Thursday, September 29, 2016

DPW Spotlight Interview: Martha Lever

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

To enter to win Martha's painting, "Orange You Glad I'm Pink" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Martha's DPW Gallery:

Hi... My name is Martha Lever and I'm from Jacksonville, FL. I have been an artist for thirty-two years, I started off as a calligrapher and through the years I developed into a lettering artist and designer. I have studied with many world-renowned calligrapher teachers including the calligrapher to the Vatican as well as with several teachers who are contributors of the St. John’s Bible Project. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

My art journey began about thirty-four years ago with my first calligraphy class. I love lettering and decided to pursue this art and find the best teachers. I studied with many wonderful calligraphers and soon started to paint backgrounds and images to go with the quotes I had written. Gouache is the medium I used to letter in color therefore mixing colors early on was something that I had to learn. This mixing of colors and adding images to my lettering eventually led to a progression of painting with watercolor, acrylics, and oils.

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

Yes, I have had a few stops (mostly slowdowns actually) in my painting career, but usually those stops were moving me in another direction with a new medium. About three or four years into my oil painting career, I experienced a block so severe that I didn’t know if I would ever paint again. Nothing profound caused this block although the naysayer monkey on my back and my inner critic probably were partly to blame.

Many months went by and I began to pull out of it when I took an oil painting workshop from Dee Beard Dean in St. Simons, GA. Also in Carol Marine’s book, “Daily Painting,” she included a section on blocked painters which made me see that this happens to even the best of painters.

Orange You Glad I'm Pink
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I love experimenting with different mediums and have enjoyed them all, but I currently love oil painting and can never see myself leaving that. I enjoy gouache because even though it’s a watercolor, you can layer the colors, even lights over dark. This is a great way for me to paint a thumbnail to plan out an oil painting. I also love transparent watercolors and acrylics. Before I started using oils, I was heavily into the mixed media genre and stayed there for many years. I have also dabbled in encaustics and watercolor batiks.

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

I really do think that my first love will always be lettering and calligraphy. I letter all the time and recently addressed all of my son’s wedding invitations. That was a labor of love for sure. I probably won’t pursue encaustics, so I can safely say that one fell away actually before it got started. I still use acrylics quite often and also watercolors. So, I can’t say that any one of those have fallen completely away.

Not So Mellow Yellow
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

When you are immersed in the mixed media world, there are many mediums that lend itself to this genre. So at some point or other, I have probably tried most of them, except for pastels. I have seen some beautiful work by pastel artists, so maybe pastels is something that I will one day explore.

Who or what inspires you most?

Oh my, there are so many people that have inspired me along the way in every genre I have been through. It would take up several paragraphs to name the people that have influenced me the most, but I will name a few from my current oil painting career. Carol Marine was the very first influence on me to start daily painting. I would stalk her endlessly and longingly devoured her daily paintings on her blog. I have never had the opportunity to take any of her workshops, but her book, Daily Painting, as I mentioned before, is one of the best out there.

I have also just returned from probably the best painting workshop I have ever taken from Melanie Morris called, “Fast and Furious Painting.” I also admire the works of Barbara Flowers, Trisha Adams and Maggie Siner. Then there are the Masters of course; Sargent, Van Gogh and Cezanne just to name a few. And for the “what” that inspires me, it’s seeing the beautiful paintings from these wonderful painters that inspires me.

Tulip Spray
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Procrastination takes on many forms for me. Usually it’s cruising Dick Blick or Cheap Joe’s for a new paint color or paintbrush that I definitely don’t need. Sometimes, it’s a complete reorganization of all my paints when I know that they will be quickly become unorganized again as I paint the next painting. Sometimes, it’s a cleanout of the art closet. Most of my procrastination is art related which must be my unconscious, distorted way of minimizing my guilt for not painting.

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

Throughout the years, these techniques have changed. At the moment, this is the technique that seems to be working for me: the last thing I do for the day before I go to bed is set up a still with the flowers I have bought that day from the local market. I plan the size of canvas I will use and draw it out with charcoal ready for the next day’s painting. I have a terrible time leaving it there because I want to jump in and paint it. But, if I did that my creative adrenalin would start flowing and I would be up until all hours. So, I let it be and go to bed looking forward to painting that still life the next morning.

Blue and Beautiful
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I would like to say that I walk around in nature and look for beautiful things that inspire me to paint, but I must admit that I don’t like bugs, heat, cold or carrying heavy things. In other words, I don’t plein air paint. In the beginning, when I started with oils, I would spend hours on the internet just trying to develop different ideas that I might like to paint. At first, I only painted from photographs that either I had taken or I had found from the “Paint My Photo” copyright free site. But lately, the beautiful flowers that I buy and set up in my studio have inspired me more than anything.

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

Oh my, keeping it fresh, vibrant and engaging! Therein lies the challenge for any daily painter for sure. Overworking and fiddling too much with my paintings are the biggest hindrance in retaining the freshness and vibrancy of a painting. I know when I am overworking and sometimes I have to say to myself, “Put the brush down and back away slowly.” Lately, to avoid burnout, I have been giving myself a time limit of about an hour to an hour and a half to complete the painting. If I hang in there too much longer than that, the painting and I both suffer.

I'm Going This Way
(click to view)

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

In keeping with the previous question, I feel that as I paint daily I am learning more and more how to keep it fresh with vibrant colors, better values and shapes that read correctly. It’s a process and a journey but one that is really fun.

What makes you happiest about your art?

To answer this question, I have to refer to a book that made a great impression on me called, “Outliers, The Story of Success” by Malcolm Gladwell. In his book he sites many interesting people who are successful because of one thing—they have put in their ten thousand hours (or ten years) of study and practice to become the masters of their craft.

The happiest thing for me now is that I can see that my paintings have taken a turn for the better. I am happier when I paint; I am more confident when I paint and goodness gracious—I am enjoying it! I have experienced a few years of agony and ecstasy in learning this art of oil painting, but I might be about half way in on my ten thousand hours and maybe, just maybe, I will continue this journey of daily painting and get to be an Outlier! That would be ecstasy for sure!

Thanks, Martha!

© 2016 Sophie Marine

Thursday, September 22, 2016

DPW Spotlight Interview: Mary Jabens

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

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

From Mary's DPW Gallery:

I love living in Southern Utah! We have desert, mountains and all four seasons is my description to people who ask. The diversity in what to paint each day can take several minutes to decide: red rocks, trees, big vistas, close up to mother nature, it is endless. And when my dog, Max, comes along, it makes an even better way to spend the day! Of course, he is in training regarding patience in painting in one spot for awhile!! (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I started with crayons when I was little and kept going! During an illness when I was younger, my mom bought me my first set of paints/brushes and lessons. I was hooked forever. Later in life, a friend interested me in painting outdoors (plein air). I immediately knew this was a perfect match for me.

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

Yes, I think all creative souls have the “ebb and flow” of art. Creating has always been a healing mechanism for me so that makes it even more personal. I moved a lot based on my husband’s work. That brought many new places to see. Some of these moves inspired me and some not so much. When I just couldn’t paint, I spent my time absorbing art and finding my way. I think I will always have starts and stops, it is part of my life’s rhythm.

Sunlight in the Canyon
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I paint in oils now but have done watercolor, acrylic, pen and ink, and colored pencils. I am an impressionist painter in oils/watercolor and more of a realist in the pen/pencils. There are so many mediums to delve into, I have to stay focused or I would be hopping from one to another and never accomplish anything!

Which ones have stuck and which ones have fallen away?

Oils stuck with me since that first childhood lesson. I may have used other mediums along the way but oils were my love. I tried acrylics, just never made a connection with them. I would probably do more watercolors if I didn’t have to plan so much. I like to let my mind wander when painting and watercolor is not receptive to that path!

Rain in the Vallery - Silver Ree
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I am intrigued by encaustic, gauche and fiber media. I took a bookmaking workshop that was astounding. The possibilities of combining found objects and created art at the same time is endless.

Who or what inspires you most?

I have several close friends who are my mentors/friends and crazy painting buddies. They, along with past friends/mentors, let me see their world as they see it through their mediums and that is incredible. With today’s media access to art, I am inspired daily by new artists and their work, many I would never have known about if it weren’t for the internet. Growing up in Montana I have always loved Edgar Payne, Thomas Moran, Charlie Russell and way too many others to list. I am in awe of Jill Carver, Mark Bodges, Brian Blood, Scott Christensen and Tibor Nagy.

Morning Sunshine and Mountain Daisies
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

I worry too much about everything to be a successful procrastinator. I drive myself crazy making sure my commitments are done ahead of schedule… well maybe except for housework!

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

I work full time so painting time is always a challenge. Since my husband died I am in a whole new world. It has taken me a bit to figure out how to keep my life going. His gift to me in the last few years was to handle much of homelife, freeing evening/weekend time to paint. It is a daily challenge to find that normalcy I had before. Now I tend to let my “other” responsibilities override my time for art. Knowing that of myself, I am learning to be selfish about painting. Defining what is important helps me put the guilt away and go paint! I find my emotions and state of mind are on a much more even keel when I paint often. That is the incentive now.

Spring in the Canyons
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Living in Southern Utah has endless subject matter. I start driving and am cognizant of “glimpses.” A quick shot of light or a shadow shape, these are my favorite. Color or combinations of colors that scream my name make me turn around to find them. When I need additional inspiration, I look through my photos and paintings reliving the thoughts and feelings at the time I was there.

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

That is a hard question. It is easy to fall in the pattern of repetition painting: scenes I have painted many times and require little input from me, just memory. To avoid this, I change up everything: places/subjects and time of day. I paint in every season and all types of weather. Color is a catalyst which spurs me to find new ways to express what I am seeing. I have a friend who loves to paint everything. He constantly pushes me to expand my painter’s mind and abilities.

Cedar Breaks - Spring Flowers
(click to view)

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

Seems like so much, my head is a jumble sometimes. Right now it would be edges. They are so elusive yet so important. I am also working on variation - light to dark, warm to cool in each object and the painting as a whole. Composition, and keeping the viewer’s eye moving throughout the painting.

What makes you the happiest about your art?

Setting up my gear and pushing paint makes me smile. I love it when a viewer’s comments are exactly what I was thinking and hoping to convey. Painting lets me focus on the process and set aside life’s issues for a little while. More importantly, painting heals me. It gives me an outlet for the negativity of the day and replaces it with hope and joy of life.

Thanks, Mary!

© 2016 Sophie Marine

Thursday, September 15, 2016

DPW Spotlight Interview: Rebecca Helton

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

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

From Rebecca's DPW Gallery:

Family, friends, faith, and now, finally, painting most days.

It's been a circuitous route! I can't remember not being interested in drawing and others' artwork, so I majored in studio art in college. However, my other great interest was science. The next 35 years were spent raising kids and with careers in medicine and biology. I loved browsing art museums, but I drew and painted only intermittently. I got back to it and received my MFA in 2009. I was fortunate to be able to teach both art and biology, but still crazy-busy! Finally, I'm back where I started, painting and sketching almost daily. Each day is a new beginning. A new day to see, to learn, to experiment, to struggle, and to enjoy the process. I'm blessed! (click to view gallery)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting. Did you have any stops and starts in your painting career?

I first started painting in high school and college, though not a lot. I majored in studio art, but was mostly interested in sculpture at the time. My career took me in a very different path, so I rarely painted for a very long while. I finally took it up again several years ago, but still, between work and family, it was quite intermittent. In January this year, I was able to start painting nearly daily. It took several months to get any skills back, and I started posting here on DPW in May.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I have worked in acrylics, oils, watercolors, and pastels. I've painted just about every genre at one time or another. Generally, though, my work is representational. Nonrepresentational work just doesn't feel like me.

Asparagus Adorned
(click to view)

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

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

Currently, I'm working almost exclusively in oils, with a pastel painting on occasion. At some point I'll probably work on some watercolor paintings again, but one thing at a time. I still have so much to learn about oils and just painting in general. One of my favorite quotes is by Winston Churchill. "When I get to heaven, I mean to spend a considerable portion of my first million years in painting, and so to get to the bottom of the subject." I haven't put in my first million years yet.

The past few months, I've been primarily doing still life paintings, along with a few landscapes and reworking some old photos. I'm really interested in landscape paintings right now, but most of those I've done so far have been trashed or wiped out (this is where you're supposed to laugh with me).

Egg and Silver
(click to view)

Who inspires you most?

This is difficult to answer – there are so very many wonderful painters. Currently, I'm really enjoying Catherine Kehoe, Tim Kennedy, David Roth, and several of the wonderful artists here on DPW! I never tire of looking at work by Euan Uglow, Richard Diebenkorn, Edouard Manet, Joaquin Sorolla, John Singer Sargent (particularly his works from the Middle East and North Africa), and so many others.

What does procrastination look like for you?

A fully-read book returned to the library.

By Tremaine Shelter
(click to view)

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

I do best with routine. I start painting shortly after my granddaughter leaves for school and stay at it until life interrupts. Some days it works out very well; other days not so great. I'm an artist, but like everyone, I also have a lot of other competing roles. Balancing is difficult, so I try not to get too obsessive about sticking to routine. On the other hand, I do manage to do at least something with painting nearly every day.

Blueberry Minions
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

It's corny and trite, but I really do get excited when I notice something different about the way light is hitting an object; when that happens, I want to share it. For me it generally starts with the purely visual. But sometimes as I work on a painting, I start seeing symbolism or a new meaning, which in turn may lead me to change the image. I occasionally discuss this in my blog and comments on DPW, but mostly leave it to the viewer to insert symbolism or just enjoy the visual concept.

Muriel and Mother, 1926
(click to view)

What makes you happiest about your art?

I tend to go through periods when very little seems to work out as I'm pushing to change a habit or learn something new. It feels like I'm just slogging through mud for a while, documenting my failures with a photo and then wiping them out. But when I finally do something I am happy with, whether because it turned out well or just that I really learned something, it's like hitting the lottery! It makes all that slogging surprisingly worthwhile.

Thanks, Rebecca!

© 2016 Sophie Marine

Thursday, September 8, 2016

DPW Spotlight Interview: Setsuko Lawson

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

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

From Setsuko's DPW Gallery:

I was born in Japan, but have been in US for almost 30 years. I try to paint a few paintings or drawings a week. It will be great if I can do a daily painting but when I have a daytime job, a few paintings a week are good to me. I love to take walk in neighboring parks and woods, and sketch or take photos for my future art works. When I encounter the great light or shadow effects, I will be excited and can not wait to start working with it. I also like to paint the still life, especially the transparent objects like porcelain, antique glass, and antique marbles. I simply enjoy creating images.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I was born and raised in Japan.  After I received my degree in American literature, I decided to improve my English by taking some courses in the United States. But, I did not like studying English in the classroom as a language any more. Since I always liked to paint and draw, but did not have many chances, I decided to take some art classes and experience the language among native English speakers. Unfortunately, I did not improve my English skills very much. On the bright side, I found out that I really like drawing and painting.

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

I did not ever totally stop painting, but I was not productive at all for decades. Probably because I was not happy with what I was doing, and was not eager to create new art works. Recently, I realized that I needed to paint and draw many images if I was ever to get anywhere artistically. Even if it meant creating many not wonderful works in order to improve. Every day now, I am striving to create better paintings. I know I am improving, and I am at point that I am very happy just holding a brush. Painting has become pleasurable for me now.

Bottles
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I usually switch between oil and acrylic. I have worked on many surfaces including canvas, paper, and different types of boards and panels.

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

Sometimes my paintings have compositional problems. If this is the case, I can put a painting away for a while. I know I can go back later and most likely find my compositional solutions. But if the painting does not have any charm in it, then I will not spend additional time to fix it, instead I will go on to a new one.  I have to feel that “spark” in my work to be completely satisfied.

Afternoon Shadow
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I like to work gold leaf into drawing.  Also, I am working more now with digital arts.

Who or what inspires you most?

There are so many contemporary, incredible artists. I am awed by many of them. I like to find the most comfortable chair in the bookstore and keep reading and looking at many artists’ works and their strategies. The magazines and books are my friends. My favorite masters I always go back to are George Inness, Ingres, Rembrandt, and also a Russian painter named Nicholas Anokhin.

Summer Evening
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

I am a queen of procrastination. Therefore, I do not give myself a chance to do it. After my husband goes to work around 6:30, I sit and start to work. That is it.


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

I do not have any techniques but my schedule helps. I usually teach the night classes at the nearby college so that I have just about all day for myself.

Old Glass Marbles
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

It is the hardest thing for me to decide what to paint next. I usually spend time taking photographs and keep them in the right categories. Later, I check them with a fresh eye and create the composition using Photoshop.

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

I try to add drama or some stories behind the image. It doesn't need to be anything big. It can be a contrast between values, textures, or shapes. Also, I like to switch the medium. Digital art especially gives me a new attitude toward image making.

Alice
(click to view)

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

I've learned a lot of techniques, skills, and theories. Now I am learning how to apply those wonderful things to my works.

What makes you happiest about your art?

These days painting and drawing has become therapeutic to me. If I can sit and work on my painting or drawing, I am a very happy person.

Thanks, Setsuko!

© 2016 Sophie Marine

Thursday, September 1, 2016

DPW Spotlight Interview: Christine Bayle

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

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

From Christine's DPW Gallery:

I live in Toulouse in South France. I love both plein air and studio practice, and above all drawing and sketching. Feel free to email if you have any questions.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I have no academic background. I started with drawing life models and my first training for painting was as a decorative painter.

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

I'm still a young painter (!) and wish to become a very old one (in many years...)

Dried Sunflowers
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I paint at home and therefore like to avoid smelling solvent. For a few years, I mostly used watermixable oils and acrylics. I love monoprinting too. When I sketch outdoors or from life I love to do experiments and combine all kinds of media like watercolor, graphite, crayola, pastel, ink, etc

From My Window
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I would explore any support or media that I come across.

Who or what inspires you most?

What is touching me the most in painting is more the emotional than the narrative part. However, I've never been attracted by pure abstraction. I need "something concrete" and based on observation.

Cat for Mural Painting
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Sometimes I feel right from the first brushstrokes that nothing good will happen and I need to clean my mind until the next day.

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

I always have all my material ready to use which allows quick installation (including a box keeping paints fresh, and all supplies stored in a sketchbox.) I also never go out without a sketchbook so I never loose an opportunity to practice (even in a traffic jam or waiting rooms!)

Entrance Room, Morning
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Mostly, from everyday life, people, landscape and animals around me. Sketching is a great resource and I have many thumbnails patiently waiting, or sometimes written descriptions. I find that the more I paint, the more ideas I have.

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

I rediscovered the possibilities of acrylics recently which is helping me to clean and affîrm my color choices. I think painting should never be boring; if it starts to become so, I go outside for a walk.

Sweet Story
(click to view)

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

Most difficult is to remain self confident. I remind myself that nothing is permanent.

What makes you happiest about your art?

Sometimes when I put a patch of color next to another and both work perfectly together, I feel like life is worth living!

Thanks, Christine!

© 2016 Sophie Marine

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