Thursday, February 22, 2018

DPW Spotlight Interview: Steve Miller

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

From Steve's DPW Gallery:

Steve was born in Texas in the late 50's, but spent most of his early and teenage years in Georgia and Tennessee, and later coming back to Texas. Steve begin drawing in those early years, later developing God's gift through various visual media. Steve has airbrushed vans and T-shirts in the 70's, painted murals, signs and illustration in the 80's, created computer animation and digital illustration in the 90's and into this millennium we are currently in. Steve has won several awards in local and national art competitions, including being selected twice as a finalist into the Hunting Art Prize in Houston, Texas.

Steve says "My goal as an artist is pursue leaning - learning more about light, color and form as I attempt to portray this incredible creation God has made, always pointing to Him. With each passing day, I find I am more and more in awe of the world God has made."When traveling, Steve takes along his plein air easel and camera, to either squeeze in a painting or two as time permits or shoot reference photos for later studio works. He and his wife have traveled across Texas, New Mexico, Georgia, Louisiana, Alabama, Tennessee and Maine. Recently, while in Hawaii, he painted several plein air works on the island of Oahu. (click to view gallery)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting. 

I believe the first time I created anything in color was in art class in High School. We were given assignments to create paintings in oil and watercolor. But, I really stayed away from any work related to color until I was in my late twenties. I did many works in graphite, which I really loved. But in my late twenties I began selling some artwork to a wall plaque company and they had to be done in color, so I created many works in Acrylic. They seemed to buy the good, the bad and the not-so-beautiful. For two years I painted and sold these acrylic works to the company, which they put on wall plaques. It was a great time of learning, and I was able to pay the bills as well. As is the case with most artists, if I see any of those early works, I’ll play dumb as to the name of the originator of the painting and say, “Who the heck painted that?"

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

Many stops and starts. One of the difficult things many artists experience, whether the art is music, sculpture, visual or anything else, the difficulty or “rub” is figuring out how to survive, pay the bills and still carve out time to paint. Add to that other obstacles that make pursuing art, not impossible, but difficult, and the “stops and starts” seem to be ever present.  I remember at one point we were living in a small space and in order to paint, I built an easel that folded down from the ceiling, so that I could fold it up, painting and all, when we wanted more space in living area. I started a decent sized painting on canvas and not too far into the rendering I came to a motivational snag. I folded the easel up into the ceiling, half painted canvas and all. It stayed there for two solid years. One day, perhaps after some strong coffee, I had acquired a dose of motivation and determined that I would finish the painting. I swung the easel down to its working position and finished the painting, which I was blessed to sell.

Across the River
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

As alluded to above, I began with pencil as a kid, loving to draw black and white images, usually on typing paper (people once used typewriters). I hated crayons as a kid, and still remember my 2nd grade teacher trying to make me use crayons instead of pencils. As I mentioned, I made forays into color in High School, followed by quite a few acrylic paintings, mostly on paper, some on canvas. Although it is not considered “fine art”, I airbrushed vans, motorcycle tanks and fenders, as well as T-shirts. That was followed by a stint working as an illustrator at a publishing company. For a couple of years, I used nothing but concentrated Luma Dyes and Black Ink to create detailed illustrations for home school curriculum. About fifteen years ago I jumped into the pool of Plein Air, and felt like I was drowning. But I began to love it and it has been an excellent experiment in all things related to painting, as well as a teacher in color and value. A few years ago, I also begin working in Soft Pastels, mostly on Ampersand pastel board. I really like soft pastels on sanded surfaces.

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

It has been years since I have touched graphite, watercolor or acrylic, or even the airbrush. However, oils and pastels are two mediums that have “stuck”, and I continue to learn and work with them. There are basic similarities between these two mediums, as well as vast differences. Sometimes they both seem to lean on the other, crossing over at various points, especially in relation to color and value. 

The Overhang
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I wish I had room to journey back into watercolor. I would also like to work in charcoal on various surfaces. Maybe at some date in the future.

Who or what inspires you most? 

The “Who” would be the Creator of the universe - the God described in the Bible - Who not only created all we see, but also the design principles, rules of composition and the magic of light and color. The “What” of inspiration would be His creation and the world that is, both seen and unseen. My crippled attempt to create artwork that portrays this beauty and design is an ongoing learning process, a journey into the world of design, light and color. I believe mankind was created in the image of God – this inspires me to also not just paint nature, but people and the things people create. Back alleys, classic architecture, an old barn in a field of baled hay – all equally intrigue and inspire me to paint. And, they all tell a story… stories are a great source of inspiration as well. On an horizonal plane, I have been inspired by many painters who have traveled this creative path and are far ahead of me in the journey. If I started a list of these “inspirers”, the list would be very long. The work of accomplished painters are a great source of inspiration and study.

The Green Door
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you? 

Some have said that procrastination is birthed in the fear of failure. There may be other issues involved, but I would have say that this may be relevant with me and procrastination. This real or perceived failure may be many things – failure in executing the mechanics of a painting, failure in the financial aspects of this artistic endeavor, failure to get past known weaknesses and failure to get over hurdles or road blocks that are evident in my work.

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

Coffee. From the bag, to the coffee maker, to the cup(s). Very helpful technique. Seriously, for me, the whole trick is starting a piece. Once started, I am better able to carve out small sections of time, which is usually all I have available.

September Morning
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings? 

Most everything sparks an idea for a painting. Then I look for a story, or hint of a story, how color and value will enhance or better tell the story. While participating in plein air everts, the ideas are usually constrained to what is within the painting boundaries. Things like a back door in an alley, an old truck, a landscape. All are rich in intrigue for me. This carries over into studio works, usually painted from photo reference, but perhaps more complex than the plein air works.

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

Have I mentioned coffee? I enjoy a trip to Barnes & Noble for coffee and a slow look through some of the current art magazines, seeing the work artists are painting, looking for what I like, thinking about how it was done, trying to understand how they arrived at the image in front of me. 

Texas and Pacific - Across the Tracks
(click to view)

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

Maybe three things: I have been limiting my palette in an effort to learn more about mixing color and the relationships between various colors. It seems to be an excellent tool for fine-tuning color and it allows for much experimentation. The other thing I hope I am learning is Value. I have recognized that I have a weakness in that area. I am learning to more quickly render the proper values. The last thing is perhaps learning to see and fix problems in a painting. Artist are sometimes blind to their own error. Problems in the drawing, problems in composition or incorrect values. Learning to STOP and fix problems is an area I am working on as well.

What makes you happiest about your art?

If I succeed in creating a work of art that is well done, tells a story and points to the One who made it all, then I am good with that. The other side of that same coin is creating a painting that provides a service to someone. This “service” may simply be to support those in my family. Or, it may give someone joy in the viewing, perhaps stimulate a thought or memory of what is good. I have noticed that I, at times, get wrapped up in what I want (this is the “twisted” side of human nature) and forget that the gift God has given should perhaps serve…

Thanks, Steve!

© 2018 Sophie Marine

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

Thursday, January 25, 2018

DPW Spotlight Interview: Kent Brewer

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

From Kent's DPW Gallery:

Waxahachie resident and native Texan Kent Brewer cannot remember a time when art wasn't a part of his life. But it wasn't until he decided to join a local group of plein air painters in the summer of 2007 that he began to paint more consistently. A few years later he decided to try his hand at oils, retiring the watercolors after a 30-year run. "Switching to oils, combined with painting outdoors, was life-changing for me, as-far-as quality and quantity of work. Not to mention that it allowed me to plug-in to the community of artists that call this area home." (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

Painting was one aspect of my education in commercial art. Once I decided to take the plunge (investing in paint and brushes) I was in it for the long haul. 

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

I have had a few. My paintings were “occasional” for a few years. I would get inspired for a few months and then it would subside. It truly fell off in 1990 when I lost my little girl in a traffic accident. I had little desire to do anything art related for about 10 years. It eventually came back to me. But it wasn’t until I joined a local art association in 2009 that I began painting on a regular basis, especially en plein air.

Shaped By Wind
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

Watercolor, pastel, pen and ink, colored pencil, charcoal and oils.

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

Watercolors have completely fallen away since I started using oils in 2010. I love their forgiveness. Watercolors were far too challenging for my liking, even though I did them for 30 years.

No. 268 - Townes
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I think I will keep on exploring oils. Maybe pastels on occasion since they have similar technical approaches.

Who or what inspires you most?

Contrasts inspire me the most. Lights against darks, warms next to cools. When I see these elements in nature or man-made objects, I get inspired.

Downhill Dogleg
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Procrastination, for me, is probably more of a lack of confidence, or not being sure of myself that I can “pull it off” as subject matter, so I stand there and question myself.  But really, there is no reason to procrastinate if you love creating something awesome. Procrastination is for paying bills.

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

My technique is to continue to have success and to continue to grow as an artist. I know that if I don’t grow, I might regress. And having a studio with everything I need at hand doesn’t hurt.

No. 235 Camp Misery
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

As in my answer to what inspires me, I try to find subjects that have a lot of contrasts. I get my studio ideas from personal photos that I have taken.

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

I think you keep things fresh by following a process that has led to some success in previous works. Whatever has worked for you in the past gives you confidence to keep on creating more. Burnout, for me, happens when I’m not properly planning a painting from concept to finish. At this point I tend to lose my way and get bored.

Roadside Recliner No. 179
(click to view)

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

I’m learning that I have a long way to go to be where I want to be. But, I can see mostly progress so that's a good thing.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I think there is something kind of special about finishing a painting that didn’t exist in history until the moment you signed it, knowing that at that moment and going forward, you would hate for something to happen to it. Creating something from nothing makes me happy.

Thanks, Kent!

© 2018 Sophie Marine

Thursday, January 18, 2018

DPW Spotlight Interview: Douglas Barron

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

From Douglas' DPW Gallery:

Michigan Artist, Douglas J Barron is a 1982 graduate of Frankenmuth, his home town. The artist paints oil on canvas, en plein air and studio, and practices his technique to convey a sense of immediacy and harmony that we feel within our natural environment. He applies the strengths of his medium to achieve rich surfaces and vibrant hues of favorite subjects; sky, water, flowers and views of the Michigan countryside.Often you will find Douglas gardening and raising chickens on his farm, sources of inspiration for much of his work.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting. 

I enjoyed art classes in High School but never pursued it. In March of 2016, I was reunited with my art teacher, Alan Maciag, (alanmaciag.com) at an art auction. At this time Al was giving art lessons. I took my first class with Al in March of 2016 and a follow up in March of 2017. As my painting skills grew, so did my desire to learn.  Art is an excellent way to challenge your brain. It also got me away from the TV!

Rose of Sharon
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with? 

I started with Oils and continue this medium. I love the challenge that oils offer and the endless amount of color options that can be created during mixing. There might be a time that I will explore acrylics and or possibly watercolors.

I primarily paint in studio, but I also like to be outdoors and Plein Air Paint. The studio gives me plenty of time to work the subject, whereas Plein Air challenges me in speed.

Peeling Paint
(click to view)

Who or what inspires you most? 

The two muses in my life are my spouse then our farm and surroundings. Until I started painting, I never really paid attention to what was happening in nature throughout the seasons.

Sled
(click to view)

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

My goal is to try and paint at least 3-5 times per week. My spouse is my resource for ideas, together we explore cities, landscapes and new places. The resulting photography gives us inspiration.

Being involved with events, exhibitions, and paint-outs really helps add excitement and focus.

Soybean Rows
(click to view)

What makes you happiest about your art? 

I find a great deal of enjoyment in the process of a painting, from the initial sketch to signing my name.  Goals are good! When I have a blank canvas in front of me, I have a new goal!

Winter Paddock
(click to view)

Thanks, Douglas!

© 2018 Sophie Marine

Thursday, January 11, 2018

DPW Spotlight Interview: Jacqueline Davis

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

From Jacqueline's DPW Gallery:

Originally from England, I have also lived in California and now reside in New York state. I'm influenced by old architecture, vintage glass, ceramics and all things retro.

I have spent time working variously in graphic design, ceramics and teaching!

My most recent love is oil painting. I have studied still life with Karen O'Neil; plein air painting with Randall Sexton; and taken workshops with Leslie Saeta.

Thank you for taking a look.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

Of course I drew and painted at school, but a career in fine art just never seemed something I could practically consider. However, after high school I somehow immediately landed a job as a graphic designer. I stayed doing that for three years, but feeling the need for something more fulfilling - and deciding I needed some proper qualifications, went back to college.

At the college I attended, we were never introduced to oil paint - I think it was probably something to do with the cost. I did love oil pastels, which were my favorite medium.

I started dabbling in oil paint after we moved to America (initially California) from the UK, six years ago. Initially I was just teaching myself and not getting very far. I really got into painting properly after we moved to the east coast. I started taking some workshops at the Art Students League of New York. A really good teacher can help to open up the possibilities of what oil paint can do. After that I was hooked.

Three Odd Bottle Buddies
(click to view)

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

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

Yes! I stopped for many years! After college and gaining a degree, I trained as a teacher - I taught a subject called Design and Technology in the UK which for my part was predominantly graphic design and drawing, so while I didn't paint, I continued to draw pretty much constantly.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

At art college we experimented with pretty much everything; pastel and oil pastel, watercolor, acrylics, gouache, photography, ceramics, textiles! Everything except oil paint!

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

Interesting question. After my first child was born, and I was looking for a creative outlet, I took up ceramics again at adult school. Actually, I ended up buying a little paint-your-own-pottery business from another mother, who was done with it. It fell into my lap almost by chance. So I did that for three years. I also painted and sold my own pottery, inspired at the time by my seaside home in the south of England. I sold the business on when we moved to the US.

I have a little play with watercolor now and again, more as a compliment to pen line drawings.

Misbehaving Tulips

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

For the moment I'm happy staying with oil paint. 

My comfort zone is still life but I dabbled a fair bit with plein-air last year, taking some plein-air workshops: also I was so, so fortunate to be invited on a painting retreat with a group of the most awesome people you can imagine. I will be forever grateful for that. Plein-air is such a different discipline from still life I think. It's almost like learning everything again, from scratch!

I hope to take some more workshops with artists I admire. There's so much to learn about painting in oils and I'm definitely still developing as an artist.

Who or what inspires you most?

It's a strange thing - I have a great love of old ceramics and glass. I'm quite addicted I admit. I'm drawn to vintage pieces that could almost tell a story. So I'm always inspired by what I have in my kitchen cupboards! But, I don't think it's good to just paint what comes easy. I want to challenge myself as well.

Scattered Strawberries and a Painted Bowl

What does procrastination look like for you?

Oh my goodness, I'm the most hopeless procrastinator, in that I think "I'll just sort this out before I start". So I'm always clearing up the kitchen, doing the laundry or running errands or tasks, and before you know it, it's 2pm already.

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

This January, I set myself a challenge to paint everyday for the month - my goal is to get into a daily habit, so that painting comes first. I'm learning that if I always have to 'clear my desk' first, I'll never paint! I have switched my day around, so that I start painting first thing in the morning. I leave the afternoon to do the other stuff: photography, posting to my blog and facebook, etc. I'm finding so far that it's working well. For one thing, the light in the afternoon is usually better for taking photos of my paintings.

Ready, Steady, Bake

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

For my larger pieces I always have a million ideas for paintings swimming around in my head. They sort of develop and percolate over a long period of time. It's hard to describe, but I know what I want to achieve because I have the composition worked out before I start. Of course what goes on in your head and what appears on the canvas can be two different things!

My DPW paintings tend to be studies to help me with a larger idea that I'm formulating.

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

In terms of 'keeping it fresh', I have this obsession with keeping my colors alive and vibrant. I'm always playing around with the paint and trying different combinations to darken and lighten without muddying them.  My color palette is a constantly evolving thing. I like trying out new colors to see what works.

In general terms though, I think yo should paint what you love, but challenge yourself as well. I think it's important to keep developing, trying new things.

If something is not working, even if the painting is terrible, then you have learned something from that and you can try something different next time.

Stripes, Spots, Spoon and Spatulas

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

I'm a very slow painter. I thought I had wanted to speed up my process but what I'm learning is that speeding up doesn't necessarily achieve the results I want. So I'm learning to accept my own limitations. Maybe it's not about how fast you go, but how you get there that matters!

I have a vision in my mind's eye of what I want to achieve and I know that I have a long, long way to go. I know that the only way to get there is to put in the hours and just keep moving forward.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I'm happiest when I'm in 'the zone' as I call it - everything going on in the world melts away and you can give your painting your full focus and attention. It's really nice to do something for yourself.

Also, on the odd occasion when you 'knock one out of the park', it's very satisfying and you feel like you have achieved something.

I'm incredibly grateful to my husband and children who are always so, so encouraging and supportive.

Thanks, Jacqueline!

© 2018 Sophie Marine

Thursday, January 4, 2018

DPW Spotlight Interview: Shweta Mahajan

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

From Shweta's DPW Gallery:

I'm a self taught artist from India. My work comprises mainly of watercolour, charcoal and pencil. (click to view gallery)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I started painting during my school days and became a full time artist in 2013.

Orange African Daisy
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with? 

Graphite and watercolour are my prefered mediums. I love the unpredictability of watercolours. I also wish to work wiith oil colours and acrylics. I like to make paper sculptures as well.

Squirrel and the Red Berries
(click to view)

Who or what inspires you most?

My mother is an artist so I was drawn towards art quite early in my life. I'm fascinated by nature and try to capture the visual experience in my works. Trees excite me most and I've done around 100 drawings and paintings on trees.

Riverbed
(click to view)

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

I don't find it difficult to find time to paint. The hardest part is to let the brush go.

What does procrastination look like for you?

There is no stopping once I start working on a project.

Blue Footed Booby
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings? 

Yoga and meditation helps me to get my creative juices flowing. Ideas are everywhere. I look through hundreds of photos to decide on the subject.

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

I'm learning to talk about my work and be more articulate.

Whitaker Point Trail
(click to view)

What makes you happiest about your art? 

The most satisfying thing about creating art is that I get to express myself. I love the process that goes into making a painting. I like it when the work is appreciated.

Thanks, Shweta!

© 2018 Sophie Marine

Thursday, December 28, 2017

DPW Spotlight Interview: Karen Israel

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, "Sunflower fun" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Karen's DPW Gallery:

The joy I experience when painting with pastels delights my eyes and engages my mind. I hope to invigorate my subjects with energetic color and unique design. I am an award winning, Connecticut pastel artist who is a Master Pastelist with the Pastel Society of America and the International Association of Pastel Society. I am also the current President of Connecticut Pastel Society. In addition to welcoming commissions, I have had the experience of juror, teacher and demonstrator of pastel.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I began painting about ten years ago while I was working as a Physical Therapist. The desire to study drawing and painting trumped physical therapy and a few years after that I began painting full time.

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

I never stopped painting but along the way I worked in different mediums before devoting myself fully to painting in pastel.


Sunflower Fun
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I began with watercolor and then briefly with oil painting. In fact, I use watercolor often as an underpainting in my pastel technique.

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

There are so many approaches and surfaces with the medium of pastel that I don't think I will ever get bored! I am aways working with new products and approaches to pastel, but if I ever did try a new medium it would probably be oil.

Savannah Dreams
(click to view)

What inspires you most?

Interesting arrangement of shapes and/or dramatic light are the ingredients that pushes my creative buttons. I paint a wide variety of subjects and am inspired by any challenge that is out of my comfort zone.

Who inspires you most?

I am inspired by the works of John Singer Sargent, JoaquĆ­n Sorolla and Jean Chardin to name a few. I am also inspired by so many of the great contemporary pastel artists, some of who are on DPW.

A Day Away
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

I don't procrastinate when it comes to making a painting.  For me, the procrastination comes in framing and photographing my finished works.

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

I don't seem to have a problem finding time to paint but it is the other areas in my life I have to make time for, such as getting to the gym, cooking and cleaning.

Traveling Light
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Sometimes I will find inspiration from unlikely places. Other times, I seek out the inspiration with a trip to the zoo or a hike in the woods. Once I have created a successful painting in a certain subject, I will then attempt to paint that subject in a series.

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

CHANGE is the key word for me. To stay fresh, I will change subject, format, color palette, surfaces, approaches. In addition, I sometime work from life, other times from photograph. I sometimes work from a black and white photo, sometimes from one in color.

Marguerite's Delimma
(click to view)

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

I am learning to be a better critic of my own work. I am also learning to be a better business person as I tend to give my art away for too low a price.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I love teaching pastel and inspiring others to have confidence in their art making abilities.  I am pleased when my art sells or wins an award but I am most pleased when I create a work that is a notch above the previous work I have done.  I believe there is no ceiling for improvement, I am always taking workshops to learn more and that is what is so very exciting about being an artist.

Thanks, Karen!

© 2017 Sophie Marine