Thursday, July 13, 2017

DPW Spotlight Interview: Debbie Miller

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

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

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

From my early passion for coloring books and pot-holder weaving, I was always interested in creativity.  I was a big “dabbler” – knitting, cross-stitch, art quilting, mosaics, visual journaling, hand-built pottery, block printing, mixed media – you name it, I’ve probably tried it or dreamed about trying it.  But I was gun-shy about painting.

Except for the elementary years, I never took a formal art class in school. I didn’t know how to draw, and I felt intimidated about proportion, perspective, shading and color mixing.  My husband, Brian, who is now my daily painting partner, was an art school graduate, so I Ieft the “serious art” to him. But I was in my mid-50s, feeling creatively stagnant, and wanting to invest in that part of my life more fully.  So, we started taking online painting and mixed media classes, and eventually discovered Donna Downey Studios in Huntersville, NC.  Donna -- a talented painter in her own right -- has a vibrant following of online art students, and she offers intensive workshops featuring artists from around the world.  These workshops were so life-giving and inspiring, that we committed to going several times a year to learn, get re-energized, and have fun with other creatives.

In March 2016, Donna hosted a workshop with Lisa Daria Kennedy (one of DPW’s daily painters).  Lisa taught us her style of painting abstract florals.  But more significantly, she talked about the value of daily painting, the beauty of making your creative mark in the world every day, and the benefits of generating a large body of work for helping develop your personal style.  Brian and I were hooked.  Even though my first paintings were woeful, I caught the vision.  We went home and started a ritual of waking up at 5am, painting before breakfast, and putting our art out there on DPW, Instagram, and FaceBook.  It is probably one of the best decisions we ever made.

We are now rapidly approaching our 500th consecutive day of completing a small painting, each day, no matter what, rain or shine.  Now, I consider myself a painter.  Who knew? It’s never too late! And, if you do something every day, you get better at it.  I’m a living testament to that fact.


Slice of Life
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

In terms of mediums, I mainly paint in acrylic, but I hope to transition to oils after I get a little more practice.  I am also still a huge fan of mixed media.  I haven’t been doing it as much in the past year, but I love the look and feel of mixed media artwork, especially incorporating vintage papers and line work with graphite and crayons.

As far as genres go, my first love was impressionistic abstracted florals – and you know what they say, “you gotta dance with the one that brought you.”  So, I continue to paint florals as a staple, but I have also discovered a passion for painting vintage dresses, especially styles from the 1950s.  My dress paintings were motivated, in part, by a feeling of nostalgia for an era of civility and manners (in contrast to what I was encountering in the daily news cycle).  And they seem to stir feelings of longing and memory in the viewer, too.  I am having so much fun combing through archives of photographs from pattern makers, designers and fashion magazines.  And I love hearing stories from people about their their prom dresses, memories of watching their mother get dressed up, or what draws them to love mid-century images.  I feel like it’s given me a connection point with others, which is so meaningful to me.

Afloat
(click to view)

Who or what inspires you most?

I guess that I am most inspired by passion and story.  When I’m not at my easel, I work as a professional mental health counselor, journeying with adults who are dealing with relational challenges or recovering from emotional, physical or spiritual abuse.  As a soul-care provider, I am deeply moved by both the fragility and the resilience of the human heart; and I think that makes me particularly drawn to artists who reveal some of their own authentic stories in their work or their public persona.

I’m just blown away by the passion of artists out there who are parents, squeezing in a few strokes on a painting in between nap times and laundry. Artists who work at all kinds of other jobs to pay the bills and get health insurance, but still manage to make space in their worlds for their creative endeavors.  Late-bloomers, like myself, who grew weary of art-making and finally took the leap of faith into creative self-expression.  Artists who have honed their craft through dedication and practice and keep showing up to the lifelong dance of being and doing art, overcoming resistance again and again.  Activists who use their art and influence to take on issues and make a stand for their beliefs.  Brave souls who come to art as a pathway of healing.  Their stories, their energy…it makes me want to be brave and faithful and use my art for good in the world.

Who's There?
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

I used to be the Queen of Procrastination -- especially when my perfectionism was in full gear.  The interior dialogue would go something like this: “I have to do this right (i.e., perfectly).  I’m not prepared enough to do it perfectly today, so maybe tomorrow I will have the energy to be perfect.”  But tomorrow would come, and “I still can’t tackle perfect, so it would probably be best to wait. I’ll be more inspired tomorrow.”  And that game could go on for quite some time, until a crisis or a deadline loomed.  Then I would just have to get it done, and I could tell myself “Of course it’s not perfect, not your best work, because you didn’t have time to do it perfectly.  Next time… next time you’ll just have to try harder.”

It was a horrible hamster wheel of fear, shame, and self-loathing.
But my daily painting routine has taken the pressure of perfectionism off my shoulders.  I paint every day, no matter what.  So, if I don’t love my painting today, it’s okay.  Because tomorrow will be another day, and I get a fresh start.  This daily-ness has really helped me wean off procrastination as a lifestyle.  In fact, I don’t even like to delay painting until the afternoon or evening, because the energy feels different.  So, I find myself waking up, wanting to paint, and willing to make the sacrifices needed to make that happen.  Let me tell you – this kind of resolve is new for me!  And it’s leaking into other areas of my life, too.  Go figure. And hallelujah!

Earl Gray Morning
(click to view)

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

It helps to be married to my art-making bestie, who is equally committed to daily painting.  But we’ve also done some practical things:
We converted our family room into our art studio.  So now the thing that it most important to us takes up the most real estate in our home.
We create art goals for ourselves every 6 months, so we know our targets and milestones we need to work toward.
We have an artistic alliance with a friend.  We usually paint together at least one day each weekend, we text each other nearly every day to share our work and participate in an informal critique, and we hold each other accountable for staying on track with our goals.
This might seem like a minor thing, but it’s really been helpful to me: I use a stay-wet palette with a limited number of paint colors.  So, my paints are laid out and ready to go when I am.

All of these things help create mental and physical “space” for our art-making.

Love Grows
(click to view)

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

I think my art stays fresh because I am a life-long learner who also loves to teach.  For two years, we led a monthly art group for twelve people who wanted to be more creative and practice art in community.  We continue to do that on a smaller scale, and it’s always energizing to teach a technique or share a project idea with others and see what happens.  The act of teaching solidifies and opens us up simultaneously.

And every good teacher is a learner.  So, we continue to invest in our own artistic education by taking classes, trying new things, and spending time looking at art.  Instagram is a great, accessible, daily opportunity to feast on artwork.  But we also enjoy larger-scale art adventures.  For example, in August of this year, we will be taking a 4-day coastal landscape painting class in Cornwall, UK.  I have never done plein air painting, and I’ve never been happy with the landscapes I’ve attempted.  So this course will be an adventure.  The trip will also include sketching in the Portrait Gallery in London, a visit to the Tate in St. Ives, a day spent exploring the Royal Academy of Art’s annual summer exhibition, and a day at the British National Gallery’s modern wing.  I will also be studying about icons in Oxford University’s Summer Theology Programme.  It should be a rich and inspiring time.

I Will be Ready at Eight
(click to view)

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

Right now, I think I am learning the most about form and figure.  Through painting vintage dresses, I have had to develop a sense of how the fabric is affected by the body underneath.  In the past, I’ve avoided doing full-on figurative work because I’m very aware of all that I don’t know about anatomy.  But the figures have kind of sneaked up on me, because I want to capture a certain attitude, turn of the shoulder, posture that communicates something about the girl wearing the dress, even though I don’t typically paint their faces.

What makes you happiest about your art?

That I’m doing it! Seriously. It still makes me so happy that this is my life.  I get to wake up each day and paint.  I get to luxuriate in color and beauty.  There are people who have responded so favorably to my work and buy pieces from time to time.  How amazing is all of that?  And I get to do this with my amazing husband and a community of friends who inspire and delight me.  I wouldn’t trade this season of my life for anything.  I am very sensible of the reality that I am a blessed woman.  And I hope that I pass blessing along to others, as well.  There’s happy for you, right there.

Thanks, Debbie!

© 2017 Sophie Marine

Thursday, July 6, 2017

DPW Spotlight Interview: Kathy Broyles

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

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

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.


My background is in Graphic Design. About twelve years ago, I began to take some classes at the local Art Center. I explored acrylics, basic drawing, Chinese brush painting, figure drawing – whatever was being offered that interested me and would work with my schedule. I was raising five children, so there was not a lot of time to spare. As the years passed and the kids grew, I recognized that oil painting was the passion I wanted to pursue, but I was reluctant to voice my ambition for fear of failing. I asked artist friends to tell me about their journeys and watched as they persevered in practicing their craft. I knew I had to ignore the fear and jump in - I am happy that I did.

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

In the summer of 2009, I decided I wanted to paint full-time, so I quit my job (thank you, supportive husband!) I spent a productive year working in my home studio and in various workshops and classes. I still look back at the body of work from that time and think, “Wow!” After a year, I was called back to work and my studio time was cut. In the fall of 2013, work became full-time and time for painting dwindled to nil. Happily, I retired this past spring and am painting once more (thank you, husband, once again!)

Cherry Tomatoes
(click to view)

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

What have been some of the highlights of your career as an artist?

When I was working part-time, a ceramist friend and I began selling our work at the newly opened community Farmer’s Market. We enjoyed getting to know the farmers and the regulars, and marketing our artwork to a diverse audience – and we sold a lot, too! We quit when my job became full-time. I still miss the fun of it (but not the early morning set-up).

Another highlight was spending a perfect week in Provence painting under the tutelage of Atlanta artist Nancy Franke. What a wonderful experience it was to paint with an amazing artist in such a beautiful place. Local workshops with Lisa Daria Kennedy, Scott Conary and Lorraine Christie have been invaluable as well. I think the workshop experience is so beneficial. I feel concentrated time with the instructor and fellow artists ensures real growth for me.

Ranunculus
(click to view)

What mediums and genres have you experimented with? Which ones have "stuck" and which ones have fallen away?

I’ve worked in oil, acrylic and watercolor - and oil is what snagged me. I think it is the history of the medium in addition to the luscious feel and workability that keep me enthralled. The paintings I admire most are oils, so I want that connection with them.

I have explored many genres and find there is so much to learn from all practice. Painting a still life or floral each day, working at training the eye to really “see” is always helpful, so I come back to those. I do love landscapes, architecture, animals and don’t exclude any genre. I anticipate moving into more abstract work going forward.

Kiwis
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

“Place” is what I am excited about right now. A sense of place; a safe place; a place of my own; right place; wrong place; a place in time; out of place; in place – not really a genre, but an idea. I am moving into a studio space for the first time in late summer. It’s a new “place” for me, and I am looking forward to exploring that idea, literally and figuratively. I am really excited about the work ahead.

Who or what inspires you most?

I am motivated by the challenge. The challenge to express an idea, an image, a shadow on the board or canvas with the paint. The challenge to master a new subject, technique or perspective. Painting can be terribly frustrating, and yet so fulfilling. A painting can have a fantastic beginning that is so, so exciting, and next thing you know it’s a disaster. But I keep at it, and “trust the process” and work my way to the finish. The result may not always be a successful painting, but the reward is what I have learned during the process.

Eggshell
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Working in my home, it looks like going out into my vegetable garden in my back yard - pulling a few weeds, picking a few green beans, looking for the friendly water snake. I don’t see it as a negative, but as a time to refuel, to appreciate the beauty of creation. I imagine I will work longer stretches in the studio space, in the company of other artists, but I will still take the opportunity to step outside now and then.

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings? 

Sometimes I must fish for them, look around me and see what is there - or I will look through photos for inspiration. Other times, often while day or night dreaming, I will imagine a finished work. I’ll spend time figuring out how I will create it in my head. I can get so excited about executing it with that vision in place. I believe that some of my best work has been a result of this process.

Yellow Flowers
(click to view)

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

I am (re)learning the art of being a painter - I am learning what that looks like in this day, at this point in my life.

What makes you happiest about your art?

When I know that my work has brought joy to another, that makes me happiest. Whether someone purchases a painting or comments on it favorably, I know that it has touched them. I can remember as a child when someone would admire something I had created, I would feel a tingling up my spine and a perfect peace inside that I did not want to end. I want to recapture that blissful feeling of connecting with another person through my work. This, and the thrill of meeting the challenges each work presents, are what make painting so compelling and joyful for me.

Thanks, Kathy!

© 2017 Sophie Marine

Thursday, June 29, 2017

DPW Spotlight Interview: Jennifer Boswell

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

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

From Jennifer's DPW Gallery:

I am a contemporary impressionist oil painter and I practice painting nearly every day from direct observation, sketches, memory and imagination in Santa Barbara, California. I paint a wide range of subjects (abstracts, architecture or urban landscapes, cloudscapes, landscapes, seascapes and still lifes) because it keeps me interested and motivated. I want to creatively express the beauty around me and bring the sense of peace I experience while painting to everyone that sees the finished work. The practice of painting is truly therapeutic for me as I believe art is for the world. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

My first memory of painting was in kindergarten when I was standing at a table finger-painting. It was like the world fell away and I felt a sense of peace and knew painting was something I had to do.

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

Yes! After kindergarten, I had a gap until fourth grade and then I sketched and painted often until college where I obtained an Associate of Arts degree in Fine Art. At first, my plan was to get a B.A. in Art but I decided to switch to a nursing program and I obtained an R.N. Degree. Then, I married and had three children (not all at once!) which kept me very (happily) busy, but for the past twenty years, I've painted steadily and wholeheartedly in oils.

Last Summer
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

Oils, watercolors, acrylics and pastels. I experiment with abstract painting and figurative work (both are challenging for me).

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

I paint exclusively in oils at this time. My favorite things to paint are still lifes, urban landscapes, cloudscapes, landscapes, seascapes and animals (especially cows and dogs).

PB and J with Raspberry Jam
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I really admire the abstract expressionists and want to work more in that area.

Who or what inspires you most?

The works of Van Gogh, Monet, Cezanne, Edward Hopper and De Kooning and many more. Also, many current artists (many are on DPW!)

White Roses in Glass
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

If I'm doing laundry or organizing a closet or drawer, I'm probably procrastinating (my closets and drawers are quite messy!)

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

First, I write in a journal (the morning pages from "The Artist's Way") my goals and what I want or need to paint. I'll bring a post it note into the studio and work on those paintings unless I "feel" like painting a certain subject that often just "pops" into my mind!

Red Barn in Pennsylvania
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I sketch and take pictures when I'm plein air painting and develop more landscape paintings in the studio. When I'm driving around, I'll notice the light and shadow on a house and I'll come back another day to take pictures, sketch or paint it. I enjoy the DPW Challenge and entering contests which sometimes have a specific theme which makes me paint something I normally wouldn't.

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

I really like to start a painting and try to finish it quickly and then move on to something else. I think painting a variety of subjects and experimenting with abstracts helps somewhat.

Porch Window
(click to view)

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

To trust my intuition and when I feel the urge to paint something to act on it even if there are paintings on my "to do" list!

What makes you happiest about your art?

I have the opportunity to do what I love to do. That I can express myself through painting and the peace and serenity I feel as I paint might come through to the viewer.

Thanks, Jennifer!

© 2017 Sophie Marine

Thursday, June 22, 2017

DPW Spotlight Interview: Rhett Regina Owings

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

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

From Rhett's DPW Gallery:

Capturing the color and scenery around me is important to me. I love color and enjoy watching the colors mix on my palette and painting. I have painted in orchards, golf courses, wildlife land, gardens & parks, Gold Rush towns, Yosemite, along the coast and on farms in the Central Valley and in Salinas. My colors have accompanied me to Alaska, Yellowstone, Utah, Mexico, Canada and Europe. What a wonderful life I have led. Art is my life and I am happy to share it with you. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

My 2nd grade teacher gave us some finger paints to play with. I loved getting my hands and even my arms into that paint to play! I guess I must have made an impression, because the 3rd grade teacher in the next classroom saw my paintings and invited me to come to her class and show her students how to do it! That was my earliest memory of painting… and teaching art!

Later in High School, I took Art every year and was the President of the Art Club. I won the Bank of America Award for Art and that was very encouraging. I majored in Art in college, earning a teaching credential. Teaching Art at the junior high school level for thirty-two years consumed my life after that. Teaching rarely gave me time to create much art for my own pleasure and it wasn't until I retired in 1999 that I really dove into painting full time. I took a series of art workshops and lessons from well known artists and have been enjoying painting seriously ever since.

Nasturtiums
(click to view)

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

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

The biggest stop in my art career was the passing of my parents. They were collectors of antiques and amassed eighty-seven years worth of stuff. I have been spending eight years trying to find homes for all the things they collected. I am still dealing with it!

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I have been working in pastels since high school, but experimented with acrylics, watercolors and oils.  The last eighteen years or so, oils have been my main medium as I enjoy painting "en plain air" on location.  It is difficult to bring pastels on location, but I have done it. I worked in water colors for awhile, but truly oils are my favorite medium. Water based oils have really captured my attention now as they are so much safer and I love them.

I have also been experimenting with just pen and ink adding white conté crayons or ink making small ACEO paintings & drawings. The new acrylic inks are fascinating too. And I have invested in the new Pan Pastels which are so interesting.

Early Morning Walk
(click to view)

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

Water based oils are my first choice of media for sure, but I am enjoying re-discovering pastels again after setting them aside for awhile. I find watercolor to be very challenging and I admire other artists who are able to create such beautiful pieces using this media. I do play with it now and then and it is nice to bring on vacation and I also work with them in my car when the weather is bad.

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I really want to explore acrylics using mixed media techniques. It is fun to play with stencils, sponges, stamps and just plain colors. I just need time to play.

I also want to explore using my new Pan Pastels. I have taken some of my old pastel paintings and even old watercolor paintings and added the Pan Pastels on top. They are amazing for adding another dimension.

Sleeping Kitty
(click to view)

Are there any subjects you find challenging?

Roses! I love roses, but I find them so difficult to capture their delicate petals and beauty. I admire Daniel Keys and his amazing flower paintings.

Who or what inspires you most?

Painting landscapes on location is really the best way to see color and I try to do it whenever I can. It is a challenge to figure out how to pick and choose what to add and leave out of a scene and make a good composition. I have invested in all the plein air equipment and am pretty much ready to run to a location to paint with my friends or by myself. The beautiful California coast, our central California farmland, the magnificent Sierra Mountains… they all give me the itch to paint. It is wonderful to be outdoors, feel the breeze, hear the birds sing and watch the waves crash on the beach. I look for color, strong shadow patterns, diagonal lines, ways to lead the viewer into the painting and a way to tell a story with my art.

When the weather does not cooperate or I can not leave the house, I love being in my studio. I set up still lifes, pick flowers, look for fun stuff to paint as well as search through my thousands of photos for inspiration. Carol Marine's book: Daily Painting has been a game changer for me. I love painting small and often.

I just finished reading Lust for Life about Vincent van Gogh. What an inspiring artist he was! He had many problems, but he was truly an amazing artist. His passion for painting makes me want to continue struggling with my own painting. I also admire the work of Monet, many contemporary artists and other DPW artists.

Spring Color in Pacific Grove
(click to view)

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

I try to get my housework and other chores done first so I can spend time in my studio. It is amazing how life gets in the way when I want to paint.

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

I love going to art museums and art galleries. There is nothing like seeing art in person. I also enjoy taking workshops from other artists, watching videos and checking Pinterest for ideas. Being with other artists and painting together helps keeping me going and there is nothing like selling a piece to inspire me to keep trying.

English Lavender
(click to view)

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

I have been enjoying working in a series. I find painting the same subject over and over in various ways and angles improves my skills and inspires creativity. I have not painted many figures in my work so I am practicing ways to add them as well as birds to my paintings. I am also working on making my brushwork more loose and light. I also am trying find ways to add more atmosphere to my landscapes. I love the DVDs of New Zealand artist Richard Robinson. He is such a good teacher and I have learned so much from him.

What makes you happiest about your art?

There is nothing that gives me that happy dance feeling more than selling a painting! It is like getting a blue ribbon! It says someone out there likes my work enough to pay money for it! It says all my hard work has paid off and someone out there is now enjoying my work and I can move on to new and greater things!

When I am painting, I am in another world and all the cares of the world float away. I am in a world where I am solving problems and making decisions. What color does that need? How do I make this or that work? Does your eye go into the painting and move around?  Does it speak to someone or bring them fond memories? What is the best way to frame it? And after spending twenty-plus years practicing, does this painting work? What can I do to make it better? I love taking old paintings and re-working them. My style and skill has improved so much and it is fun to see the old painting bloom! I wonder what a painting I do today will look to me in another ten years of practice and how would I improve it then? I am always learning.

Thanks, Rhett!

© 2017 Sophie Marine

Thursday, June 15, 2017

DPW Spotlight Interview: Cathy Boyd

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, "The Point in Summer" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.


Tell us a bit how you first started painting.

My first career out of school was teaching in the elementary school system.  The first few years, I taught French, but I longed to have a position with a regular classroom, teaching all subjects.  So, when the opportunity arose for that, I was pleased, but it also meant I would be teaching art on a rotary basis to the senior students.  Not knowing anything about art, the school board enrolled me in a summer session at an art college in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  I was introduced to a broad selection of art subjects, from life drawing to painting to sculpture.  I loved it and that was the impetus for many years of art making to date.

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

I never looked back once I began painting.  I've painted every spare moment I could find, juggling a full time career as a teacher and then a real estate agent, a chronically ill husband and all the while keeping a household in semi-order.  At night, I thought, I'll just paint for an hour, and without knowing, hours would have passed.  Sleeping was difficult as I continued to resolve my painting whilst trying to get a few hours of sleep.  So, with each passing year, and steadily increasing the amount of time spent on my art, I was able to always maintain a generous amount of paintings in my inventory.  I am a very quick painter, and one would say I'm “prolific”.  I believe painting quickly keeps your paintings fresh and loose.  I teach a class periodically called “Fast and Furious, 27 minute paintings”. Using a stopwatch, the students are asked to complete a fully developed painting in 27 minutes.  This is a great exercise to teach them to be more painterly, more loose in their execution.  I do this myself, and can create a nice size body of work in a relatively short time, so my inventory is never a problem.

The Point in Summer
(click to view)

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 originally started out as a pastellist, and used that medium for five or six years.  I took some weekend art workshops from a local artist and loved the immediacy of the pastels, the rich colours, and the versatility of them.  I found I could create soft, sensitive paintings with them and yet also create more saturated, dynamic paintings with them as well.  The only drawback was that it wasn't very easy to create pieces that were very large.  Anything larger than a full sheet was impractical.  The glass and matting was expensive.  These paintings were often going into large expensive cottages, with walls of big windows and the glare on them would often mean the client couldn't see the painting well in the sunlit room.

Bee Balm for Betty
(click to view)

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

When I made the decision to switch to oils, my painting style changed and I began to get a different set of comments from my clients.  My pastel paintings had evoked comments like, “your paintings make me feel so calm, so peaceful”.  The comments I got from from my oil paintings were, “I love your use of colour.”  To this day, that seems to be the most repeated comment.

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

At this point in time, I don't foresee changing my medium.  Oil provides me with everything I need.  I have tried painting on different supports however.  Occasionally, I will paint on birch panels, or Terra-skin, and I would like to try painting on aluminum.

Undiscovered
(click to view)

Who or what inspires you most?

Nature inspires me most.  Even if I wasn't a painter, I know that nature is my inspiration for painting.  When I watch a movie, for example, I am blown away by the background images I see.  A documentary of another country, or spectacular scenery of my own country makes me want to memorize that moment of beauty so that I can paint it, or something quite like it.  Of course, the lighting is all important, so that has a great bearing on what excites me.

What does procrastination look like for you?

Procrastination occurs in every facet of my life.  I love starting a new painting, and so it is common for me to have ten or more paintings that are “works in progress”.  Some have been put away for a year or two, some are lined up and will be completed in the near future.  I love the blank white canvas, as it holds for me the opportunity that “this might be the most amazing painting I have ever done!”  In my daily life, my love of producing lots of paintings and spending eight hours a day on it, means that some daily chores get neglected.  Paperwork and errands sometimes get left undone, and only the most critical things get accomplished.  As a single woman, an empty nester, I can get away with that.

Dark Shoreline
(click to view)

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

I spend at least two hours each morning on social media and administrative tasks, then off I go to my gallery/studio to begin my day of greeting customers, and painting.  My gallery is one large, bright room filled with my own paintings and the back area of it is where I paint.  Customers enjoy seeing me paint, and I don't mind them watching.  Most weekdays I have one or two students in my studio and I paint while they do, so I can produce while they are there.

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

What I choose to paint is very much a product of what I see daily as I am going about my day.  So, most often, I am taking photos of local scenes.  Lakes, rocks, rural locations.  Occasionally, I'll stop to get photos of sunlit houses or little ramshackle buildings.  My travels abroad have been a source of subject material.  Looking back at all my paintings I've done, I am actually reminiscing about my life… it's as if I were flipping the pages of an old cherished photo album.

Splashin Around
(click to view)

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

Once a year, I set myself a challenge to do a painting a day.  I have just completed that in May of this year.  If you check out my website - cathyboydfineart.com - you will see that collection of paintings.  They are all small, usually 8 X 8 inches.  This challenge helps me to remember to paint intuitively and allows me to try out new subject material without investing a lot of time in any one new subject.

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

I'm learning that I am incredibly fortunate to be able to practice and improve my craft every day.  At this point in my life, I am able to dedicate as much time to it as I feel inclined.  That is precious.
I'm learning to take risks with my art, to be fearless with colour and technique.  I hope to paint some more large abstracts soon.  They are my way of “taking a break” from commissions and also from the more commercial, representational paintings that are typical of my body of work.

Northern Gold
(click to view)

What makes you happiest about your art?

I'm happy that my art brings a measure of joy and tranquility to my collectors.  I do not paint specifically for them, but because I am in tune with what resonates with them, I enjoy anticipating their reaction to the pieces I choose to paint.  My art brings me immense satisfaction as it is a by-product of what I am feeling and experiencing in my daily comings and goings.  I don't lead an extraordinary life, but I see things daily that are extraordinary.  So, with that in mind, I like to put those seemingly insignificant things down on canvas for you that serve as reminders that we are lucky to be so fortunate to have this beauty all around us.

Thanks, Cathy!

© 2017 Sophie Marine

Thursday, June 8, 2017

DPW Spotlight Interview: Betty Argiros

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

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

From Betty's DPW Gallery:

Betty Argiros a native of Rockland County, New York. Betty Argiros began painting in high school, intending to pursue a career in art, but life had other plans. She moved to New York City and then to upstate New York in the 1970s where she spent several years working with and counseling troubled teenagers. However, her thoughts and ambitions were never far from the canvas, and in 2001, when she retired, she was finally able to devote herself fully to her art. Betty works in oils, watercolors and pastels, and her landscapes are inspired by the great natural beauty of rural northeastern Pennsylvania where she now resides. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I got started painting and drawing when I was really little. My favorite present for Christmas or my birthday was a box of crayons or paints and a coloring book. When I was ten or so, I would get up on Saturday mornings and watch John Nagy who taught drawing. On Sunday mornings, I would get the newspapers and copy all the fashion advertisements with pen and ink washes. In high school, I was in the art room hanging out every chance I could. My art teacher encouraged me to go on with my art.

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

I did a lot of art in high school, but after applying and getting accepted in art school, I got scared and got married instead. Then my husband and I ran our restaurant for fifteen years followed by running a school for troubled teens for another twenty years. During that time, I went to college to study psychology and a few art classes. Then we retired when my husband had heart issues and was developing memory problems. He needed me full time to care for him and I needed to do something that would make me feel satisfied while I was caring for him. My art was perfect because he could be right in the room with me. So off I went, bought some supplies and started doing what I really loved. My husband is no longer with us but, I am still painting any chance I get. So once I started, I didn’t stop and I don’t plan to.

Reflection
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I work in oils. pastels, and watercolors and I mostly do landscapes, which are inspired by the great natural beauty of rural northeastern Pennsylvania, where I live. I also enjoy painting flowers because I can use some exciting colors and techniques. I have done some portraits of my family and if I have more time, I will do more.

Which ones have stuck and which ones have fallen away?

They have all stuck. I find oils are the easiest, but I love pastels, though they are very messy. As for watercolors, I love all the different styles and techniques I can explore. I guess I would improve faster if I would stick to one medium, but I would not be able to decide which one that would be.

Path in the Sunny Pasture
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

Other people's styles are fun to try. Mostly, I am a realest and I would like to loosen up and be more impressionistic.

Who or what inspires you most?

I am attracted to fields, farms, and clouds, to water, woods and trees. And when I paint them, I am trying to express what it is that took my breath away when I first came upon them in a particular scene. I am inspired by and have taken workshops with Peter Fiore, Pat Weaver, and in October will be taking one with Barbara Jaenicke. I had one scheduled with Sandra Strohschein,which was canceled, and one with Bill Vrscak which was also canceled due to a fire. There are many more like Douglas Fryer, Mark Bog, John McDonn and on and on.

Acadia National Park
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

I find myself doing all my chores first thing in the morning when I have lots of energy and then by the time I am done and ready to paint, my time is then limited and my energy is depleted. I sit and look at a blank canvas or paper and then begin looking through my photos, trying to decide what to paint and, “ oh no,” it is time to start dinner.

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

I try to have some days during the week when nothing is going on and decide no cleaning that day and something easy for dinner.  First thing in the morning, I put it in a slow cooker or ready to go in the oven when it is time, I make the salad ahead of time as well. If I am taking too long to pick something to paint in oils, I will start a watercolor by just wetting the paper and letting the beautiful color mingle. That gets me going and then I can usually pick something and get started. I also have to take time every few days to clean up and put stuff away so I am not working in a mess, then the next day I am ready to start right in.

Storm Developing
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

For a while, I was driving my grandson to work in the early morning, which gave me countless  “wow” moments as the rising sun played with the landscape. I could actually “see” the air—the damp light, the haze of the frost or snow. I’m always amazed by how the atmospheric variables can transform a scene and make it almost unrecognizable from one day to the next. I often go for drives in the country with my camera, up and down the back roads, looking for the perfect interplay of light and land that stops me in my tracks. Sometimes, just glancing out of the window I’ll catch a certain configuration of clouds, or the sun coming through the trees at an exquisite angle and I’m just awestruck. I love trying to recreate these moments, mixing the paints and playing with color until it matches what I see in my minds eye. I am often disappointed because usually the photo is better, but I was inspired from it and wanted to paint it and it gave me experience.

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

Wild Flowers in the Meadow
(click to view)

Changing subject matter and switching from oils, to pastels and watercolors.

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

Painting, for me, takes a kind of disciplined patience. I’ve learned to expect days when nothing’s going to look as good as on the camera, so I don’t even waste my time. Other days, the work is pure joy and I can hardly bear to stop. Those are the days when I’m actually able to make visible what I’m experiencing emotionally, and when that happens, I remember why it is that I paint.

What makes you happiest about your art? 

When I look back at some of my past work and see that I really am improving.

Thanks, Betty!

© 2017 Sophie Marine

Thursday, June 1, 2017

DPW Spotlight Interview: JoAnne Perez Robinson

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

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

From JoAnne's DPW Gallery:

No scrap of paper has ever been safe around me. I have always had a passion to create art, I am so grateful to be able to live my dream. I find that the beauty in simple everyday things is sometimes overlooked and these are the subjects I am inspired to paint.

I took my first watercolor class in 1994 and have been hooked on painting ever since. I paint in both watercolors and acrylics and I also love to draw and fill my sketchbooks. I have won many awards for my art. The most exciting has been winning first place for the Gilroy Garlic Festival poster contest twice. I also placed second twice.I have been showing and selling my work at fine art fairs since 2008. I enjoy that part of it as it keeps me painting everyday, which is what I love to do.

I have a very supportive husband, Mike, who encourages me to be the best artist I can. I am blessed with two great kids, my son Sam and my daughter Kyle. Life is good.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I had just finished community college, where I had taken many drawing classes but ended up getting a degree in accounting. One of my art instructors told me I should get a dual degree but my husband and I were trying to buy a house and I thought at the time it wasn’t practical. I graduated and got a job in the credit department at a bicycle company and quickly realized I did not belong there. My husband knew I missed my art and suggested my color pencil work would lend itself to watercolors and encouraged me to take a night class. I did and he was right, I fell in love with watercolors and painting.

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

I have loved art ever since I can remember and it was always my dream to be an artist. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the confidence to believe I could accomplish that until my middle thirties. My son was sixteen at the time and my daughter was about to be born so my husband encouraged me to quit my job, be a stay at home mom and also pursue my art. That was in 1996 and the real start of me being serious about making painting my career. I was able to sketch and paint daily, took lots of workshops, did tons of commissions and I was selling my work. I entered local art shows and I won ribbons so I figured I was on the right path.

Then in 2006, I entered and won 1st place in the Gilroy Garlic Festival poster contest. The Garlic festival is a huge deal in my town so I was pretty excited about that. I won 2nd place again for the poster in 2008 and 2010 and another 1st place in 2011. By then, I had made the investment in panels, tent, etc. and was selling my paintings at art and craft fairs, including the Garlic festival. I think the only thing that halted it for a bit was when my dad passed away last year, he was very special and a huge loss.  My dad was really proud of my art career though so I found my way back to the studio pretty quick, it was also very therapeutic. My mother has moved in with me and my husband and I am her full-time caretaker so art festivals are off the table but I have my work in four different shops/galleries and also online so that keeps me very busy. I am lucky to have a very supportive husband and family and my mom is always saying:  “You need to go to your room, go paint”.

Saturday Morning
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

Pencil, colored pencils, watercolors, acrylics, water based oils. My husband bought me an Apple pencil and I’m having fun experimenting with that.

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

What has stuck, pencil for sure, I love to draw and fill up my sketch books. Acrylics, I can make them look like a watercolor, or an oil. I can paint on canvas, board or paper and they dry fast. Unfortunately, watercolor has taken a backseat, mostly because they have to be framed.

Window Seat
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

My acrylics are my preferred medium and I am nowhere near being done exploring with them. I have been painting small paintings for many years now though and lately, I have been going bigger and they are selling which is always nice, so I want to explore painting on larger surfaces. I will always come back to painting small though, it feels good to me to finish a painting in one session. I would love to try my hand at pallet knife painting, silk painting and mosaic art. I want to use my watercolors again, it's such a luminous medium, also water based oils since I don't worry about the longer drying time anymore.

Who or what inspires you most?

Other artists do, I love to look at how another artist sees things and paints, I have so many favorites. I enjoy looking at Daily Paintworks, scrolling through all the art and picking the ones that stand out to me the most.  I have some close friends that are incredible artists, they inspire. I think most of all life inspires me, colors, shapes, light, flowers, nature, animals, people, I love it all!

Flower Boxes
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Well, for me, I procrastinate with everything except art. If I am doing chores and I go by my art studio, I might just have to go in and then I’m gone, I am in my world! So I try to get my chores done and then I can let go when I paint, but chores are definitely what I procrastinate doing. I don't put painting off because I love to do it.

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

The number one thing for me is I treat it like my job. I know that might not fit for some artists, the word “job” sounds a little like drudgery. For me though, in order to keep my art from being on the back-burner, it has to be that way. If it’s my job, then I give it first priority, like I am going to work and punching a time clock. Especially when I was a stay at home mom, and now that I am my mother's caretaker, time can get gobbled up quickly with other things you need to do. I make art a priority by saying this is my job, I have to go to work. That’s how I make sure that there is time for it.

Reaching Out
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I love simple, everyday things like a farmer’s market or kids playing on the beach or things around my house. I take tons of photos wherever I go. Then I go through them and pick the ones I am most excited about painting. I also love to sketch so I will often get my ideas from my sketch book, in fact most of my paintings are sketched and designed there first.

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

I think I keep it fresh by being excited about the subject I am painting.  I also love to paint in a series, so I will paint several paintings and then I’ll think oh this subject would be great in this series too. People have told me that my little paintings tell a story and I just love that. I also like painting things that reflect the season I am in. I have been producing a calendar the past three years "Celebrating the Seasons" and it's fun to put that together. The only time I have felt burned out was when I was doing arts and craft fairs. They are a struggle, it’s kinda like moving, lots of packing and unpacking and then back to the easel after a long weekend so that you have more work for the next show. I love the part where I interact with my collectors so shows were worth it, but they did burn me out at times. I guess I would say for me the technique for not getting burned out was easing up on my shows and keeping the right balance of shops my art is in so I don’t get overwhelmed. I also think getting away from the easel for a bit is good; I tend to look at things with a fresher perspective after a walk or some yoga.

Roundabout
(click to view)

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

That I am capable. That it was right for me to follow my gut and take the path I was passionate about. That the internet has made it possible for me to have my art business and it is continuing to grow and get better.  That all my experiences have led me to this point, each day doing what I love to do.

What makes you happiest about your art?

The way people respond to it. I have had some really amazing letters, emails and comments from people who have seen it or purchased it online, at shows or in the galleries and that never gets old. I met my husband in a life drawing class thirty years ago, he loves to joke I was the model! I'm happy that he has been so supportive all these years, always encouraging me. From building shelves in my art studio to helping me at all my shows and telling me we are in this for the long haul. I have also made some really great friends through my art. It also makes me happy that I get to paint the subjects I pick and have people want to own them because it makes them happy too. I love when people tell me they are giving a painting as a gift, that’s very special to me. I think it's a wonderful thing to be able to work each day at something I absolutely love to do.

Thanks, JoAnne!

© 2017 Sophie Marine

Thursday, May 25, 2017

DPW Spotlight Interview: Oleksii Movchun

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

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

From Oleksii's DPW Gallery:

I am Oleksii Movchun. I live and work in Ukraine. I have been into drawing since early childhood, when I could hardly remember myself. At the age of two, I produced my first significant and ambitious works - the walls of my room painted with a marker. Unfortunately, at that time critics didn't give me much credit for my creation. It was not until I tried myself in the sphere of architecture (I got my degree in architecture), was I able to find my true vocation - art. In recent years, I have been mainly engaged into painting, namely into writing portraits. Life, nature, a wealth of colors around us, the uniqueness of each person are the things I find particularly inspirational. I believe artist should portray subjects (people) as they perceive them. They must "fall in love" with what they see and make the audience "fall in love" with the created image.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

At the age of two, I produced my first significant and ambitious works - the walls of my room painted with a marker. Unfortunately, at that time critics didn't give me much credit for my creation.

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

There was once a period when I didn’t touch a paint brush at all. Having graduated from the university, I started working as an architect. Only after being at that job for five years did I realise that I should change something about it and follow my true calling – painting. Three years ago, that moment came – an office was replaced with a cosy studio, and I could fully immerse myself into painting. You can’t escape from yourself.

Vitamins

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I like to work with both a paint brush and a palette knife. I have experimented with various genres, but I finally ended up painting portraits and still lifes - genres I derive most pleasure from.

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

Being honest, I didn’t quite enjoy working in the sphere of abstract painting. In my opinion, an artist should be versatile, which means being conversant with many techniques. Having said that,  it is delving deeper into one sphere that will lead him or her to success and self-fulfillment.

Would You Like Some Tea?
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

An uncharted area for me at present is landscape. Painter’s cases are biding their time.

Who or what inspires you most?

Nature is what inspires me, in all its manifestations and beauty. No sunrise is the same, no two landscapes are alike.

Pomegranate
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Procrastination for me has to do with the lack of a genuine interest and absorption in the process. Thus, there is always a temptation to put off something I don’t take pleasure in to a later time. Conversely, passion for painting prevents me from this, and I eagerly engage myself into the world of art.

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

I can’t say that I have some special techniques. Carving out time for my art – it all comes naturally, without extra efforts. Once I embark on a new painting, it’s hard for me to stop. Again, love of art is what drives me and combats any indolence.

Sliced Orange
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Staying mentally awake, conscious and observant, perceptive and open to anything – my formula to generate new ideas. Everything I come across in the daily life, every feeling and emotion, every thought that springs to my mind may be then expanded, developed, and translated into canvas.

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

I believe that if you set yourself off on a quest for a relentless exploration and self-development, “freshness” in your art is inevitable. If you grow as a personality and a professional, you are always born anew, get inspired, and this pushes your works to a new level.

Silver Fish
(click to view)

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

I am now learning not just to copy the reality, but rather to convey my impressions and emotions.

What makes you happiest about your art?

It’s extremely rewarding and satisfying to see my own progress, set goals and pull them off. But I must say that the feeling of complacency is short-term and fleeting, as accomplishments shed light on new unexplored areas – and it happens again and again. :)

Thanks, Oleksii!

© 2017 Sophie Marine