Thursday, June 8, 2017

DPW Spotlight Interview: Betty Argiros

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

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

From Betty's DPW Gallery:

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

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

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

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

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

Reflection
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

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

Which ones have stuck and which ones have fallen away?

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

Path in the Sunny Pasture
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

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

Who or what inspires you most?

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

Acadia National Park
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

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

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

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

Storm Developing
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

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

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

Wild Flowers in the Meadow
(click to view)

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

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

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

What makes you happiest about your art? 

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

Thanks, Betty!

© 2017 Sophie Marine

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