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

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