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

Denise Bossarte

Photography is a way to capture the moments when I connect intimately with the beauty in the world: natural beauty, man-made beauty, and the convergence of the two. 

My training is in an Eastern contemplative arts tradition that emphasizes experiencing the world in a direct and non-judgmental way. 

It requires a quiet, open mind to see what is there to be found in that instant. 

From this view, the images are presenting themselves and my art is fashioned by engaging with them. 

A strong photograph is one that captures a moment in such a way it transmits the experience to the viewer. 

My passion is doing photography along the coast of Texas where the mix of man and nature, of land, sea, and air, construct images that are figurative, impressionistic, and even abstract.

 

Denise Bossarte
Found Worlds Photography

www.foundworlds.com
Artist of Texas Signature Member


photos@foundworlds.com

Kristine Byars Artists of Texas Equine Art

Kristine Byars uses vivid color to create paintings that are often playful, and yet evoke warm emotions. One consistent theme in her art is a great love of nature and all creatures. Horses hold a particularly special place in Kris' heart, and when not painting she can often be found with her quarter horse, Sparky.  Kris lives a life surrounded by nature in Texas with her husband Steve, cat, golden retriever, and Sparky.     


Randall Cogburn

Evening Hours, 24 x 24 Oil on Canvas

 

Impressions are what I like to paint, they can be simple or complex. I'm an oil painter who lives near Houston/Galveston area and I paint a seascapes and related oil paintings, as well as landscape, still life and portrait. I do teach plein air painting twice a year and frequently go on location to paint. To learn more about my paintings and where to buy visit www.KirbysArt.blogspot.com