Friday, September 22, 2017

DPW Spotlight Interview: Midori Yoshino

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings. To enter to win Midori's painting, "The Equestrian Club in Al Ain" 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.


I had studied painting and drawing for my job as a fashion designer, but it wasn’t something very important to me. Just a tool for my work. I started painting seriously in July, 2007.

A very sad thing happened to a friend of mine. I don’t want to go into details, but thinking about it made me feel I had to start doing what I really wanted to do. My daughter says YOLO. You Only Live Once. I think that is true and I didn’t want to waste my one life.

Art had been a hobby for me, but I was out of practice and needed to re-learn some things. I took a watercolour class at a local university and entered one of my paintings from that class in an Art competition. When I won, I realised that I really had some ability in painting.

The Equestrian Club in Al Ain
(click to view)

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


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

I did stop the ‘hobby’ painting when I got married and my daughter, Aki, was born. Since I started it seriously, though, I have never stopped. It takes discipline, but I decided I wanted to paint one piece every day. I have found it really makes me look at the world around me because I have to have something to use as a subject.

Once you start doing that, you see the world in a different way. There are many amazing things happening on the streets and in the markets of a town like Al Ain, many things of quiet beauty, but most people don’t see them because they have other things on their minds. 


What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

Oils, watercolours, acrylic and water colour pencils.


Al Ain Mall
(click to view)


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

I learned oil first, but I felt it was not my medium. We Japanese use watercolour when we are in primary school. We all get used to using it. So watercolour painting is kind of part of our lives for most Japanese and, of course, it has been a big part of our culture. From ancient times, people in Japan have painted on silk or handmade paper with watercolours. Some of this is connected with calligraphy, because we write with a brush also, but there is a long tradition of recording things that are beautiful in nature with watercolours.

I love acrylic as well, though. I do work in it sometimes. The different medium gives me new ideas for how to treat the scene.

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring? 

My paintings are usually fairly small. So I want to try something huge.


Blue World
(click to view)

Who or what inspires you most?

I’ve been inspired by lots of artists. It is very hard to pick only one, though.

It’s probably Ms Keiko Tanabe. I took her workshop three years ago. It was a plein aire workshop in France. She paints in any situation or conditions, always produces incredible work and her personality is great as well. She has a very warm heart and always cares about other people.

Kanta Harusaki,Yoko Hausaki and  Kenji Aoe are favourites of mine as well.



What does procrastination look like for you?

It looks like cooking a meal for my family, or doing the housework. That’s the only time when I’m not working on art. I teach students at a local university and in my home or theirs. Of course I meet with friends to drink coffee and chat sometimes, but that’s doing something positive, not just avoiding painting. I feel that I’m always busy.

Festival in Yemen
(click to view)


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

I don’t need to make time for painting, whenever I want to do it I can, pretty much. I teach watercolour almost every evening but I have enough time in the morning. I can usually just get out of bed and start painting.

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Over the years I’ve become very interested in the work done by ‘invisible’ people. A lot of the ordinary jobs around Al Ain are done by men from the sub-continent, India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh. They are very hard-working and usually very cheerful and friendly.  I look for them sweeping the streets, repairing the roads, driving taxis and selling fruit and vegetables in the local souks.

I go sketching every day and do simple sketches and simple paintings at the scene which I finish at home. If I don’t have enough time, I take photos.




Yaka Chan
(click to view)

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

 
I never get bored with painting at all. I look for new things all of the time and I am always really pleased to discover something for the first time.

Whenever I go out, I can find out something to paint. I do sometimes get stuck and have no idea how to finish a piece.  In that case, I leave the painting in the store room and a few days later I take it out and I can usually paint on and finish it with new refreshed mind.


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


Everyday I learn from both my work and other people’s as well. Everyday I find out something new, that’s why I can continue painting I think.


What makes you happiest about your art?

When I teach and see the student’s happy face. That is the happiest time for me.

Watercolour is a very flexible medium. It is easy to do even in a bus or on an airplane with a tiny pan paint pallet and a pad of paper on your lap. I would like to spread the idea that watercolour is lots of fun.

Thanks, Midori!

© 2017 Sophie Marine

Thursday, September 14, 2017

DPW Spotlight Interview: Patricia Musgrave

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

From Patricia's DPW Gallery:

I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, and am a life-long painter. Gardens, florals and still life have been my subjects of choice, but landscape painting is where I believe I find the most challenge. Color is both a quest and reward. I never get tired of finding new ways of exploring color harmonies.

I believe that a good painting aught to be more than a two-dimensional object. It should not only provide pleasure, but must also give inspiration to the viewer that stays with them after they have moved on to look at something else. That is my goal with every painting I create.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I can’t remember a time not painting! But I suppose it would have been in pre-school or kindergarten, like many others. My mother was an artist at a time one was supposed to put away those fanciful ideas and be a wife and mother, but the artistic influence was always there.

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

Of course! I always thought of myself as an artist, but there were times other things seemed more important, but it was the birth of my daughter that got me truly serious about my work. I wanted to be a good role-model for her. Now, I try not to let anything get in the way, but life does.

Painted Roses
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I felt the connection to painting early on, and was never seduced by print making or sculpture, although I like them very much. I hope to come back in my next life and be a sculptor (and an opera singer), but I was always drawn to the colors, and thick and tactile quality of oil and acrylic paint.

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

As a younger artist, I was very interested in abstract art, but gradually came to see realism and all its intricacies as the greater challenge. I do have a variety of styles, and that’s because to me, each painting is different. From idea to execution, things develop - and change - and often the media or paint application needs to change as well.  Color has always been the most intriguing element to me. It's allure - the warmth and coolness of tones, the mixing of colors and where you place them, that has been the key element in my art.

Sheep in the Road
(click to view)

What are your goals as a painter?

I look forward to painting more and painting better! Even though I have painted for decades, I feel like I have not reached my high-water mark. Whether it is to paint “the perfect painting” or to reach and succeed at a higher level, I just don’t know yet, but I look forward to finding out "the journey".

Who or what inspires you most?

I’d like to say everything does, but to be more specific, daily life inspires me - I try and see the beauty in everything I look at, and be open to ideas. My fellow artists also inspire me - not just the masters, but we live in a time where there is a lot of really good art being made, and I feel constantly inspired.

Late Summer Sunflowers
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you? 

All the other stuff when I’m not painting. Appointments you can’t get out of, family visits, laundry, dinner, stuff. You have to be as vigilant as you can in your own interests.

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

First of all, I have regular painting hours that I keep sacred, and no one can bug me. I say “I’m sorry but I have to work”, even if I don’t get much done. Then I put on music, the music is an "audio reminder" that I’m supposed to be painting. I guess it’s all self-discipline. I think the discipline to keep working is as important as good paints and bushes.

Dusk, Lima, Peru
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I’d like to say that everything gives me ideas, but I guess it’s a mindset. I try and keep my “creative channel” open at all times. But I also get ideas from pictures, stories, other artists and what they’ve done - what colors and combinations they’ve used, what techniques, etc. It’s all “information in”.

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

Tough question. Assuming my art is fresh and vibrant, I try to keep a good mood while I'm painting (going into “ the zone”), and not paint on an important painting when I’m sick or feeling blah or upset. Looking at the great masters of history as well as current artists is also important, asking questions  - how did they do that, why does this work? Also, visiting museums, and galleries, seeing “real" paintings where ever I can.

Breakfast
(click to view)

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

How to improve on what I do. There is so much to know and understand. It’s a life long quest.

What makes you happiest about your art?

First, just doing it. The sheer joy of putting paint on a surface (usually canvas) and having it “work”. Then other peoples' appreciation, not the ego stuff, but the sharing of some inexplicable thing. They see this picture and feel happy or rewarded, and there’s some kind of a connection, human to human. That connection, to me, it is what it’s all about.

Thanks, Patricia!

© 2017 Sophie Marine

Thursday, September 7, 2017

DPW Spotlight Interview: Alina Vidulescu

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

From Alina's DPW Gallery:

I love to paint landscapes, and architecture but am also trying different subjects and styles. Most of my paintings are inspired by my travel. I love painting with acrylics but occasionally use oil.

I paint because:
• It makes me smile.
• I love yellow, purple and the smell of fresh cut grass.
• I love contrast.
• I like the way the brush sings. I paint anything that makes me happy.

My work is collected throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia.

See some of my sold work here: www.yessy.com/alinavidulescu

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I picked up the brushes pretty late in my life, and discovered that I probably loved painting all the time, and had no idea about it. I studied, and worked in the finance field, and while working in corporate America, I took up painting as a hobby. In 2008, after my work contract ended, with the support of my husband, I decided to give painting a chance. It took me a while before I was comfortable saying that I was an artist.

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

After my daughter was born, I guess I can say I stopped painting constantly. Now that she's started school, I am trying to paint a few times a week. My goal is to be a daily painter, and hopefully I'm not that far from achieving it.

Florence Panoramic View

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I started painting with oils, an odd choice for a beginner but just went with it. I loved it but because oils dry slow. When my storage was limited, I switched to acrylics. It's still my favorite medium.

Recently, I started experimenting with oil pastels. I'm still getting comfortable with them, so am sticking with acrylics for now, and playing with the pastels from time to time.

If I want some texture or something different, I am also working with sea shells and sand dollars, fabric and other things, and give mixed media/assemblage a go. My daughter also enjoys working with me on projects like these.

As far as genres, I love painting landscapes and cityscapes (rooftops especially), and also still life. I tried some abstract as well.

Landscape
(click to view)

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

Acrylic is definitely my favorite medium.

I don’t paint still life so often anymore, and abstract is something I don’t identify with.

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I definitely want to learn, and work more with oil pastels.

Who or what inspires you most?

I love the impressionists, but also a lot of contemporary artists.  I get inspired the most by my travels but also by every little thing. I always see paintings when I look around: be it the light on my neighbor's house, the sunset or the flowers I pick at the supermarket.

Prague Rooftops
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Internet is a big distraction, but in my defense I spend a lot of the online time looking at art.

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

Keep the studio area clean. I cannot start working on a new piece if things are everywhere!

Glenfarclas Distillery
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

As I said before, travel is a major inspiration for my paintings but really, inspiration is everywhere around me. The important thing is just to keep looking and find the beauty in all places and things.
When I feel I need a new idea, I always go back to the pictures I took on my trips. Looking at other artists' work is always inspiring as well.

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

I alternate the subjects when I feel it's time for a change. Also, I am changing my palette; using some colors I haven't used in a while, getting some new colors from my local art store. Sometimes taking a break also works wonders.

Alversund Norway Fjord
(click to view)

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

I am really trying to get to a looser style. I am working on learning when to stop, not over do it.

What makes you happiest about your art?

When I paint, I am the master of my own world. There are no limits or rules, just beautiful colors and pure joy!

Thanks, Alina!

© 2017 Sophie Marine

Thursday, August 31, 2017

DPW Spotlight Interview: Conny van Leeuwen

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

From Conny's DPW Gallery:

Conny van Leeuwen is a Dutch artist and is a member of Ars et Studium in the Netherlands. She has studied art in the Netherlands and in Belgium. Her subjects vary, because she loves everything around her.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

When I lived in Belgium, I took an art and antiques course. I got interested in paintings and their stories and also the different genres and kinds of medium. I wanted to try to paint too and be creative. My first attempt was an acrylic painting of tulips. I thought it was terrible, but then my mum saw the painting and she loved it (She definitely would say if it was bad). That’s when I got motivated and painted regularly.

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

Because of my demanding job in the hospitality business, I stopped painting. Then I got divorced and moved back to The Netherlands. Sitting in my new living room with my cats and looking at a very white wall, I thought, "There must be a colorful painting hanging on that wall." I made two and that’s when I started painting again.

Pink Peonies
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I tried acrylics, watercolors and oils. I have different genres, because I like so many styles and want to try them all.

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

The watercolor is not for me. I tried but it is difficult to make corrections when making a mistake. I use it sometimes in my sketchbook because that is for my eyes only and for experiments. I love my oils and that is the medium which works for me. It blends well and mistakes can easily be fixed by wiping it off.

Jack
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I am experimenting with gouache right now. After seeing James Gurney using the gouache, I got motivated to use them. It is drying very fast, so much more different then oils. A big challenge!

Who or what inspires you most?

Very much everything comes to me as an inspiration. Except black and dark things, like horror or evil things. I am a romantic and animal lover. Color makes me happy. Some painters who are my favorites: Henriette Rönner-Knip, Cornelis Raaphorst, Isaac Israëls, Monet, Van Gogh, Renoir and I love the work of Haidee Jo Summers.

Spilled Cherries
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Hours spending on the Internet/Instagram/Pinterest. I know it is time consuming, but it is an addiction. Nowadays, I start painting in the morning and allow myself to Instagram at lunchtime for an hour.

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

Three small paintings a week is what I have to make. That is a commitment to myself and I stick to it (except when I am ill).

Tulips from Amsterdam
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Everyday life. When I look at my cat, when shopping, when I ride my bike, a beautiful flower. There are so many beautiful things in life, we only have to open our eyes and watch.

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

I can’t paint a lot of the same subjects after another. I have to make a variety in subjects, styles and colors. Starting a sketchbook helped me a lot, especially for composition and getting better drawing skills. In the past it had to be perfect from the beginning, which put a lot of stress on me. Now I start mixing my colors and say to myself, “Let’s try and see what happens.”

Sweet Michelle
(click to view)

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

I feel free to do what I want and when I want. No pressure, that’s why I stopped doing commission work.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I am happy when people comment on my work. They don’t have to do that, but they do and it motivates me. Making art has given me a better look at my life and what I want.

Thanks, Conny!

© 2017 Sophie Marine

Thursday, August 17, 2017

DPW Spotlight Interview: Wawan Ms

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings. To enter to win Wawan painting, "abstract#558" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Wawan's DPW Gallery:

Hi, I am painter from Ciamis, a small town on Java Island Indonesia. My interest at drawing and painting began in early childhood but started to be neglected during college. And after I got bored working behind a computer as a Mechanical Design Engineer in capital for more than ten years, the joys and passion to paint came up and surrounded my life and made me decide to quit the job, go to my home town and become a full time painter on 2009. As a self-taught painter, I like to explore and do some experiment with many kinds of media such as: acrylic oil, sand, resin, pigment and digital. I'm not confined with one subject area, preferring varies project and media. For small size works mostly I use oil to expose texture, acrylic for bigger size to expose a melt from a aqueous media and sand for delicate a pencil point. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I became interested in drawing in elementary school since seeing a friend who was good at drawing. From there, I tried drawing on some media with friends ranging from making graffiti, t-shirts or greeting cards and it lasted until college.

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

After graduating from college and working in the automotive industry I stopped painting. I actually did not really leave the art world because my work is still related to the applied arts, just different media. And after several years of work, I decided to stay in the hometown and gather with family. And there I began to receive orders to paint the face with sand and Arabic calligraphy.

abstract#558
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I like to try various kinds of media ranging from pencils, acrylics, oil, watercolors, pastels, even with beach sand, it all depends on the effect to be achieved, as well as the technique. I do not limit myself. And as for the genre, I think, now I am more comfortable with the abstract style.

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

I think the one that makes me desperate is the watercolor, because sometimes it is not as expected and can not be repainted.

Lennon
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I am interested in developing natural sand paintings because there are still many possibilities that are produced. And not many people are using sand as an art medium. Also until now I hadn't challenged myself to have to make daily paintings.

Who or what inspires you most?

Most inspiration comes from the surrounding environment, landscape, skies, leaves, bushed. It's not the shape of things which I pay attention to but the colors and light. I like to observe colors. So many colors change even in the same thing, when the position of the light source changes, the wind blows. And surely there are some painters in Indonesia that affect me like Hanafi, Affandi, Srihadi Sudarsono and others.

CF#36
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Procrastination comes when you do not know when you have to stop playing with your phone. But the procrastination caused by family affairs is a blessing because you are still needed. :)

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

Daily painting. Forcing myself to touch the painting media every day, even if just scratching a sketch book.

BBB#38
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

In general the idea comes spontaneously through work, put oil or acrylic on an empty canvas, let the brush or pallet knife continue it. Although the results sometimes don't go as expected or fail.

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

When a painting is stumbling, leave it and take a new canvas. If necessary leave the studio and go for a walk.

al#21
(click to view)

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


I can manage my own work time so I have more time with family. And also because of my paintings I can have new friends, even outside my country.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I am very happy when people are pleased with my work and keep my work as well.

Thanks, Wawan!

© 2017 Sophie Marine

Thursday, August 3, 2017

DPW Spotlight Interview: Andrea Jeris

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

From Andrea's DPW Gallery:

"If you ask the sun why it shines it would answer, 'because it is my nature to shine.'" I paint because it is my nature to paint.Nature takes my breath away. Sometimes it is overwhelming. I look at it until it looks back, then I find there is an image haunting me until I sketch it or paint it. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

My dad signed up for the Famous Artist Painting Course (a mail correspondence art course with artists including Norman Rockwell) as a hobby. He lost interest in about three months and gave me all the supplies including a full set of oil paints. Woo Hoo! I was sixteen.

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

Entering college I wanted to go into art. My dad said I’d have to go into teaching or commercial art. I believed him and worked in graphic design for most of my life, painting only being a hobby. I didn’t paint at all the seven years I was married but I won’t go into that. Now retired from graphic design I am on my second career as a full-time painter and I love it.

Flowers in the Window
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I think I’ve tried every media except fiber and sculpture and wanted to do them all—HA! For a long time I was a landscape painter. In the past few years I have tried still life, floral, animals, and others, and have really enjoyed each. I’m delighted to discover I have new inspirations.

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

For years I went back and forth between oil and watercolor. Then I saw a demo on slow-drying acrylics and thought I could achieve both watercolor AND oil techniques in one medium. I painted in the “open" acrylics for three years. Then I took a workshop in oil and I remembered what I loved about oils. I have been painting in oils ever since.

Backyard
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I’m now dedicated to oil to hone my craft.

Who or what inspires you most?

All the great masters from the past, Rembrandt, da Vinci, Van Gogh, Monet, Sargent, Sorolla, Hopper, and others. And the artists who are making it now, Mary Whyte, Duane Keiser, Scott Christensen, Quang Ho, Carlos San Milan, Brian Rutenberg, Karen Jurick, and of course, Carol Marine.

Girl in the Garden
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

The Internet! It is such a time suck for me—looking at other people’s art.

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

Art before housework! Ha ha! I try to paint everyday. I used to think I needed a three hour block of time to be able to paint. Now if I have a half an hour I’ll take it. But usually I get in at least a half a day if not six or more hours.

Flower Farm
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

When I paint every day I start painting everything with my eyes constantly. The Chinese have what they call "The Ten Thousand Things."  "…among The Ten Thousand Things there is no ordinary thing." —The Zen of Seeing by Frederick Franck

From May through October I go out plein air painting once a week with friends. I take lots of photos as well, everywhere I go.  And I keep a list of ideas when the mood strikes.

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

I was painting very tight, almost photo-realistic. But felt that was too much about skill rather than expression. So I look to artists I admire, watch a video, tutorial, read art magazines, study techniques, and I keep trying to loosen up my work and we’ll see what happens. I’m still learning so much. Oh, and of course hit the museums and galleries.

Yellow Rose
(click to view)

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

It’s beneficial to experiment, and when I disengage from outcome I do my best work. That’s difficult because usually I have a picture in my head and if I can’t get it to come out on the canvas it’s frustrating. If I just say I’m going to try a technique to see what happens, and there is no expectation, any result is helpful to learning.

What makes you happiest about your art?

Oh, it takes me to another world, a very happy place.

Thanks, Andrea!


© 2017 Sophie Marine

Thursday, July 27, 2017

DPW Spotlight Interview: Valerie Lazareva

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

From Valerie's DPW Gallery:

My name is Valerie and I am a self-taught artist. A little about my work: All my work (with rare exception) are made from nature. I chose impressionism because it is «an explosion of emotion» and «feelings from the other side», respectively, in this direction, I develop my creativity. My works are made in my own original technique. It is a mixture of materials such as gouache, tempera and acrylic accents. I prefer all the tools -- used palette knife. As well known artists distinguish more shades of color, always in the process of contemplation. You may find it hard to believe, but all the colors that I use in the work I do see on a subject that I depict, but mostly pale shades. I deliberately exaggerating the color so that you will have been able to see what I see, I see what an incredible number of colors in world around us! Welcome to my world!

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

It's hard for me to remember what became the catalyst or starting event for the beginning of drawing. The most interesting thing that did not foreshadow anything and did not lead me to painting, in spite
of the fact that I was always a creative person, loved to sew my clothes at school and wanted to become a designer, was I created hand made jewelry and for some time sold it quite successfully. But all these passions quickly ended, became obsolete and became not interesting. After graduation, choosing a university and a further profession, I first thought about painting, but I followed a different
path, which, I thought, was also quite creative and interesting.

However, faced with the realities of life, I once again realized that I was wrong. And in 2012, when I was twenty-five, I started drawing with a pencil and looking for lessons on the net, I participated in various online flashmobs, including "365 days of drawing", I tried different materials for the first year and understood what I like about painting palette knitting - in particular Impressionism. I admire the French Impressionists of the late 19th century, I am close to their ideas, aspirations in painting and impressions from the world around us. In this direction, I have been developing my work for the fifth year collecting knowledge and information of interest to me. Now I dream of going to Paris, visiting museums (in particular the Museum d'Orsay) and see in the living paintings of Monet, Renoir, Degas and other impressionists.

Red Poppies
(click to view)

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

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

I think that stops are a part of process and are present at any creativity. I consider myself the cheerful person, but we are only people and are powerless over bad events which sometimes happen in our life. I am emotional and I take everything very much to heart - probably therefore during the difficult periods I can't draw.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

In due time, I tried almost all picturesque materials, such as pastel, acrylic, watercolor, but most of all I like gouache, love it for dullness and velvet. Recently, was fond of oil as it gives boundless opportunities for painting. I tried different genres, but always had thirst for the nature, landscapes and a plein air at heart.

Peaches
(click to view)

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

The "still life" for me is one of my favourite genres, and architecture doesn't especially inspires me as well as portraits (it is possible this will change).

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

Now all my desires and a creative power are directed to studying of a landscape and  plein air painting. Summertime passes too quickly. The nature and space live their own life and constantly change, and what you can't draw today - tomorrow already looks a little differently, differing in both color scale and the made impression.

What does procrastination look like for you?

Therefore, procrastination is a missed opportunity, which can no longer be ever.

Black Cat and Blossoming Apple
(click to view)

Who or what inspires you most?

Already about three years, as I was with my family (my man and our little daughter), we moved from the big city to the Karpatian mountain country on other end of the Ukraine. I studied all this time and I admire the nature surrounding me, but only now I find forces to try to represent the beauty of the world surrounding me. All of this is very difficult. Man in his history has created many beautiful things, including cities, and a majestic and stunning architecture, but human creation can not be compared to what the Lord God created - His majestic mountains, incredibly beautiful breathtaking sky, the sea, nature in all its Diversity. To at least try to portray all this, we need moral strength and a lot of courage. :)

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

Most likely it's my family, my beloved man and our daughter who support me and take on my responsibilities at home when I immerse myself in the world of painting and creativity. I am very grateful to them for their moral support!

The Sky at Sunset
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

As Louis Armstrong sang, I paint what surrounds me - this is the basis of my work. I would like to show people that even in the most ordinary, simple subjects there is a zest and even in the simplest, ordinary life with its everyday life and everyday life there is magic. It is easy enough to sometimes look up at the sky.

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

This feeling of inner contentment... It comes by itself, regardless of the time and labor invested in the drawing. It happens that the picture or sketch painted under the influence of the mood of the moment makes more impression than the work on which is spent a lot of time.

Yellow Shoes
(click to view)

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

I am always in the learning process, whether it's simple contemplation of nature, reading of teaching literature or master classes. As an artist, I see a variety of colors and all kinds of shades in the world around me and with every new work I'm getting closer to being able to convey this all as inspirationally as possible.

What makes you happiest about your art?

When I would say that happiness in art is a picture that turned out or a fee for work... And today I feel - it's not so important whether the picture looks idyllic, whether I am satisfied with the result of my work, whether I get money for it (although all this is also important) but the main thing is that I can see that all this there, all this Magic around! I think our mission on earth as artists, is to at least try to show it all to people. :)

Thanks, Valerie!

© 2017 Sophie Marine

Thursday, July 20, 2017

DPW Spotlight Interview: Emilia Leinonen

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

From Emilia's DPW Gallery:

I am a Finnish translator and an art enthusiast, born in 1972 and living in Finland. I have studied the theories and techniques of art-making on my own and on a few art courses.

In my work, I use mostly oil, water colour and dry pastel. The inspiration for my work comes from the nature and family life.

With my pictures, I wish to render the viewer a warm, pleasant feeling and a sensation of beauty. My aspiration is to capture the essence of the human nature and the timeless beauty of nature.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I started painting in 2003 when our first child was a baby. I had been playing the cello so far but obviously had to give that up for the time being. I craved art in some form and found painting. Tired but happy, I painted in pastels while the baby was sleeping. As the kid grew and two more were born, I continued painting.

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

I’m more or less waiting for the ‘start’ all the time as I’ve always had too little time to paint. I’m a translator by profession, and over the years, my work load has tended to increase. The past year has been especially tough, but now the situation is much better and I look forward to painting again.

Daffodils and Grape Hyacinths
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

Mostly because of the lack of time, I experiment too little. Seeing a beautiful painting done with an interesting technique makes me want to give it a try. I’ve tried acrylics, watercolour, gouache, dry pastel, oil pastel, ink, different drawing media and water-soluble oils. As to the genres, I’ve tried abstract painting on some courses but it seems that is not for me. I’m attracted to depicting the beauty of the natural world pretty realistically.

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

Transparent watercolour, dry pastel and oils are my favourites. I attended several courses on Chinese brush painting and found that fascinating, like meditation, but had to give it up to make room for the kids’ hobbies in our family timetable. I’ve also given up painting with acrylics, as they dry too quickly to suit my pace.

Towards Spring
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I look forward to plain-air painting and landscapes, which probably have to wait until the kids have flown out of the nest. I’ve been working almost entirely on photographs so far.

Who or what inspires you most?

I love to paint what I know best: my family members and the flowers in our garden. It’s people’s personalities mirrored in their bearing and faces as well as the colours in nature that inspire me most. Sometimes I see an image that I feel instantly connected with and I know I have to paint it. ‘Face To Face’ is one of these paintings. DPW is a very important source of inspiration for me. If I need a quick surge of energy, I look at My Picks, and if I need to cheer up, I read the kind comments my wonderful fellow-artists have sent me.

Face to Face
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Procrastination is lurking behind every corner for me: there is always a hoard of domestic chores waiting for my spare moment to blame me for being a bad house-keeper. I try to keep them at bay by repeating to myself that the house is there for me, not the other way around.

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

I’m working towards being a part-time translator as I was earlier. Then I just go to the ‘studio’ (our utility room) at a certain time in the morning. The same thing during the weekends: when the kids have had their lunch and start their 1-hour computer game session, I try to leave the dishes alone and go to paint. I’ve learned it’s no use trying to paint at other times. I can’t concentrate as I want to be available for my family.

Summer Flowers in a Jug
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Invariably, I see something beautiful that strikes me. I rush to take a photo. It may take years until I get to actually painting it, but if the photo is good, I can still see what I originally fell in love with.

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

I haven’t experienced burnout in art – rather, it helps me not to reach that state in work life. I greatly admire freshness in art and achieving that is always a struggle for me. The lack of time tends to tighten up my style, so the idea of ‘painting for the bin’ is impossible for me. When a painting inevitably fails, I immediately start a new one on the same subject and try to make use of the mistakes I made earlier.

With an Umbrella
(click to view)

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

I feel like I’m at the point of realizing what ‘do what comes to you naturally’ means in practice in art. I greatly admire loose, bold, seemingly quick and spontaneous paintings and I’ve thought that’s how I should paint, too. But when I pick up the brush, it just does not happen. So why go against it? I’m about to give myself the permission to paint pretty tightly, like in my latest work ‘Daisies And Marigolds’. It’s hugely important to follow your true nature and enjoy the process. If I can afford, I can always buy one of those magnificent, loose paintings someone else has created. Or at least admire it on-screen.

What makes you happiest about your art?

Painting is like meditation, it offers an escape from the usual train of thoughts and daily worries. Seeing jewel-like colours on the palette thrills me even before I put them on canvas. By creating something beautiful I feel like I’m taking part in the elevation of humanity and the strife towards making this world a better place. I’m happy with my work when it pleases my own eye or delights even a single viewer.

Thanks, Emilia!

© 2017 Sophie Marine

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