Irma Ward

Irma Ward

 Esprit

Esprit

Describe the time you first realized that creating was something you absolutely had to do? How old were you? Who or what inspired you at the beginning of your art life?  Who or what inspires your art life today?

That would be the first time I held a paint brush and stood at an easel.  I was five years old, in kindergarten.  I was so excited and couldn’t wait to do it again.  I remember that I painted big flowers and made a big mess.  From that point on I wanted to work with anything involving a paint brush.

My father would take me to the art museum and that would feed my inspiration.  I recall a painting by Cezanne that really caught my eye and remember thinking how I wanted to paint like that.  The “how” often interests me more than the subject of a painting.  Learning the process of painting is what made me so passionate about painting.

Today, inspiration comes to me in many ways.  I like to see other artists paintings; abstract artists as well as realistic.  I go to museums and read books on art history.  I take a few workshops every year and work alongside other good artists.  I am constantly looking for a good subjects or scenes, sometimes translating those in to non-objective paintings.

Why do you make art?  What are you trying to communicate with your art?  What element(s) of your inner spirit is reflected in your art?

I have this need to create in one form or another and I like to express my love of color in my work.  When I go too long without doing something artistic, I get a bit anxious. 

Every painting has a different message.  It could be a report on a weather condition, a sentimentality, playfulness, mystery, or a puzzling subject.  My spirit is eclectic, and I don’t settle on one genre.

Is the atmosphere or design layout of your creative space/studio an important element in your creative process—why or why not?  Is there something—a keepsake, an inspirational quotation, a photograph—you keep in your studio for inspiration or motivation?

My studio space is where I spend most of my time when I’m not attending to family matters or painting en plein air (French for “outside”).  It was built to my specifications allowing room for teaching and storing the many materials that accumulate.  I am inspired by my students and by the availability of the tools and supplies that I need for a project.  I collect items that I think will be good teaching tools and still life subjects.  I have a good art reference library and many, many photographs that I frequently refer to for inspiration.

Also, plein air painting is my second studio.  Outside I have no limits.  I can set up anywhere and that allows me to share a moment in my life so that others can see through my eyes, so to speak.

 Red Buds

Red Buds

What kind of routines or rituals do you incorporate into your creative time? If you have one element or principle of art you enjoy working with the most, please describe it? 

I grew up under the mantra, “Work before play”, so it is hard for me to go to work in the studio when there are household or administrative chores to be done.  I try to blast through chores so I can head to the studio as soon as possible.  Sometimes I don’t get there until after supper, yet I do get there.

The element I enjoy working with the most is color.  I study all the other elements of art, but color stands out as being the one I want to understand the most.  I even find enjoyment learning about the technical aspects of the paints, which I believe are important to know.

Currently, which creative medium do you work in? What, if any, other creative medium would you love to pursue?

I mostly work with oils and acrylic paints.  I love the feel of oil and the fact that it is a very “forgiving” medium.   For my larger paintings, I use acrylics; mainly because they dry faster and are easier to work with larger brushes.

If I had the space and time, I would like to learn sculpturing and pottery.  I’ve always wanted to work with clay, but time and space are limiting factors.   

What is your most important artist tool?  How does this tool factor into your art making?

Importance varies depending on the project, but overall my brushes rank high. There is not one favorite; I like a variety; although, I do have a few “go to” brushes.  I like the look and feel of brushwork.  I constantly strive to have look-looking work.  Even though there are other tools for spreading paint, brushes are by far my favorite.

How do you keep yourself motivated?

I have never lacked motivation that I can remember.  The idea of going to my studio keeps me motivated; sometimes, too much so.  My biggest problem is choosing a subject or composition.  When this occurs, I go through magazines and photos until I find something that sparks my interest.

 Abyss

Abyss

What one piece of advice would you give to an artist just getting started?

Just one?  May I share a few?

·      It is important to learn the basics (composition, value, color, brushwork, perspective) and to practice, practice, practice.

·      Learn about value (tone – dark to light).  It trumps color, and composition trumps value.

·      Be patient with yourself.  There is much truth in the saying that, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”  With practice, you can build many Romes.

If you wish, please share with us any other aspect of your art life—professionally and/or personally—that hasn’t been answered in the above questions.

Being an artist is a lonely profession; not in the sense of feeling sorry for oneself, but that you must work alone most of the time.  In that space, it is very zen-like.  You are one with your tools, your painting and you connect with your subject no matter what it is.  Everything else is left outside your head.  It’s a very calming and meditative state. 

For what one thing would you like to be remembered?

I guess it would be for those that know me to remember me for being a patient and giving artist and teacher.  I love helping others learn to paint and I set up my studio with that in mind.  I care about my student-artists and hope they can feel that.  I try to exceed expectations in all that I do.

Describe yourself in one word.

Organized.  At least I like to think I am.  Ha!

http://www.irmaward.com

Vernita Bridges Hoyt

Vernita Bridges Hoyt

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Describe the time you first realized that creating was something you absolutely had to do? How old were you? Who or what inspired you at the beginning of your art life?  Who or what inspires your art life today?

I have always loved making art. My first art memory is of a coloring book and box of crayons my grandmother gave me when I was about 3 yrs. old.  I grew up in a small Texas town where art education was not offered beyond elementary grades in our school system. My mother saw talent, and when I was 9 years old she enrolled me in a summer art class with an independent artist. That was my introduction to oil paints, and I’ve loved them ever since. Fast forward 60 years, and I am still making art. Today my inspiration continues to come from within, and my focus is primarily portraits of pets and children.

Why do you make art?  What are you trying to communicate with your art?  What element(s) of your inner spirit is reflected in your art?

 I am driven by an inner passion to make art in one form or another. I try to communicate the essence of a subject; for instance, with pet portraits (or  children), I strive to capture the subject’s personality through the expression of the eyes. I might take artistic liberty with color or technique, but the eyes convey the spirit of the subject and must be right.

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Is the atmosphere or design layout of your creative space/studio an important element in your creative process—why or why not?  Is there something—a keepsake, an inspirational quotation, a photograph—you keep in your studio for inspiration or motivation?

My studio spaces have varied through the years from a small 3x4 ft. space to an extra bedroom to a commercial interior room with no windows to an industrial space with wonderful light streaming in through a wall of windows. I have learned the most important studio feature for me is to be in a space at home or very near home. Traveling long distances to a studio limits painting time. Good natural light is a must for me. My current studio is in an upstairs converted game room with plenty of shelving, space to move about, a northeast natural light, and a pleasant wind chime softly playing a tune outside the windows.

What kind of routines or rituals do you incorporate into your creative time? If you have one element or principle of art you enjoy working with the most, please describe it? 

Early mornings or late nights are the best times for me to paint. I like the quiet of either time without the sounds of traffic or phones ringing.

Currently, which creative medium do you work in? What, if any, other creative medium would you love to pursue?

I work in oil paints, watercolors, and soft pastels.

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What is your most important artist tool?  How does this tool factor into your art making?

When I feel the need to stretch and loosen up my technique, switching from brushes to palette knives does the trick. I’ve learned that changing tools or mediums can improve my skills across the board. As in all of life, I want to continue learning as long as I am living.

How do you keep yourself motivated?

Life itself keeps me motivated to paint.

What one piece of advice would you give to an artist just getting started?

To all beginning artists, I advise you to paint, draw, or sketch something daily. Practice, practice, practice makes perfect (or as close to perfect as possible), and painting/drawing/creating something daily will quickly improve your art skills. We learn by doing.

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If you wish, please share with us any other aspect of your art life—professionally and/or personally—that hasn’t been answered in the above questions.

Although I graduated with honors from high school, I married and had my family first before ever thinking about college. At the age of 41 years, I applied and was accepted into the nationally accredited College of Architecture at the University of Houston, graduated with the five-year degree Bachelor of Architecture Cum Laude at the age of 46. This was absolutely one of the best and fulfilling accomplishments of my life.

For what one thing would you like to be remembered?

This is difficult to answer because I’ve never focused on one thing. I’ve always wanted to try my hand at many creative pursuits. I suppose you could remember me as being curious, a multi-tasking sort of Renaissance woman.

Describe yourself in one word.

Compassionate.

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Steven DaLuz

Steven DaLuz

 Communion      oil, metal leaf on panel, 48" x 60"

Communion      oil, metal leaf on panel, 48" x 60"

Describe the time you first realized that creating was something you absolutely had to do? How old were you? Who or what inspired you at the beginning of your art life?  Who or what inspires your art life today?

I was probably in middle school when I realized that art was something very important to me.  I did not know how, but I knew I would be making art in some form throughout the course of my life. From a young age, I had access to art books at home, because my father was a part time artist, and he had a pretty good library of art history books.  I could not get enough of those images by many of the old masters--Rembrandt, Carravaggio, Turner, Durer, Leonardo--so many others.  Today, I am inspired by the notion of the spirit of humankind--the "inner being", the sublime, and the mysterious, spiritual aspects of our existence.

 Voyager       oil, metal leaf on panel, 48" x 60"

Voyager       oil, metal leaf on panel, 48" x 60"

Why do you make art?  What are you trying to communicate with your art?  What element(s) of your inner spirit is reflected in your art?

This is a big question.  Honestly, I don't really question why I make art.  I suppose I make it because I have to.  I am not particularly interested in specific "narrative" in my work (although I enjoy great narrative art); rather, I prefer to make evocative work that will hopefully spark questions within the viewer--generating some kind of emotional response.  While I appreciate intellectual stimulation, my work is not really about that.  I hope to tap into areas of feeling....more visceral concerns and impressions.  I like to consider matters that go beyond our understanding of this physical realm.  First, I am equally interested in abstraction and figuration, so I do not fight it.  It is simply how my brain is wired.  Most of my "abstractions", are only partially abstract, in that they refer to something real or that could be real.  I like to create the "idea" of a place, whether steeped in reference to landscape, or to celestial forms.  As I paint these, I am transported to another realm in my mind.  Because they are mostly from my imagination, I just allude to the notion of some environment that may allow the viewer to bring up a memory of someplace they have been, or would like to be.  They have a vague recollection, but the place is usually not literal.  The ethereal properties of light suggest a source that can be otherworldly.   Light has the ability to reveal...and the capacity to blind. Is it the sun?  Is it from within?  Is it beyond?  I leave that for the viewer to decide.  By creating voids and vaporous depictions, I increase the likelihood the viewer will complete the picture for themselves.  In synthesizing the figure into some of these works, I engage my passion for painting the figure...but, I also believe that because we are humans, we relate to the figure.  If I disguise features, or obscure identity, I allow the form to become more universal.  In doing this, I hope the viewer can relate to the figure and imagine themselves in such a setting. Most of the work I create have some unconscious, spiritual component to them.  The older I have gotten, the more I have come to believe that everything in the universe is connected.  I can barely begin to fathom the great depths of the mysteries the cosmos offers, yet we are a part of it. I believe we are more than this physical "shell" that is our corporeal body.  The idea of a "one-ness" between humankind and the universe has become something of a fascination for me.  I do not try to supply any answers to life's big questions with my work...I simply try to visually express some of my thoughts and feelings to help feed that "yearning" that we have, as humans, to know that we are not alone in this vast plane of existence. 

 Crossover         oil, metal leaf on panel, 52" x 42"

Crossover         oil, metal leaf on panel, 52" x 42"

Is the atmosphere or design layout of your creative space/studio an important element in your creative process—why or why not?  Is there something—a keepsake, an inspirational quotation, a photograph—you keep in your studio for inspiration or motivation?

I do not have the distraction of social media in my studio.  Music is a must.  When I am physically engaged in the act of painting, I often prefer music that is ethereal, instrumental, or that does not have lyrics that I can understand.  The music supports the environment I am trying to create in the work.  If I am simply prepping or doing more mundane tasks other than painting, I can listen to just about anything but gangsta rap and death metal.  I have gallery track lights installed in my studio, so I can replicate the kind of lighting conditions that will be present when I show the work in a gallery.  There are many art books and magazines in my studio that I sometimes pause to enjoy and from which I can get a shot of inspiration.  I keep some older, "bad" paintings in my studio to remind me of where I have been, and to spur me on to make better work today than I made yesterday.

What kind of routines or rituals do you incorporate into your creative time? If you have one element or principle of art you enjoy working with the most, please describe it? 

I pour myself something cold to drink, then I spend about 20-30 minutes just sitting back from the work I did the day before, looking at it...studying it.  Often, I do some curls with small dumbbells while I sit and look at the work.  This gets my blood pumping, and helps me to focus.  When ready, I lay out my palette, get my materials together, and get cracking.

Currently, which creative medium do you work in? What, if any, other creative medium would you love to pursue?

I primarily work with oil and metal leaf on composite aluminum panels.  I also work with encaustic and other mixed mediums.  There is virtually no medium that I am unwilling to try, with the exception of highly toxic or dangerous materials

 Messenger 2       Encaustic, 12" x 12"

Messenger 2       Encaustic, 12" x 12"

What is your most important artist tool?  How does this tool factor into your art making?

I know you probably mean a physical implement of some kind, but, I believe my most important artist tool is my imagination.  Without vision, the tools I use are of no consequence whatsoever. I often tell younger artists when they ask me about pricing, a buyer does not pay for your work based upon how much time you spent on it, or upon the materials you used to create it...they are paying for your VISION!  They are paying for your unique voice.  Find THAT and use it fully.

How do you keep yourself motivated?

I am motivated by the journey itself.  I am endlessly amazed at the way inspiration can come from anywhere--a book I am reading, something someone says to me, something I have seen on TV, a poem, a doodle, thoughts while walking in nature or standing in the shower, the turn of someone's head in a restaurant...  I think if we would just stop, be quiet,  and just pay attention more to everything around us, we would be so much better off when it comes to "inspiration" and motivation.

 Desert Song       oil, metal leaf on panel, 40" x 60"

Desert Song       oil, metal leaf on panel, 40" x 60"

What one piece of advice would you give to an artist just getting started?

Don't be too hard on yourself.  Whatever you lack in knowledge that is keeping you from your goals, go out and get it!

 For what one thing would you like to be remembered?

How I treated others.

 Describe yourself in one word.

Persistent.

 Sleepwalker 3        encaustic, 12" x 12"

Sleepwalker 3        encaustic, 12" x 12"

Interview: Mark Nesmith

Mark Nesmith

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Describe the time you first realized that creating was something you absolutely had to do? How old were you? Who or what inspired you at the beginning of your art life?  Who or what inspires your art life today?

I’ve drawn since I was a child. There wasn’t much art in our home but there were plenty of books. I’d take the encyclopedias off the bookshelves and copy the pictures. Growing up Catholic I saw lots of religious imagery too. I think of the stained glass windows and stations of the cross at St. Anne in Beaumont as my first art museum. I’ve never thought artists are necessarily different from anyone else. Drawing was just something I did. It satisfied my curiosity.

When I was young my older sister Marsie helped me create little costumes and things out of paper and took an interest in my drawings. She encouraged me. Drawing got me through many school book reports.

I took my first art class as a freshman in high school and hated it. I couldn’t stand the teacher. He’d take the brush or pencil out of your hand and make your work the way he wanted it. I dropped after one semester and spent the rest of high school in band.

It wasn’t until I’d bounced around majors for a couple of years in college that I enrolled in another art class. I took a drawing class with Larry Leach at Lamar University and loved it, but I wouldn’t let myself consider art as a major. I thought I needed a business degree or something for a career. Larry took me aside one day and asked me why I wasn’t studying art. When I told him that I needed a good degree for a job, he said I had it backwards. He said first get good at what you love, and then you’ll find a way to earn a living from it. Simple advice, but it made sense to me. I’d go by his studio sometimes. He had this great space in an old empty bar downtown. That was my first glimpse of a working artist. I took more classes from him and he introduced me to oil painting. He became very successful around that time which helped me believe I could do it too.

Why do you make art?  What are you trying to communicate with your art?  What element(s) of your inner spirit is reflected in your art?

I make art because I need to. There’s just too much rattling around inside my head to not let it out. Much of my work is inspired by the culture, wildlife, and landscapes of Texas and Louisiana near where I live. I happily spent my childhood roaming the woods, bayous, and beaches here. This emotional attachment to the terrain of my youth is my foundation. I want to make paintings like a good gumbo, rich in color with depth and layers of flavor and full of memories and imagination. Two themes reoccur, un-peopled landscapes that revel in the splendid beauty of nature, and narratives populated by wildlife personifying human traits. These somewhat whimsical tall tales reflect my unease with mankind’s relationship to nature and tackle subjects ranging from war and peace to consumerism and our society’s growing reliance on modern technology and media. I’ve always had an overactive funny bone. I spent some time as an editorial cartoonist in college. I think this side of my personality really comes out in these paintings.

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Is the atmosphere or design layout of your creative space/studio an important element in your creative process—why or why not?  Is there something—a keepsake, an inspirational quotation, a photograph—you keep in your studio for inspiration or motivation?

I’m more pragmatic than many artists I’ve met. I don’t need anything particular to create. I’ve worked in the living room, garage, or a spare bedroom. I don’t want any special requirements. That just seems like excuses not to paint. I’ve been very fortunate the last few years to have room available where I teach middle school art. I have an easel set up in the back of my classroom. It’s a very spacious environment with high ceilings and good natural light. I often paint before and after classes, at lunch, and whenever there’s a spare moment during my day. I’m still able to view my work when I’m not painting which has become a kind of critique process for me. My students often comment and ask questions about pieces I’m working on too. I think they learn from seeing my process and I certainly learn and gain inspiration from them.

Art and music are my anti-drugs. They keep me centered and balanced. If I go a while without creating I’m on edge. As far as inspiration, it’s all around me, the landscape, the people, news of the day, anything really. I find that work begets work. The more I paint the more ideas I have for new paintings. I often have several canvases drawn up and waiting for me to get around to finishing. I’m constantly taking photographs on my phone and have files of reference material and ideas on my computer. I tend to draw images when the initial idea comes together then come back to it again when I have time to really work through the painting end of things.

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What kind of routines or rituals do you incorporate into your creative time? If you have one element or principle of art you enjoy working with the most, please describe it? 

My routine is simple. It pretty much involves scraping the previous days’ paint off of my glass palette, putting out fresh piles of paint, and picking a playlist on iTunes to listen to while I work. I often paint to blues or jazz, but some days find me rocking the Foo Fighters, Soundgarden, or the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I don’t know that I have any particular favorites in terms of the elements or principles of art. I don’t think of them in a precise manner when working. Color obviously plays a big part in my work, but I don’t work from any specific color theory other than playing cool hues against warm. I’m happily at a point where I feel like I’ve internalized the academic aspects of my craft and can let intuition guide my brush.

Currently, which creative medium do you work in? What, if any, other creative medium would you love to pursue?

I’m primarily an oil painter, although I love charcoal and pastels too. I spent time in the past working in watercolors too, but oils are really my passion. I love everything about oil paint: the smell, the vibrancy of color, the buttery feel on the brush, the texture. I favor stiff bristle brushes and usually use a simple mix of stand oil and turpentine as a medium. Much of my ideas of handling color and brushstrokes actually come from the years I spent working with pastels. I’ve experimented with numerous materials and styles over my lifetime as an artist. What comes out now is a natural synthesis of all of those explorations. I think working in other media can often shed new light on the materials you’re already using. In college I did a bit of sculpture, and I’ve been thinking lately that some of my current ideas would make interesting 3D works so that may be something I pursue in the future. I recently saw a wonderful exhibit of encaustic works by another local painter and am kind of fascinated by that medium. I’d love to have the chance to explore it in the future. 

What is your most important artist tool?  How does this tool factor into your art making?

Sketchbooks have always been important for me, and these days I think of the camera on my phone as an extension of my sketchbook. I snap pictures constantly. I’ll manipulate and edit them and have multiple viewpoints of the same subject. Sometimes I even take pictures when I’m drawing from life as a supplemental reference. All of these images just sort of simmer beneath my conscious mind until they begin to merge with the spark of an idea. When I start fleshing it out I might have 5-6 photos open at a time and combine them as I draw on the canvas. I tend to plan out my paintings with charcoal first. This gives me a kind of road map. Eventually memory and imagination take over, especially when paint and color get involved. It all feels very organic and

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How do you keep yourself motivated?

Artists often use the words motivation and inspiration interchangeably. Personally I think writers or artists block is kind of a myth. I don’t think you ever just lose your ability to create. I think it’s more about self-discipline. We’re all creatures of habit. If sitting around waiting for something to happen is your habit, then often nothing happens. My habit is to go to the easel 5-6 days a week. Some days are better than others, but each day builds towards something. I had a few years where art was on the backburner. I’d had a few surgeries and my marriage was ending. I wasn’t feeling inspired and rarely found time to paint. Life just seemed too busy. It was easy to make excuses and not go to the easel. I hadn’t disciplined myself to work. Finally I started doing small daily paintings. It didn’t matter if I had any great ideas. I painted anything and everything just to paint. Since the canvases were small I could finish one in an hour or two. I had no more excuses. Soon I had a stack of paintings that started to look like a unified body of work. Eventually the ideas started flowing and the paintings grew larger.

What one piece of advice would you give to an artist just getting started?

Go to your studio and make stuff. Don’t wait for inspiration. Get to work. The great masters spent more time with a brush or chisel in their hands than we realize. The more you create, the better you’ll get, and the more inspired you’ll feel. Study technique and learn your craft. Don’t worry too much about being shocking or different. Be yourself. If you’re true to yourself your art will be uniquely yours.

If you want to make a career of art, you also have to work on the business end of things. Study marketing. Learn about websites and social media. Learn how to take good digital pictures of your artwork. Technology is here to stay. Learn how to communicate effectively, how to write a cover letter, a resume, and how to approach galleries. Don’t think someone will just discover you. Promote yourself. You have to believe in your own art first. With the Internet there’s no reason for your work to go unseen. Look for every opportunity to show your work. Start now. Don’t wait until you think you’re ready. If you don’t know how, find resources to help. There are lots of great books and articles out there. “I’d Rather Be in the Studio” by Alyson Stanfield is a great book with practical advice about building a career as an artist.

For what one thing would you like to be remembered?

I’d like to be remembered for how I’ve loved.

Describe yourself in one word.

Resilient.

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Interview: Judy Wilder Dalton

Judy Wilder Dalton

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NOTE:  In the spirit of inviting positive energy for a new year of all-things-art...this interview with Artists of Texas membership chairwoman, Judy Wilder Dalton, will be an expanded publication.  We greatly appreciate Judy making time in her busy art and life schedule to conduct this interview and to share so much of her wisdom and talent.  Here's to 2018 and a year of art-full joy for you all.    In-Joy; Enjoy!  Susie Kelly Flatau, AOT Interviews

As you look forward to the 2018 Creative Year, what is it you wish to accomplish this upcoming year in your Artist Life?

My goal for this year is to provide some online art classes that will be fun, and inspiring without taking a lot of time commitment to me or my students.

As you reflect back upon your Art Life during 2017, what would you say have been the top 3 art moments for you?  Why?

The top moments for 2017 were the invitations for a few solo shows and workshops in the Hill Country, Houston, Dallas and North East Texas areas. I love the opportunity to teach and meet artists. Getting to be around artists is always inspiring for me and I always learn when I teach.

You have a very vibrant and rich artist FB page and blog and website (thank you for your daily inspiration!!).  How do you motivate yourself to post to your art social sites on such a regular basis?  What guidelines do you personally follow?

I could do much better with a regular schedule of posting.  Something I will work on more in 2018. I think being a part of groups like Artists of Texas and Daily Paint Works.com  has been a motivator for me to keep my work on social media.  I love the feedback and it is very encouraging when selling online.  I try to cross post and encourage Facebook followers to visit my website often.

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What are your top three suggestions to artists on creating and maintaining an art presence on FB or any social media such as an art blog or website?

1.     When I post a photo of my art, I prefer to post it as a link from one of my             websites.

2. On Facebook, limit the number of post each day that you are “selling” your work.  Try to space those out and give your followers information and tell them about what you are doing in the studio.  In other words,  let them see more about how you produce your art.  Allow followers to get to know you as well as your work.

3. Do set up a professional art page on Facebook and lead your followers to your professional website.  I post all my art and art activities there on my professional art page and the then I will share that post each day on my personal page.

I don't use twitter or Instagram.  I know that both are also good, but I just use Facebook.  I use a newsletter and I only send it out a few times a year.  For 2018 I will attempt to send out one a month.

Promoting one’s art can often feel overwhelming.  Do you ever feel overwhelmed as you work to get your art out into the world?  If so, how do you overcome that sensation? 

Yes, of course. It seems to become a job that no one likes.  I'd just rather be in the studio and behind the easel. I try to think of it as sharing my work.  Sometimes it just feels like I am being pushy. 

It is understood that an artist portfolio is an important aspect of developing your artist life.  Your portfolio is dynamic and impressive.  What are some guidelines/tips that you follow for portfolio development?  (taking photographs of you art work, social media, online galleries, art website, workshops, etc.)

I make my art website the center of my portfolio and all other online galleries, and social media link back to the main website. 

I take photos of my work as it is completed. And I make sure I have a high quality and high resolution of each one. A small resolution for online galleries is also saved.  I save those images together on an external hard drive.  

I post each image to my main website and then link to the other online galleries or the brick and mortar galleries that is representing the painting.  I also mark any painting that is out to a show as “on hold” to avoid selling one twice.  That actually happened to me one time and I was so sorry to disappoint the second client and have to return the money that had sent.   It was a mistake that the wrong one had been marked sold.

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In the spirit of sharing, would you provide some of the art resources and sources (supplies, marketing, websites, etc.) that have been helpful in growing your artist life? 

Dailypaintworks.com  (online gallery and art auction)

artistsoftexas.org          (The mission of the Artists of Texas is to celebrate, advance and promote art in the State of Texas.   Artists of Texas is committed to providing art         education opportunities, scholarships, painting workshops, marketing and                 technological support, and encouragement to its members, at all levels of membership. Levels of membership include Master Signature, Signature and Professional, and members must be current residents of the State of Texas.)

www.americanframe.com        custom frames and matting

artbizcoach.com       Alyson Stanfield,  Art Coach

faso.com                      Fine Art Studio Online, professional websites for artist

www.cheapjoes.com

www.jerrysartarama.com

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Describe the time you first realized that creating was something you absolutely had to do? How old were you? Who or what inspired you at the beginning of your art life?  Who or what inspires your art life today?

I can't remember the first time I realized that creating was what I had to do.  It was just what I always seemed to do. From a young child with a vivid imagination building pretend houses to a young adult, it seems I was always drawing, painting, sewing, crocheting and trying to see what I could make myself. I even chose the very creative job of hairstylist to give me time to study art. In my early twenties, I met a good friend that had the same interest in art as me.  We joined a local art guild that met once a month for demos and several art competitions each year. From there on, I took as many workshops and classes as I could and became a art book addict. Connecting with other artists and being involved in learning has inspired me to try many art mediums and to always challenge myself to accomplish.

Why do you make art?  What are you trying to communicate with your art?  What element(s) of your inner spirit is reflected in your art?

I create art because that is just my nature, I think.  I don't really try to communicate as I am creating art.  I am just expressing how I react to the world around me.  I do hope that my art shows that and will connect with others in some emotional or spiritual way.  But if it doesn't, it really doesn't matter, because the art is about connecting the moment and me while I experience it.

Is the atmosphere or design layout of your creative space/studio an important element in your creative process—why or why not?  Is there something—a keepsake, an inspirational quotation, a photograph—you keep in your studio for inspiration or motivation?

I love a big window!  For light of course, but most of all to be in touch with the outdoors.  I am not much of a plein air painter, but I have to see outside.

My art books always have a place in my studio.

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What kind of routines or rituals do you incorporate into your creative time? If you have one element or principle of art you enjoy working with the most, please describe it? 

Music playing in the background.

Currently, which creative medium do you work in? What, if any, other creative medium would you love to pursue?

I love working in pastels and also in oil.  I work in many mediums and love experimenting with new ones.  I worked in clay for a short time and loved it, but that was a medium I found needed much time devoted to it and I was not willing to give up color to pursue it. I think I might like to try encaustics some day.

What is your most important artist tool?  How does this tool factor into your art making?

My imagination.  Letting my imagination respond to shapes, colors and lines on the surface I am working on.

How do you keep yourself motivated?

Making time for idle time.  I need time to myself and time to just let my mind begin to wonder.  Sometimes that is spurred on by simply cleaning the studio. Finding old work or unfinished work stuck away and forgotten can bring up old thoughts and plans.

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What one piece of advice would you give to an artist just getting started?

Spend time in galleries and museums, attend demos and workshops. Emulate others but never just copy. 

If you wish, please share with us any other aspect of your art life—professionally and/or personally—that hasn’t been answered in the above questions.

I hope that my art reflects how I see life, with great appreciation.

For what one thing would you like to be remembered?

Hopeful that I would be remembered for creating colorful and cheerful art.

Describe yourself in one word.

Sharing

www.judywilderdalton.com

 

 

Interview: Ann McCann

Ann McCann

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Describe the time you first realized that creating was something you absolutely had to do? How old were you? Who or what inspired you at the beginning of your art life?  Who or what inspires your art life today?

I always did arts and crafts in the summer when I was a kid and sewed clothing as a teenager.  But, as far as making “art,” that didn’t start until my daughter was 6 years old (I was 40 something).  She showed talent in drawing, so I enrolled her in the Lakewood Arts Academy, a program for children run by Barley Vogel.  It looked like fun, and I thought that drawing skills would help me create visuals for my lectures at the dental school.  This was before so much software was available for this.  I started in an adult drawing course and started painting soon after.  I did plein air painting for fifteen years with Suzanne Kelly Clark and still take painting classes with Niki Gulley.   I like painting the landscape, and my mother inspired a love of flowers. She cherished her own flower beds well into her 80s.

Why do you make art?  What are you trying to communicate with your art?  What element(s) of your inner spirit is reflected in your art? 

I like the excitement of being “in the flow” of painting.  I guess I need to paint.  Right now I can only paint on the weekends, so I really look forward to it.  I want my paintings to make people feel good when they look at them or take them back to an event or person that makes them feel loved or happy.  I am a “cup half full” person, rather than a “cup half empty,” so I want people to feel that optimism from my paintings.

Is the atmosphere or design layout of your creative space/studio an important element in your creative process—why or why not?  Is there something—a keepsake, an inspirational quotation, a photograph—you keep in your studio for inspiration or motivation?

My daughter is an artist/working architect who went to an arts magnet high school. My “studio” is her former bedroom, and I keep her art all around me for inspiration.

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What kind of routines or rituals do you incorporate into your creative time? If you have one element or principle of art you enjoy working with the most, please describe it? 

The only routine I can think of is I like to sketch with ink and watercolor.  That is primarily what I do when I travel so I don’t have to take so much equipment with me. With my painting, color is the thing I focus on the most, intense and the contrast of complements.

Currently, which creative medium do you work in? What, if any, other creative medium would you love to pursue?

Mostly oil.  I also do house portraits in ink and watercolor.  I love the spontaneity of pastels.  I worked a lot with them in the past and would like to do more of it. I don’t like the fact that they are more fragile and require matting, glass, framing etc.

What is your most important artist tool?  How does this tool factor into your art making?

A pointed knife.  I mostly use knives to create my paintings.  I love the serendipitous strokes and blending that occur with a knife as well as the thick paint that can be applied.

How do you keep yourself motivated? 

I certainly have to like my art before I share it but having others like/want my paintings keeps me motivated.  Getting better and better at my art is also very motivating

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What one piece of advice would you give to an artist just getting started?

You will have to create interest in (market) your art, so focus on making relationships with many people to share your art with.

If you wish, please share with us any other aspect of your art life—professionally and/or personally—that hasn’t been answered in the above questions.

I look forward to retiring from my job as a college professor and painting full time.  I also look forward to spending more time with other artists.

For what one thing would you like to be remembered?

My paintings made viewers feel good- evoked happy memories.

Describe yourself in one word.

Becoming……………………….  All the adjectives that came to mind- continuous learner, aesthete, seeker, innovator, change maker-  fit into this one word.

http://annmccann.net

Interview: Marcy Ann Villafaña

Marcy Ann Villafaña

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Describe the time you first realized that creating was something you absolutely had to do?

 I am not sure. I just know when I create I feel complete… a sense of freedom.

How old were you?

I must have been about 8.

Who or what inspired you at the beginning of your art life? 

Walt Disney. Being born in California, what kid wasn’t. The Magic Kingdom and the saturated colors of the California Ocean, happiness, the belief in myself, the belief that there is no such thing as the impossible or the unimaginable…only dreams not brought to life…yet.

Who or what inspires your art life today?

Everything in nature…but the sky, ocean, the mystique of the feminine form, and the innocence & love of animals, all are very empowering in a spiritual sense.  I guess that is a rather cliché answer. In truth – I enjoy the freedom nature, the motions, sounds and the inner breath that speaks to me.

Why do you make art?

Making art brings me an inner sense of joy, of peace, of oneness… a connection to source.  It’s something I find incredibly hard to put into words.

What are you trying to communicate with your art? 

Not really a message maker or story teller that I am aware of.  I know people like to read into my work placing their own experience and inner issues on my work. I am not that heady - that is their reality. I create for me, my sense of freedom – spiritual freedom, emotional freedom, my desire to be fearless....to simply an truly be.

What element(s) of your inner spirit is reflected in your art?

I hope my liveliness, strength, and joy is what is being reflected. But you never know what others see.

Is the atmosphere or design layout of your creative space/studio an important element in your creative process—why or why not?

My internal mental atmosphere is just as important to me. I like my studio to be light and airy so I can feel safe to create… free from judgment or expectation from those around me.

Is there something—a keepsake, an inspirational quotation, a photograph—you keep in your studio for inspiration or motivation?

Spiritual quotes, sand, shells, rocks, pictures of the oceans & skies – my happy things, and of course I have to say my biggest motivational help is my music.

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What kind of routines or rituals do you incorporate into your creative time?

There is no rhyme or reason…. Otherwise I feel my work would be more contrived or manufactured.  I know I like to have some music and sunshine. But not all art is created in a mood making, feel good day.

If you have one element or principle of art you enjoy working with the most, please describe it? 

COLOR.. color sets the mood, continues the expression, and the inspiration evolves.

Currently, which creative medium do you work in?

I work in three very different styles and mediums: charcoals & graphite, acrylic paints, and papers – layers and layers of handmade or hand painted papers hand cut to create an image to awe.

What, if any, other creative medium would you love to pursue?

I would love to work in- metals and glass!

What is your most important artist tool?  

The desire to create is my most valued artist tool.

How does this tool factor into your art making?

The desire to create beauty is the only factor in the creation of my art.

How do you keep yourself motivated?

Meditation, inspirational quotes, gratitude mantras, self-discovery stories, photography, and laughter keep me motived and inspired.

What one piece of advice would you give to an artist just getting started?

Create, create, create, create, and then create more. NEVER worry about what others think or see. Just follow your heart and be you!

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If you wish, please share with us any other aspect of your art life—professionally and/or personally—that hasn’t been answered in the above questions.

“As a young child I drew on any and everything, making my mark on all my surroundings. I drew anything I could imagine. I was blessed in always having drawing tools, glue and scissors at my disposal. I was even cutting my sisters’ eye lashes off at the age of three, without my parents’ permission of course. A very exact and precise form of cutting and drawing soon developed.

Inspired by the works of Disney in my early childhood, and the heavy influences of Patrick Nagel, Robert Wyland and Robert Mapplethorpe, a child of the 80s’, I derived my own style through my love of cutting paper. This form of art is an expression of my need to control my environment. Unlike other artists who can paint and draw (which I do as well), I find my satisfaction in the precision of cutting the papers with a plain old Exacto knife and their textures. Nothing new… nothing fancy. No templates… no machines. Not the new cutting techniques or gadgets…no curved blades, just my hands, my eyes, and a straight blade. I developed this style when I teenager because of my near-sightedness.

My work is mostly of the feminine form. I see the beauty in the light and dark spaces of the figure and enjoy expressing it through color and or texture.

I have been exhibiting and selling my art since the late 80s, and have taken time in between to raise four children and grow a thriving art and marketing career in graphic and web design (ModCat Design.com) for the past 30 years.”

For what one thing would you like to be remembered?

That I was TRUE to MYSELF!

Describe yourself in one word. 

Unapologetic!  I refuse to apologize for my art. I refuse to apologize for the way my art makes people feel. My art isn’t for the masses. I create for me.

http://www.VillafanaArt.com

Interview: Linda Dumont

Linda Dumont

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Describe the time you first realized that creating was something you absolutely had to do? How old were you? Who or what inspired you at the beginning of your art life? 

My story will unfold.  When I was in grade school I would trace the Sunday newspaper fashion drawings lingering over details for hours. Arrange my dollhouse, constantly designing and changing the space. I had been iceskating since five years old in Pittsburgh at the Civic Arena with very talented skaters. They had already proved a work ethic. The rink was a large canvas the skaters merely statues on the canvas.

My artistic awareness had begun. My feel for dance, which will eventually be dance, then finessed itself into drawing.

My Great Uncle, Joseph Margulies an established painter was also visited in Gloucester each summer and New York on 87th street; which was his prominent studio where he painted portraits.  Art was around me but in a traditional way.  Piano and ballet filled my time till high school, and then fine arts lead the way.

I went to Baldwin School in Bryn Mawr Pennsyvania and Fine Arts was my major in high school.  I went to Moore College of Art studied fashion design. I discovered drawing and painting which held more interest than sewing garments for me.  I loved drawing the models and nudes and this led me to the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts then The Boston Museum School for four additional years.  The Rose Art Museum at Brandeise University was where I had my first art vision. Helen Frankenthaleur was my heroine.  I stood in front of her works and said I can do this. I want to express myself in this way.  My junior year I stretched huge canvases and was on my way to twenty-five years of nonobjective works.  Many corporations, law firms, and private homes gave me the opportunity to be creative in their space.

Cityscapes became another venue! My fantasy world was dissolving and architecture took its place and cityscapes became my muse for twenty years--all of it being commissioned work. I worked from photos and my career went into this direction.  My clients led the way.  As new commissions appeared, I said yes and made it happen by working on large canvases and sculptural shapes and putting my energy into making new colorful flashy cityscapes. 

Who or what inspires your art life today?

Today I have made a 360-degree turn.  I wanted to get out of my studio after 35 years and smell the life and air that makes my works breathe.  Back to nature. I started to paint "En plain air".  So today nature inspires me.  But I do love architecture of space and the figure and want to translate it, but in my way not in the traditional sense.  So I am really the composer striking by my own pulse.  Clay sculpture also has me excited too.  As do the figure bust size and portraits and abstracts. My works are now 3D as well.

Today there are many artists who inspire me, but one in particular I can feel and understand and love!  He irons fabric into landscapes and fashion his name is Benjamin Shine, and he is my newest hero because he has taken the simple into the complex.

 

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Why do you make art?

I make art to feed my soul. I ache and get moody when I do not take the time to produce.  I need to produce daily. It is like the scales on a piano, the rhythm needs to keep flowing.  I will then grow and see more and be more patient as I need to be with time to reflect.

What are you trying to communicate with your art?

I am not trying to communicate; it presents itself.  Some commissions have a certain look or need to be satisfied.

What element(s) of your inner spirit is reflected in your art?

My personal work is the love of movement whether it is in dance or movement of the city or abstract fantasy world.  Dance has always been part of my series because I can feel it and want to convey that feeling!  I want to put joy into the world -- a smile, a memory, a second glance of inspiration.  I want to strike an emotion.  My journey is to put rest where there is unrest.   I am not an intellectual painter an emotional painter.

Is the atmosphere or design layout of your creative space/studio an important element in your creative process—why or why not?

YES YES YES - your space reflects your work. You can only do what you can do in limited space.   When I had 1800 square feet, my biggest dreams were possible. I miss it. But life presents us with challenges, and I have made a positive path of stretching no matter what the circumstances.  My larger studios gave me bigger dreams to live up to.  My modest 800 square feet works, but outside my canvas is as big as it needs to be and that can be extreme!

Is there something—a keepsake, an inspirational quotation, a photograph—you keep in your studio for inspiration or motivation?

I have favorite books around me.  When I need help from my masters, I just look at their works and ask questions. (Private conversations)

What kind of routines or rituals do you incorporate into your creative time? If you have one element or principle of art you enjoy working with the most, please describe it? 

I always draw or paint to keep the flow moving.  I do spend time alone and this is nurturing. It is meditative time when painting too.  Depending on the series of paintings.  Focus time. I listen to classical music or a trendy something as needed for my spirit!

Art is in all of us; it is the time we take and devotion to make it grow.  Showing UP is more important than any fancy anything just continue to do what you love to do and let it lead you.  Do not over intellectualize.

Currently, which creative medium do you work in? What, if any, other creative medium would you love to pursue?

I continue to create sculpture in clay--life size busts of people and animals and nature.  Actually sculpture is winning my spirit these days! Yes I need to go down this path.

 

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What is your most important artist tool?

My vision is my tool.  This is how I see the world.  My voice may not be your voice. This is the way I see it!   My inner lens captivates my new reflection!

How do you keep yourself motivated? 

My audience helps but always recreating myself.  Trying new techniques over the years keeps me fresh! 

What one piece of advice would you give to an artist just getting started?

Make art because you love the process; you will do it no matter the outcome.  I love the process and have been very fortunate but there are times in life things do not sell.   Make art for you and your soul!  Make it your best friend and nurture it! Believe me it will feed you just give it time.  Sometimes it takes a year or more to see what you had accomplished--you may not see it immediately. And that is ok.  It is all part of the process.

If you wish, please share with us any other aspect of your art life—professionally and/or personally—that hasn’t been answered in the above questions.

I feel blessed to have my ART.  Thank you for the opportunity to share my journey.

For what one thing would you like to be remembered? 

Mother of twins each bringing new joy into this complex world with their unique creativity and style.

Describe yourself in one word.    

?????? still thinking……

http://www.lindadumont.com

Interview: D.R. Jones

D. R. Jones

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Describe the time you first realized that creating was something you absolutely had to do? How old were you? Who or what inspired you at the beginning of your art life?  Who or what inspires your art life today?

When I was a kid, my family spent many summers vacationing in New Mexico. On one of these trips, we spent a day wandering through the shops and galleries of Santa Fe. I was immediately drawn to the bold, vibrant colors of the local artwork. I was especially drawn to the Native artists that depicted a rich cultural history and had a living connection to their ancestral past. I’m still inspired and influenced by American Fauvists like John Nieto, Malcolm Furlow, and Jeff Ham.

Why do you make art?  What are you trying to communicate with your art?  What element(s) of your inner spirit is reflected in your art?

For me, art is a way to depict a real world subject (animals, people, places) in a mythical world setting. My goal is to combine my personal mythology with the cultural mythology of the American West. The personal mythology is a product of growing up on the High Plains and ranchlands of Texas. The cultural mythology is drawn from the evolving popular culture perceptions of the historical American Frontier - from Tonto and the Lone Ranger, to Gunsmoke, to Little Big Man, to Dances With Wolves.

Is the atmosphere or design layout of your creative space/studio an important element in your creative process—why or why not?  Is there something—a keepsake, an inspirational quotation, a photograph—you keep in your studio for inspiration or motivation

My working space is not particularly important to me. I just need good light (natural or artificial) and enough room to step back and get a full frame view of works in progress. I do have one quotation tacked on the wall that helps me focus. “Given an equal amount of intelligence, timidity will cause a thousand times more problems than audacity.” Good advice for life as well as art.

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What kind of routines or rituals do you incorporate into your creative time? If you have one element or principle of art you enjoy working with the most, please describe it? 

The most important work habit for me is to just get in the studio, crank up the music, and start slinging paint. I do spend a fair amount of time thinking about the composition and color choices, but nothing happens until I stand in front of the easel with brush in hand and get to work.

Currently, which creative medium do you work in? What, if any, other creative medium would you love to pursue?

I work almost exclusively with acrylic paint on gallery wrapped canvas. I have some ideas for sculptural work, but it hasn’t happened yet.

What is your most important artist tool?  How does this tool factor into your art making?

My most important tool is a paint brush. Can’t do much without something to smear paint with!

How do you keep yourself motivated?

If my motivation lags or inspiration can’t be found, I go to a museums or an art gallery and a hundred ideas pop into my head. If it’s not convenient to get to a museum or gallery, I can just Google some of my favorite artists, and I get the same mental boost.

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What one piece of advice would you give to an artist just getting started?

Just do it! Don’t wait until you’re “good enough”. Your first attempts will probably suck, but each work you create will teach you what works for you and what doesn’t. Then keep going!

For what one thing would you like to be remembered?

For creating art that helps the viewer see the world as the magical place that it is.

Describe yourself in one word.

Colorful!

www.red-hand-art.com

Interview: M. Allison

M. Allison

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Describe the time you first realized that creating was something you absolutely had to do? How old were you? Who or what inspired you at the beginning of your art life?  Who or what inspires your art life today?

I was brought up in a world of creativity.  My mother’s gourmet cooking, Bawmaw’s professional sewing, Granny’s fine art painting and best of all, my sisters.  We travel in a pack and live creativity.  Art, always art, in any form.  I love it!  My self worth, to an extent, is measured in what I create.  I have a need to be productive.  My children will never remember my cooking but they will always remember me with a paintbrush in my hand.

Why do you make art?  What are you trying to communicate with your art?  What element(s) of your inner spirit is reflected in your art?

I make art because it puts me in a very pleasant ‘nothing can touch me’ zone and it’s a great place to be.  Probably, in all honesty, I try to communicate peace and wonder in creating, or a wonderful peace.  I find this especially in my figurative work, my figures without features, and possibly my inner spirit is reflected in them as I see myself in hem all – dancing, reading, posed…

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Is the atmosphere or design layout of your creative space/studio an important element in your creative process—why or why not?  Is there something—a keepsake, an inspirational quotation, a photograph—you keep in your studio for inspiration or motivation?

My creative space can be anyplace I’m creating.  I’ve been in many garages (including my studio now) and it seems as though wherever I plant myself becomes my creative space. 

What kind of routines or rituals do you incorporate into your creative time? If you have one element or principle of art you enjoy working with the most, please describe it? 

I always find that when I get in the studio I must do some kind of ‘warm-up’ work to relax me enough to paint.  I teach this to my students.  Little sketches, painting solid backgrounds on canvas with a roller, moving things around – just about anything to get me in the mood.  I never can just jump in on a painting.  We have to become friends first.

Currently, which creative medium do you work in? What, if any, other creative medium would you love to pursue?

I currently work in oils and that is what I teach.  Lately I’ve been doing figures on paper in neutral colors and this seems to be a good warm-up too.

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What is your most important artist tool?  How does this tool factor into your art making?

And…this brings up my favorite tool.  I can’t live without my 9B graphite pencil.  It’s so dark and soft!  I probably love to scribble more than anything!  So fun!

For what one thing would you like to be remembered?

Of all the things I would like to be remembered for, it would be a good mother and grandmother.  I have triplets and a single and am expecting my eighth grandchild and there’s nothing better in the world!  I want them all to have my best art.  The road is a winding one so I give it up to something greater than myself and happily accept what’s around the corner.

mallisonartist.com

mallisonfineart.blogspot.com

Interview: Suzy 'Pal' Powell

Suzy 'Pal' Powell

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Describe the time you first realized that creating was something you absolutely had to do?

I have created as long as I can remember. I was embroidering and making doll clothes before I even started to school, even with out patterns.

 How old were you?

Probably 5? I can’t remember.

 Who or what inspired you at the beginning of your art life?

Probably an elderly friend who was an awesome pastel portrait artist.  She encouraged and mentored me until her death.  In the back of my mind I looked up to artists and always wanted to be one but never thought I could be .

Who or what inspires your art life today?

All artists! Everybody is so different, and I love seeing him or her excel and do well with their work. Western art is especially my favorite, along with sketching.

Anytime I see a cowboy, horses, spurs, etc. I get so excited and want to re-create the scene!

Why do you make art?

I have to make art. It is who I am.

What are you trying to communicate with your art?  What element(s) of your inner spirit is reflected in your art?

I don’t know. I just paint what I love.  I think happiness is reflected. Or at least I hope so. I have been told it looks happy.

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Is the atmosphere or design layout of your creative space/studio an important element in your creative process—why or why not?

No, I wish I could keep it clean and organized but I can’t so no probably not. I can paint or sketch anywhere. I am not organized or real neat.

Is there something—a keepsake, an inspirational quotation, a photograph—you keep in your studio for inspiration or motivation?

I normally play music and I keep a quote in sight…’Father Glorify yourself through the work of my hands today’…written by Bill Craig.

What kind of routines or rituals do you incorporate into your creative time? If you have one element or principle of art you enjoy working with the most, please describe it? 

No routine, other than trying to sketch something every day. I love keeping sketchbooks.

Currently, which creative medium do you work in? What, if any, other creative medium would you love to pursue?

I work in mixed media collages and watercolor, along with sketching each day.

And I would love to become a better sketcher and oil painter.

What is your most important artist tool?  How does this tool factor into your art making?

Probably my most important tool would be good brushes and good paper, along with my ipad or phone for taking photos. If you don’t use good paper its hard to get the watercolor to do what you want it to. (and that doesn’t always work either) I love watercolor for that reason, so unpredictable.

How do you keep yourself motivated? 

This is a hard question. Sometimes I have to make myself go out to my art room and do something.  If I have good photo references to use, it’s easier.  Sometimes a trip down a back road helps. New scenery.

What one piece of advice would you give to an artist just getting started?

If they are serious, they have to work each day that they can, No matter what. Set aside time, and a space. Buy the best supplies you need. Don’t skimp on tools. It’s just like a mechanic, needing a toolbox full of tools to get the job done. Also, my favorite thing to tell them is ‘It’s just paper and paint, Not a matter of Life or death, just enjoy the process.’

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If you wish, please share with us any other aspect of your art life—professionally and/or personally—that hasn’t been answered in the above questions. 

God has truly blessed me by allowing me to create and make so many wonderful friends through art!

The Internet has played a big part in my art career, I am grateful for that.

For what one thing would you like to be remembered? 

As far as art…

Maybe that I loved to create all kinds of things, and did them all with my best ability with passion. But most of all, that I LOVED to share what little bit I knew with any and everybody, so that maybe their art career might be a little easier and faster than mine has. I never had any art in school, and had to work so hard every day that I could to try to learn and improve. As far as my family that they were loved and could always count on me.

Describe yourself in one word.

Curious

 

www.suzypal.com

Interview: Neva Rossi Smoll

Neva Rossi Smoll

Describe the time you first realized that creating was something you absolutely had to do? How old were you? Who or what inspired you at the beginning of your art life?  Who or what inspires your art life today?

I was seventeen years old and a senior in a small south Texas high school.  A hobby shop opened up in town and my mother and I spent many hours in there doing various crafts.  The owner was a friend of ours and one day she asked me if would like to try oil painting.  Of course! I painted a colorful sunset.  A couple of days later, some random (and very good-looking) young man came into the shop.  He purchased my painting for $15.  I was thrilled.  And hooked.

Today, I am inspired by many contemporary artists—Casey Klahn, Dawn Emerson, and Aline Ordman to name just a few.  What inspires me about their work is its loose simplicity, its authenticity, and their obvious lack of fear.

Why do you make art?  What are you trying to communicate with your art?  What element(s) of your inner spirit is reflected in your art?

I make art because I have to.  I have to be creative in some way, even if it is just baking a cake.  Art, creativity of any kind, takes me out of my silly little mind-made problems to a place of “no mind.”  I am immersed in my moment, everything else fades away, and I am left with my intuition and freedom.

In my art I try to show people that thing they have missed while they were too busy to see.  I want my art to make the viewer feel the vulnerability of a portrait subject.  I want the viewer to look at a café scene and imagine themselves in the story.  I want to communicate that “edge” in a scene — that precipice where the mundane is left behind and what is revealed is a hidden emotion. 

An element of my inner spirit — hmmm.  Perhaps it is simply an attempt to look beyond the evident and see the beauty in all things.

Is the atmosphere or design layout of your creative space/studio an important element in your creative processwhy or why not?  Is there somethinga keepsake, an inspirational quotation, a photographyou keep in your studio for inspiration or motivation?

The atmosphere of my studio space is very important.  I do my best to keep the energy positive and free-flowing.  No negativity here!  (The struggle is real, folks.) If I feel it needs a cleansing, I light sage, or use essential oils.  I find it is equally necessary to keep my own energy positive and free-flowing.  So when I catch myself having a negative thought, I do my best to reverse it.  As for design or layout, it is essential to have a dedicated space.  Layout and design will have to come later when I build my studio.

I love quotations, and I have quite a collection.  The one I have taped to my computer at the office says, “Paint What You Love.”  Another favorite is “Do not doubt when you ask, for then which will the Universe answer?”  But my all-time favorite is this one by Uell S. Andersen, “Choose to think only of that which you truly desire.  Refuse to entertain thoughts of what you fear, and you will find you are unerringly guided to your goals by a power greater than you are.”

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What kind of routines or rituals do you incorporate into your creative time? If you have one element or principle of art you enjoy working with the most, please describe it? 

I do have a ritual.  I meditate for a few minutes to clear my mind and then I ask the painting to tell me what it wants.

I love the element of color and enjoy using vibrant colors with lots of contrast.  I like to combine large color shapes with distinctive mark-making.

Currently, which creative medium do you work in? What, if any, other creative medium would you love to pursue?

I currently work in soft pastels.  I find them to be immediate and very forgiving.  It is easy play.  I also love oil and would like very much to further pursue oil painting.

What is your most important artist tool?  How does this tool factor into your art making?

My most important tool is my camera.  I use only my own photographs for inspiration and reference.  On an equal level is my iPad Pro and the Snapseed App.  I take thousands of photos, download them from the camera card onto the iPad and begin the process of cropping and adjusting until I get a design I like.  I also use the ArtSet Pro App to try different backgrounds or color palettes.  It helps to eliminate the unnecessary and distill the design.

How do you keep yourself motivated?

I motivate myself with photography and plein air painting.  When I am particularly un-motivated I will take a piece of paper, tape off 3 or 4 six-by-six squares and paint trees using different colors.  Playing with color motivates me.  Sometimes I splash vibrant watercolors on the sanded paper as an underpainting.  If I am really blocked, I do something different, like making monoprints with Intaglio inks and various flora from my gardens.  Lots of fun and very freeing because I have no end result in mind, yet I always get something interesting.

What one piece of advice would you give to an artist just getting started?

My advice to a beginning artist is this:

Everyone can learn to draw.  Everyone can learn to paint.  But you have to DO THE WORK.  Find artists you admire and study their work.  Buy their books. Take their workshops.  As Lawrence Block says, “Talent is something that is accessible to everyone who takes the trouble to find access to it.”  So just do the work…

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For what one thing would you like to be remembered?

I would like to be remembered as being fearless in putting my work out there.  I would also like to be remembered as someone who was willing to share knowledge.  There is enough success and abundance for everyone.  Be happy in your own success.  Be equally happy in the successes of others.

Describe yourself in one word.

DETERMINED!

www.nevarossi.com