Thursday, February 15, 2018

DPW Spotlight Interview: Ryan Kohler

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

From Ryan's DPW Gallery:


I am an oil painter working in Skowhegan, ME. I received a BA in Art from the University of Maine at Augusta in 2011 with a concentration in drawing. Each painting is a one of a kind original (no prints) of my own design and execution. My subject matter ranges from museum scenes and architecture to florals, plein air work and still lifes. I work from photographs as well as direct observation, whether it be in the field (plein air) or in the studio. I am interested in the formal aspects of representational painting ie. composition/color/value/texture etc. but focus mostly on finding abstract yet implicit shapes and trying to find ways to simplify my subjects. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I always say that I’ve been drawing and painting ever since I was old enough to hold a crayon.  Luckily, my parents were always super encouraging about my interest in art.  They even let me paint right on my bedroom walls and ceilings.  Growing up, I used to try and replicate my favorite album covers and t-shirts.  It taught me a lot about design and laid the groundwork for some pretty cool paintings later on.

Grumpy Butts
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with? 

While studying for my Art degree, I was subjected to all sorts of torturous experimentations <kidding> with various mediums.  I ended up with a BA in Art with a concentration in drawing.  I knew that whatever avenue I chose to pursue in art, drawing would still be a relevant skill.  I took just about every art class there was, whether willingly or not, but painting was always my favorite.

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

I have been oil painting exclusively for a few years now.   

It Never Gets Any Easier
(click to view)

Who or what inspires you most?

I actively seek inspiration.  I do not wait for a “divine visionary moment” or anything like that.  Just plain old research.  I’m constantly seeking out new favorite artists, looking for new subjects to paint, or aimlessly driving/walking around hunting for what excites me. 

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

First of all, it’s really easy to find something better to do.  One trick I like to use has to do with overcoming the fear we all have when it comes to creating art.  It can sometimes be scary to stare at that white canvas and feel like you have to produce something good.  This topic has been written about by many, but I find the answer is very simple.  I tell myself “It doesn’t have to be good.  You just have to make something.”  This melts the pressure away, and gets me actually moving, which is half the battle.  Before you know it, you’ve started a painting, and a short while after that, you’ve usually got something pretty good going!  Sometimes not, but that just means you can try again tomorrow!  It’s an exercise in humility, really. 

Doyouthinkhesaurus?
(click to view)

How do you determine whether a painting is a success or not?

I try to keep this very simple.  I ask myself “Is the world better off with this painting in it? Or is it needless.”  Sometimes you have to be brutally honest with yourself.  I wipe off a fair amount of paintings.  I’m still learning.  I always will be.  And that’s okay.  I think those who take themselves the least seriously are the happiest.  Who says every artist must be a tortured, depressing mess?  Sure, I have low moments.  I drink beer and curse my fate like any other homo sapien, but deep down, I know that the good far outweigh the bad.  I’m not a doctor.  When I don’t do my job correctly, nobody dies.  I just end up with a crappy painting.  Big deal. 

How do you find subjects for your paintings?

There isn’t a definitive answer for this, because it’s always changing.  Sometimes I will have a specific idea for a painting, but more often than not, I just raid the fridge for still life props, or pull over when I see something collecting rust in a field.  They say that one of the most critical components of creativity is the ability to just play.  Lately I’ve been working with photos taken from a recent trip to New York City.  Ask me again next week for a completely different answer!

Rubber Uglies
(click to view)

What should a viewer typically be thinking about when viewing your work?

Well, everyone steps to a painting with their own approach, but initially, I like to view a painting as an abstract work first.  I look at the composition, paint texture, general shapes/colors, and temperature first before inspecting the recognizable imagery.  I want the viewer to see my work as a precarious mix of careful observation and spontaneous mark making.  My paintings seem to work best when I can find the most entertaining ratio.  If it matches the couch, great.  It’s not that art isn’t allowed to.  If you’re that worried about it, get a new damn couch.  Either way the most important question isn’t being asked.  Does it bring you joy?

Are your paintings abstract?

Compared to Kandinsky?  Hardly.  Compared to Sargent?  Maybe.  Some would argue that a painting, just by being a painting, is automatically abstracted to a small degree, no matter how hyper realistic it is.  My work falls on the scale somewhere, sure, but where doesn’t matter to me.  Thoughtful and efficient brushwork matters to me.  Strong composition and accurate drawing matters to me.  Mixing color with integrity matters to me.  Fussy, overworked, lifeless paintings bore me something dreadful.  You can be anything but boring.  They say that no painting is ever finished, just abandoned.  The trick is to know when to walk away.

Creatures
(click to view)

Do you have any advice for painters who are starting out?

Design is such a huge part of what we do as artists.  Designing a composition that works is so crucial, second only to drawing it.  When the time comes to actually paint, if those preliminary elements aren’t already in harmony, don’t even bother.  Paint from life as much as possible.  Squint a lot and simplify large shapes into blocks of color.  From there, you can slowly refine areas while working on the painting as a whole.  Trying to make it look effortless takes the most effort.  And don’t forget, there’s ALWAYS more to learn!!

Thanks, Ryan!

© 2018 Sophie Marine

Thursday, February 8, 2018

DPW Spotlight Interview: Karen Broemmelsick

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

From Karen's DPW Gallery:

My name is Karen Broemmelsick, and I'm an animal lover. I've had dogs all my life - I can't even imagine what it would be like without at least one by my side. I'm also a tiny bit horse crazy... I can't get enough of photographing and painting such magnificent creatures, and for the last several years, I've had a beautiful Missouri Fox Trotter mare to call my own. Cats are a more recent addition, and while they seem so completely different from dogs to me, they are every bit as unique. I put love and care into each brush stroke to craft a painting that reflects that which we love most about our animals. I look for the strongest qualities of each animal and I learn the story of each one I paint - most of them I've met in person. Most of all, I strive to create paintings that will connect you with the animals you love. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting. 

Ever since I was just a few years old, I was always drawing something. Eventually, I tried watercolor, making a few paintings of animals here and there. I took a few art classes in high school, and when it was time for college, I decided on a BFA in art. Even after college, I still didn’t paint all that much, mostly focusing on photography and the occasional graphite drawing. But one day, I came across a speed drawing video in colored pencil and thought “I want to try that.” And so I dug out my colored pencils that I’d had for years and started drawing a dog that I had photographed for some friends a while back and posted the finished piece on my Facebook page. Her mother saw it, bought it for an anniversary gift for her daughter and son-in-law, and commissioned a drawing of their other dog. After that, I just kept on going, drawing dogs and horses mostly. Then, about a year ago, I decided to experiment with oil painting, something I hadn’t done since college. I immediately loved how much faster a piece could be finished (if you didn’t count drying time...) and how it was so much more efficient to work with larger pieces. I still have intentions of working on colored pencil pieces here and there, but mostly, I’m working in oils now.

On the Prowl
(click to view)

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

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

Not really. I worked slowly on graphite drawings just for fun, doing just a handful over the course of three or four years, but once I started in colored pencil, I also started posting the work-in-progress and finished pieces regularly on my Facebook page and in Facebook groups. I started building up a following and gaining momentum, and since then, I really haven’t stopped.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with? 

Watercolor, graphite, colored pencil, pastel, acrylic, alcohol inks, weaving, screen printing, and oil. Also, ceramic as well as wood and metal sculpture. Primarily, I create realistic paintings of horses and dogs, with the occasional cat, flower or nature painting thrown in. Every once in a while, I experiment with a slightly looser style, but I always seem to revert back to realism.

Colors of the Knight
(click to view)

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

Oil is currently the one that has stuck, though I’m trying not to let go of colored pencil. Most others have fallen away, though I hope to bring them back some day.

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

Alcohol inks and watercolor, and maybe acrylic as well.

Watching
(click to view)

Who or what inspires you most?

Every time I walk through a field of horses, I get new inspiration for paintings! I go out with my camera, looking for certain poses and lighting or just capturing whatever happens at the moment, then come home and start fleshing out ideas for future paintings.

What does procrastination look like for you?

Once I start a painting, I have a hard time stopping. It’s the “getting started” part that can sometimes be difficult. I have the ideas and everything ready to go, but then it’s kind of like I get overwhelmed with the blank canvas and come up with fifty things that need to be done before I get entrenched in another painting. Once I actually start though, the only thing I want to do is paint...

Basset Eyes
(click to view)

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

I don’t typically have this problem too much, but if I do, setting a deadline to finish helps. For instance, I decided I wanted to enter a colored pencil show a couple years ago. The bar was very high, so I knew what type of work I needed to produce. However, by the time I found out about the show, the deadline was less than two months away and the piece I wanted to make would take every bit of that. So I told myself I had to work at least two hours every day on it, and more if I could manage, or I wouldn’t meet the deadline. I stuck to it too, and literally finished it the night before the entry deadline.

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I’m also a photographer and have thousands and thousands of photos, so for inspiration, I browse my Adobe Lightroom catalogue looking for likely candidates, then take the photos into Photoshop to experiment further with ideas.

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

I usually avoid burnout by changing things up - size, subject, color, style, etc.

Buckskin
(click to view)

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

Right now, I’m learning about working in a series and getting together a cohesive body of work so that I can perhaps have a solo show or set up a booth somewhere later on down the road.

What makes you happiest about your art? 

I love finishing a piece and especially realizing that it’s one of my new personal favorites. Each time I finish a painting, I like to analyze what I do and don’t like about it so that I can apply that knowledge to my next piece and continue to improve.

Thanks, Karen!

© 2018 Sophie Marine

Thursday, February 1, 2018

DPW Spotlight Interview: Libby Anderson

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

From Libby's DPW Gallery:

I started making art as a child drawing in my mother's blank cookbooks and continued through college majoring in art and art education. My teaching career began in Mississippi and Tennessee and continued when I moved to Pennsylvania. Fortunately where I lived had a great art atmosphere, influenced by the Wyeth family. I concentrated on learning watercolor through classes and workshops. When I moved back to Tennessee I returned to oils. I am having the best time of my life; painting what I love and meeting new people all over the world. Life is good!

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I started as a very young child drawing in a big blank paste-in cookbook that my mother let me have. She must not have been that much into cooking to give me free rein over the pages. I continued drawing and painting through the years. I remember drawing costumes found in the “C” volume of the World Book Encyclopedia in elementary school. I received a B.F.A in Commercial Art and an art teaching degree and taught elementary art for many years.

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

I painted less when my children were small and also when I was teaching full time. Although I was involved in art every day, I did not produce as much away from the classroom. My husband was transferred to Delaware and at that time I was not teaching. I started watercolor classes at the local art center in Pennsylvania near Andrew Wyeth’s home.

Cool Garden
(click to view)

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


What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

Watercolor, acrylic, printmaking, and oil.

Which ones have stuck and which have fallen away?

Watercolor was my primary medium for many years. About six years ago I took some oil classes. It had been many years since I was in college that I had painted in oils. I attended some Carol Marine and Dreama Perry workshops and it was there I found out about Daily Painting. I have found the medium I want to use from now on. Oils are so exciting for me.

Tuscan Color
(click to view)

Which one are you looking forward to exploring?

I would also like to learn more about acrylics. They are so much richer now than they were in the 70’s. I am interested in using some techniques to layer finishes using cold wax to give the look of encaustic. Abstract also interests me and I hope to be doing more of those in the future.

Who or what inspires you most?

I would have to say that my parents inspired me. They have both passed away but their creative influence is still with me. Growing up in the depression gave them few educational opportunities. Despite this, they were creative in their own way. My mother sewed beautifully and made quilts that I treasure still. My father could draw and was good with woodwork. He sought out an older man who made split oak baskets and learned how to make them. The process started with cutting the bark all the way to weaving the baskets. I was always encouraged to pursue art.

Agent 99
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Daily painting has helped cure me of procrastination. It has become such a habit to paint every day that I feel guilty if I am not painting. The only time I procrastinate is when I have a commission I hesitate to start. When that happens I try to warm up by painting a few smaller paintings.

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

Although I am not an extremely organized person; I find that sticking to a daily schedule helps me to stay on track. I try to keep up with the business part of painting by posting on DPW, Instagram and my blog later in the evening.

Miles Away
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for painting?

Since I am primarily a floral painter, inspiration is all around. I lived two miles from Longwood Gardens for several years and went often to walk there. I have boxes and boxes of photos to use for reference when I don’t have fresh flowers. Every vacation and trips to Europe have provided me with subject matter. Once when we were delivering Meals on Wheels I asked my husband to stop so I could take a picture of a bright yellow vintage truck in front of an old wooden garage. I painted it when I got home and sold it the next week.

I am doing more abstract florals and having such knowledge of the shape and form of the flowers in my head has been helpful.

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

I do most paintings alla prima so I don’t work for days or weeks on the same painting and I am unlikely to get tired of a painting. One workshop instructor told our class to always paint something that excited us. If you aren’t excited about the subject matter; the viewer won’t be either.

Another bit of advice I try to remember is to vary brushstrokes and to vary color every few inches in my paintings.

Taking breaks is another way I can stay fresh.

On the Rise
(click to view)

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

I spend a lot of time looking at art in magazines and on the internet. It is an amazing time to be an artist. Access to information is so much easier now than even ten years ago. I am noticing a trend toward abstraction on the art market lately. This has some influence on what I paint but only because it interests me. I think I am painting in a less traditional style lately.

What makes you happiest about your art?

There is just nothing that compares to the feeling that I get when completing a piece of art that I feel is successful. Knowing that I have created something unique gives me great pleasure.

Thanks, Libby!

© 2018 Sophie Marine