Today I’m doing the starving artist tag that I’ve seen going around the net. Feel free to answer these questions on your blog, too. I must say, this was fun. 🙂 I’m breaking this up into two posts because it got kinda long with 20 questions to answer, even though I tried to keep some of them short.
1. What’s your favorite experience as an artist?
When buyers write to me after they’ve received their art, and tell me inspiring stories about why they bought my artwork. Mostly this happens with my portraits because when you paint emotion, you often times get emotional responses in return. A few times a year, I receive these raw, intimate, in the moment type emails that I simply cherish. Some of their stories really touch me. It’s nice to have a special bond with people who are housing my heart and soul in their homes. It sets my mind at ease knowing I’ve shipped my artwork to a nice home, and it will be loved and cared for.
2. What’s your least favorite experience as an artist?
I’ve had a few bad experiences with commissioned work, and whole sale orders. I’ve been burned several times, once by a “good” friend. Each time it happened, it left me bitter and angry. I stopped taking commission for a couple years. Now that time has passed, I know I learned a lot from each incident. It certainly gave me a wake up call. It was time to start acting more professional. I knew I had to protect myself, and my business. Now I’m careful and extremely selective about the custom orders I accept. A deposit must be made before I’ll even consider picking up a brush or knife. If the deposit can’t be made, neither can the painting.
My girls always keep me in line.
“C’mon, Mom! Time for werk.”
3. What are your dreams/goals for your art?
I know most people dream of the day they can retire from their job, but my dream is to never retire from mine. Even if for some weird, unknown reason I stop selling my work somewhere down the road, I still want to make art for myself.
My most recent goal, which has nothing to do with my dream, is to use up all my 6×6 panels in the next year or two. Right now I envision each one as an oil portrait, but that might change later on down the road. Either way, it will be challenging because I have a little more than 300 panels sitting on my shelf. I don’t believe in setting goals unless they’re lofty. 😉
4. Whats your favorite medium and why?
Currently, I’m obsessed with oil paints. It’s a fairly new love of mine. I’ve only been painting in oils for 3 or 4 years, and I haven’t taken it very seriously up to this point. Lately, tho, I feel a rush of excitement when I walk into my studio knowing I’m going to paint with oil. I’m in what I call the experimenting or “scientist stage”, which is always fun. I think I can easily stay at this stage for many years to come. Is it possible to know everything there is to know about oil paint? I don’t think so.
I definitely find it more challenging to paint with oils because of the fat over lean rule, and all the different mediums you can buy to work with the oils. I’ve been studying, and reading a lot of product reviews, and getting advice from other oil painters. I’m a bit overwhelmed. Every medium works differently in the oils, like Galkyd, which I’ll be trying for the first time this week. I’ve been using a similar fast drying medium, but wanted to give Galkyd a try because I’ve read many good things about it.
I’m also trying out a varnish, which you can use when your oil painting is touch dry. You don’t have to wait months to seal your painting or ship it off unsealed, which is what I’ve been doing. It’s called Gamvar. I’m so excited to try these, and will write a post about it soon.
5. What inspired u to do art/why do u love it?
It began early for me. I remember back when I was 6 years old, I received a handmade bracelet, and necklace from some older twin girls on my school bus. I was so in awe of their talent, my love for handmade only grew from there.
Then a few years later, again on the bus, a girl named Patty asked if she could draw me. She was such a great little artist, so realistic! I still have the drawing on folded up notebook paper. It’s something I’ve treasured since I was probably 9 or 10 years old.
6. What’s the favorite piece you ever made and why its special?
I actually have two favorites, and I can’t choose which one I love more, so I’m posting both. The first one is Be Still, Child. It came from a vivid memory I started having of my Mom after she passed away. It’s a personal piece, which I kept for myself. It’s hanging right here above my desk. The girl in this painting looks like me when I was about 13, I think.
And, Oh Sweet Sunday – Annie and Her Horse. I just love the relation between these two. It’s similar to the love I feel for all my pets, so I really get these two. Annie lives in Germany now, and every time I see a photo of this painting, I miss it.
7. Who/what are your biggest art influences?
I have a few favorite artists..Duane Keiser who works in oils, and started the daily painting movement way back in the day, Karen Margulis who works in pastels, Carol Marine who paints still life and landscapes in oil, Shelby McQuilkin who paints abstract figures, Lisa Daria, who paints daily abstract florals in acrylic, Sarah Sedgwick, who paints still life and portraits in oil, Terry Miura – omgosh..I literally drool over his work. LOVE it! Then there’s Tom Birkner, Alex Kanevsky, France Jodoin, Kathy Jones, Robert Joyner. This list goes on and on..
8. What did you learn from being a full time artist?
I had no idea how much work it is to be an artist or how much time I’d have to spend in the studio and on the computer each week. I actually thought artists lead a pretty chill, lazy life. How hard could it be? You paint and then you sell it. haaaa!! I was a complete and utter fool. Reality is sooo different. My life is literally consumed with my business, and I have little time for anything else. My advice for anyone wanting to be an artist..get ready for some extremely long days of hard work.
a quick oil portrait in my art journal
9. What do your family&friends think about you being an artist?
I hid being an artist for many years from my family and friends. Art was something I held very close to me, and I didn’t want people interfering with my dream. My skin was extremely thin back then, and painting felt so vulnerable. If anyone close to me had criticized my work, I probably would have quit painting. So, outside of my household, my mom was the only person who knew I painted, and she wasn’t all that impressed with my work. haha!
Now, just about everyone knows what I do, I think. I’ve never asked them what they think because I’m at a stage in my career and life where I don’t care what anyone thinks. I gotta do me.
My husband tells me all the time that he doesn’t like this or that about a painting, and I’m completely fine with it. Chances are, I don’t like those things either, and I’ll agree with him. Sometimes, he tells me he flat out he doesn’t like this or that painting. Whatever, dude. I don’t take it personally. I welcome his advice because sometimes my paintings suck, and I’m okay being told that because clearly he’s only stating the obvious. haha!! Besides, if he said he loved every painting, how could I improve? It doesn’t hurt my feelings in the least. I’ve come a long way, baby, and I’m certainly not going to stop painting if someone doesn’t like my work. I detached my self from my work long ago.
pink and blue floral on the easel
10. Was becoming an artist your childhood dream? If not what is?
YES! When I was a small child, I had an epiphany, and actually envisioned myself painting when I was older. I was wearing a white flowing dress, and I was outside painting at an easel. The breeze was blowing my gown, and long hair around. ha! Cheesy, I know!! The weird part is I never pursued art until I was in my thirties, and it was then that I remembered my epiphany.
Okay, I’m stopping here. I’ll have the rest of the questions up later this week. Hope you enjoyed reading my answers so far. 🙂