, watercolor, acrylic, and drypoint etching.  When I began offering pet portraits, I only offered graphite, ink and color pencil, but as clients asked for larger and larger portraits, I soon realized that paint would be more efficient for covering larger surface areas. I used to use acrylic paint frequently, but never liked how fast it dried. I forced myself to try oil painting and over time and after many hours of practice, it became my go-to medium of choice. I love the range of transparency and opacity it can achieve as well as the way it handles.

Which ones have "stuck" and which ones have fallen away?

The mediums I primarily use now are oil paint, graphite, charcoal, and ink.  I rarely use color pencil and haven't used acrylic paint for several years.  Graphite and ink are my favorites for drawing from life or doing thumbnail sketches.  I've found oil paint to be the most effective medium for what I want to achieve with a plein air or studio piece.  If I want thick texture I can take out a palette knife and go thick and if I want a flat, print-like effect I can thin it out and go as thin as watercolor. I also enjoy the vibrancy and blendability of oil paint.

Erawan Marigolds
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I really want to try Indian ink as well as wood block printing.  I live in Japan and woodblock printing is still a very popular art form.  Traditionally, there have always been several artists associated with all the different steps in Japanese woodblock printing (the artists, block carver, printer) and I would love to try each one.  I would also like to get back into watercolor painting as I love the effects it can achieve. I think it would be great to offer a wide variety of mediums in my artwork.

Who or what inspires you most?

I am inspired by other artists both past and present.  The artists of the 19th century are the most inspiring to me.  The variety of styles and themes out of Europe, America and Asia during that time is incredible and definitely what I consider the "Golden Age" of art. I am also inspired by the city of Kyoto, Japan, where I currently live.  As the former capital of Japan and the center of traditional Japanese crafts, Kyoto is beautiful and one of my favorite cities in the world.  The city is beaming with artists that take great pride and discipline in their craft and always consider themselves students of their art, even into old age.  A simple bike ride through the city is enough to make me want to begin a new piece.

Katsutomo Tonal Study
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

In my studio, I usually like to work on a couple of paintings at a time, but sometimes I get distracted and excited about a new painting and become uninterested in finishing older pieces.  Procrastination for me looks like 10 or more unfinished paintings collecting dust that I "hope" to finish one day and end up piling up in the corner of the room.

What techniques work to ensure that you make time for your art?

My studio is in my home, so I realized a long time ago that I needed to be disciplined and adhere to a schedule for creating art.  Trying to go about my day and squeezing in art here and there wasn't working for me and I found that I couldn't focus and my artwork would suffer. My daily schedule isn't super strict, but it does consist of setting a routine in the morning, afternoon and evenings for marketing, creating art, downtime, grocery shopping, etc.   My wife and I now have a baby, so a daily schedule is more important than ever!


Gion Shirakawa
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I paint what inspires me and I am particularly fascinated with world cultures. I love painting exotic people and places that I've encountered during my travels.  Flipping through art books or going to a gallery is a great way to get ideas for compositions and themes.  Listening to music also gives me ideas about the kind of mood I want a painting to have.    

How do you keep art "fresh?" What techniques have helped you avoid burnout and keep your work vibrant and engaging?

The questions I ask before starting a new piece have always been: "Is this interesting?" and "Would I hang this in my house?"  If I'm not excited about a new painting I'm working on then I can't imagine how someone else could be.  Plus, if I I am not excited at the beginning stages of a painting, then chances are I'll get bored and never finish the piece. I try and complete my paintings fairly quickly to avoid getting bored. For small pieces I try finishing "alla prima" and for larger pieces I try to finish in a few days.  Looking through a collection of my own work also helps me see when I am just repeating myself and need to change themes, compositions, styles, color schemes, mediums, etc.

Heian Dance
(click to view)

What do you feel you are learning about right now as an artist?

I am trying to learn more about the Japanese philosophy of art.  Studying Japanese art has definitely influenced my work as I try and combine a Western painting style with Eastern themes.  "Wabi sabi" is an important aspect of Japanese aesthetics and deals with asymmetry, imperfection and simplicity. It is applied to many areas of Japanese arts and I hope to incorporate more of that philosophy into my work.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I love the idea of my paintings hanging in homes around the world. The ultimate compliment is when someone purchases a piece or several pieces of art from me. No matter how many paintings I sell, I will always be honored and extremely grateful when someone decides to choose my artwork to hang in their home or give to a friend.  It makes me happiest when a vision of mine can be conveyed onto canvas and then appreciated for many years.

Thanks, Phil!

© 2016 Sophie Marine

Thursday, July 14, 2016

DPW Spotlight Interview: Arti Chauhan

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings.

To enter to win Arti's painting, "Grey and White Finches" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Arti's DPW Gallery:

I am a self taught artist from India, now living in the United Kingdom. I love to paint all things living - be it people, animals or birds. Watercolor is my favorite medium but I love to experiment with my work. Previously having worked as an animator for two decades, now I am enjoying my life as a full time artist. Painting has given a meaning to my life, I can not imagine a day without painting. I hope you find joy in my art, too. (click to view gallery)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I have been an artist for as long as I remember. My first memory is being a student in the third grade, drawing faces and figures on the back of my notebook. With years, I came to understand the concept of portraits, and with some encouragement from my mom, I kept drawing more and more; mostly copying from magazines and newspapers. Painting came much later, when I was in high school. I remember not being at ease with watercolours initially. Oils suited my temperament better as I liked to paint in detail – for many years I only used Oil and Pencil.

Did you have any stops and starts in your painting career?

Art has had a constant presence in my life - whether as a hobby or my job as a computer animator and illustrator. But my career as a professional artist took off only about five years ago when I moved to the United Kingdom from India. I met the head of our local art centre on my second day in the UK, showed him my work and asked for his opinion. He was kind enough to offer me a place to exhibit my works. Encouraged by my first exhibition in 2011, I decided to devote all my time to art and I haven’t looked back since. At times it is tough to depend on art as a career, but I have been fortunate to have my animal and wildlife paintings find buyers all over the globe.

Grey and White Finches
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

Graphite pencils, pastel, oils, acrylics, watercolours - I have experimented with almost every medium. Initially, I used to do only figurative works and portraits which were detail oriented and realistic. In recent years, I have experimented more with impressionism, painting ‘loose’ and being less focused on realism. It works well for my animal paintings. It started with my first elephant artwork, which I quite enjoyed painting. It was greatly appreciated and I believe it was the first painting that I sold online. It paved the way for many, many more and while I still love painting animals, detail oriented work such portraits are still not completely out of the picture.

Which ones have "stuck" and which ones have fallen away?

Watercolour is the medium that has got me hooked completely. I love the spontaneity, transparency and vibrancy of this medium. I am not working in pencils so much as I did earlier in my career. I think it has to do with the fact that I am no longer interested in creating hyper-realistic art. I would rather create a painting that evokes some emotion rather than a carbon copy of life.

A Happy Day Donkey
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I would like to explore acrylics and oils once again very soon, using different techniques. I would also like to paint landscapes and cityscapes someday, perhaps indulge in plain air painting.

Who or what inspires you most?

I find my inspiration in nature and its creations. “Life” is the theme of my paintings, be it human face, figures or animals. Anything that lives, breathes and moves can become my subject. Even when I am painting abstracts, the theme revolves around nature - the sky, clouds, water, etc. When I feel uninspired, I browse through the works of other contemporary artists, who are working in the same media and genre as I am. Seeing work that is brilliant often inspires me to create brilliant artwork of my own.

Watchful the Emu
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

I rarely fall victim to procrastination - mornings are a time I keep aside exclusively for painting and I follow this routine religiously. Still, sometimes I feel burnt out from a lack of change. I tackle this by taking a day off from painting, catch up on some reading and other chores and come back when I am refreshed.

What techniques work to ensure that you make time for your art?

I make it a point to paint for a few hours every day. I plan my day so that all the household tasks are taken care of before ten in the morning and I am free to spend next few hours with my paints. I would take a break now and then, do a bit of housework in between and that breaks the monotony of the day. Taking a walk mid-day often rejuvenates me as I work alone most of the time. I keep my late evenings to manage my website, blog and social media.

Umber Stripes Zebra
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I work mostly from photographs or memory. A visit to India often produces some great reference photographs for my portraits. For my animal paintings, I visit local National parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries frequently. These pictures are then my inspiration once I am back in my studio. I have a huge database of reference pictures and I would go through it all, waiting for the moment when something jumps out at me!

Sometimes people write to me and make suggestions about what they would like me to paint and that points me to new direction. Funnily enough, at times I do find some obscure ideas floating around in my head when I am half awake – usually between 5 and 6 in the morning; about what I am going to do that day. I cling on to them until it’s time to actually sit down and paint and it has actually led to a few beautiful paintings.

How do you keep art "fresh?" What techniques have helped you avoid burnout and keep your work vibrant and engaging?

Watercolour is a medium that is fresh and spontaneous. My watercolour paintings tend to be quick so it does not get tedious. Still, I like to change track every now and then. Painting an acrylic or dabbling in pastels is just the way to see things in new perspective. Each Arti Chauhan medium behaves differently so you have to snap out of your comfort zone and take a different approach with each of them.

Purple Mist
(click to view)

What do you feel you are learning about right now as an artist?

As a self-taught artist, I have to keep learning constantly. I like to experiment with new techniques and mediums all the time. At the moment I am reading up on oils, hoping to produce a new body of work soon.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I wouldn’t be painting if it did not give me happiness. The process of creating art is what makes me happy. I am even happier when I share my work with the world and people get in touch to say how much they like my art. To be able to sell my work is just the cherry on top!

Thanks, Arti!

© 2016 Sophie Marine

Thursday, July 7, 2016

DPW Spotlight Interview: Connie McLennan

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings.

To enter to win Connie's painting, "Gerbera Quartet" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Connie's DPW Gallery:

After graduating with a BA in journalism, I studied illustration at San Francisco's Academy of Art. With thirty years of advertising and children's books behind me, I am a "recovering illustrator"--concentrating on painting and still a work-in-progress. Because of my background, I began as a realist, but I admire and am moving toward more painterly impressionism. I have been blogging my paintings sporadically since 2007 and joined DPW in November, 2012. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

After receiving a BA in journalism and attending art school, I freelanced as an illustrator. I took occasional painting workshops and dabbled in “daily painting,” but for a long time my only goal was to become a better illustrator. I never aspired to paint exclusively until my advertising work finally succumbed to the digital age, and I lost interest in illustrating more children’s books. In 2010, a series of classes with impressionist Don Hatfield opened my eyes to a painting approach that inspired me to paint more seriously.

Gerbera Quartet
(click to view)

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

Did you have any stops and starts in your painting career?

Life has thrown me some major curves, with interruptions lasting days to months; but art--sometimes a solace, sometimes a frustration--has always been part of my identity, and I have never been away from visual expression of some sort for long.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

Depending on the assignment, I have used graphite, charcoal, colored pencil, pastel, scratchboard, gouache, watercolor, dyes, acrylic, and oil.

Merriam's Chipmunk
(click to view)

Which ones have "stuck" and which ones have fallen away?

For painting, oils provide everything I need.

Who or what inspires you most?

Historic and contemporary California impressionists inspire me, but an assignment, goal or deadline is still my most effective motivator.

Winter Hills, Monterey County
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Like many women, I have always put family concerns first. As other artists have noted, perfectionism--fear of failure or mistakes--causes procrastination, and I probably spend too much time online.

What techniques work to ensure that you make time for your art?

Entering a competition, committing to a show or open studio, and feeling obliged to post more frequently on DPW are the surest ways to keep me at the easel.

Magnolia Buzz
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

For a while, I collected inexpensive vintage objects to pair with flowers or produce for still life. I look at other paintings and am intrigued by the architecture of trees. I travel short distances to photograph subjects, with the goal of painting more local vegetation and landscapes. In everything, I am most interested in the path of the light and in integrating and adjusting the local color to reflect my internal color sense.

What do you feel you are learning about right now as an artist?

Seeing and designing the masses, further developing my color sense, painting with less separation of color, and working more boldly and fearlessly are my lasting challenges. And I probably should work more on figures.

Late Afternoon, Pt. Lobos
(click to view)

What makes you happiest about your art?

For me, art has always been both work and play. To paraphrase various writers, sometimes I hate painting, but I love “having painted.” I like solving a problem or seeing progress. After working commercially for so long, I appreciate the freedom of choosing what and how I paint and am endlessly gratified by sales of work whose sole purpose is someone’s enjoyment.

Thanks, Connie!

© 2016 Sophie Marine

Thursday, June 30, 2016

DPW Spotlight Interview: Jessica Green

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings.

To enter to win Jessica's painting, "Backyard I" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Jessica's DPW Gallery:

I find joy in creating beauitful works of art; it is a refreshing and life-giving process. I love color and visible, vibrant brushstrokes. Thanks for visiting my Daily Paintworks Gallery, it's a joy for me to be a part of this community of artists! :)

My professional background is in art education and I worked full-time as an elementary art teacher (best job ever!) for seven years. I was laid off in 2011 due to budget cuts in my school district. It was hard to leave my students and a job that I loved, but that situation has actually been a blessing in hindsight as I've seen God provide new opportunities for me since that time! (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I went to college to become an art teacher and through that training was exposed to lots of art mediums and processes. After about eight years of being an elementary art teacher, I stopped working full-time to be at home with my two young children. It was around that time that I discovered the daily painting movement. I was attracted to the promise of growing my skills by painting frequently and on small surfaces. In 2013, I started my DPW journey with my goal of painting 500 paintings and also launched my blog which would chronicle my progress and growth along the way.


Backyard I
(click to view)

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

Did you have any stops and starts in your painting career?

Finding time each week to paint is still sometimes a challenge for me. I teach art classes for children throughout the year and run art camps in the summer. I am also starting the adventure of homeschooling my two kids… so finding time to fit all of this in along with painting is tricky for sure. There are a few months of the year where my teaching commitments are less and I try to maximize those times with lots and lots of painting!

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

As an art teacher, I’ve been able to experiment with a variety of art materials. I started off painting with acrylic paints in college and the years following, but then transitioned to oils. I’ve always been drawn to Post Impressionism with its bright colors and brushstrokes. I also love subjects that are easy to relate to such as landscapes and still lifes.

Decisions
(
click to view)

Which ones have "stuck" and which ones have fallen away?

I like the easy clean-up of acrylics, and I still use them when leading painting classes. However, oils have won me over for the long haul due to their vibrancy, sheen, and ability to blend.

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

Someday, I’d like to try pastels in plein air and also some abstract encaustic wax work… but I feel like my hands are pretty full at the moment, maybe next decade!

Mark from Above
(
click to view)

Who or what inspires you most?

I am inspired by paintings where the artist has a keen understanding of warm/cool colors, can nail values, and has fresh and fun brushwork. Carol Marine was one of the first artists I came across who had this effect on me. Some of my other favorites include: Troy Kilgore, Hollie Storlie, Liz Mullens, and Donna Shortt.

What techniques work to ensure that you make time for your art?

Scheduling set times during each week where my husband or my parents can watch the kiddos so that I can have some quiet space to paint. Also setting goals has really helped. I participated in the ‘30 Paintings in 30 Days’ challenge this past January and that really helped me get a lot done. I was posting each day on my social media outlets, so I had the accountability/pressure not to quit which really helped me push through.

Marina
(
click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I generally use everyday landscapes that I observe everyday while driving around in the car. We live in Indianapolis and are only 15 minutes away from downtown. By driving the opposite direction, we are about 15 minutes to country fields… I enjoy the variety of urban and rural inspiration. I also am drawn to color and shapes from subjects like produce and flowers for my still life pieces.

How do you keep art "fresh?" What techniques have helped you avoid burnout and keep your work vibrant and engaging?

Aiming to have most all of my pieces done alla prima (completed all in one session), which helps me not to overwork my paintings.  I also gather a lot of inspiration from artists that I follow on Instagram and they give me ideas on directions I can experiment with in my own style.
Trader's Tulips
(
click to view)


What makes you happiest about your art?

For me, painting is like speaking a language and exercising a muscle. It feels great to exercise a gift that I’ve been given, to translate a beautiful scene or subject with my own voice or style. After I’m done with a painting, it’s satisfying to stand back and see the results; it keeps me coming back for more!

Thanks, Jessica!

© 2016 Sophie Marine