Last night, May 1, was my art opening reception at the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts in Virginia Beach’s Towne Center. It’s a beautiful space, with very tall ceilings and nice wood walls. I had some art pieces that I thought were fairly large, but in that large space I realized much smaller art would have looked dwarfed.
To be asked to display my art in an exclusive exhibit at the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts was a real honor. It is heralded as one of the region’s most stunning structures and among the nation’s most acoustically sound venue for the arts. The Sandler provides cultural opportunities for the community to serve as a cultural focal point for the performing arts. Quite a lot of people come through for various events, so it’s exciting to think they’ll all be seeing my work on the walls!
It was good seeing my friends and neighbors come to the reception and support me. A few of my former art students were also there, so it would good to be able to catch up with them and find out how they are doing. I met some new people who love art and were very kind in their remarks about my art. I had a lot of terrific conversations and the time just flew by. Before I knew it, it was time to go.
In an example of really great timing, The AltDaily, an online magazine, also interviewed me about my art:
Tell us a little bit about your background, from how you became interested in art to your formal education?
I grew up in an artistic family. My mother was very talented and when my father retired, he and she would go on painting trips, and they would buy and bring home original artwork from their travels. Seems I was immersed in art, and I guess I just acquired an aptitude for it by osmosis. I have drawn all my life and found faces particularly interesting. I have always admired the works of the Masters: Rembrandt, Sargent, Frans Hals, and others on visits to the major museums of New York, Philadelphia, London, Paris, Rome and Florence. I earned two degrees magna cum laude in Art History and Studio Art from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.
Who are the artists that have had a direct influence on you and how do you feel that they lend an influence to your work?
Although I majored in studio art, I had never taken a portrait painting course, so my first portrait class was at TCC with Corrine Lilyard Mitchell. She is a great teacher. Then I took a few painting workshops with some great portrait artists, such as Daniel Greene, Michael Shane Neil, Paul McCormack, and Bart Lindstrom. These workshops spanned several years and each teacher has given me wonderful advice and guidance that seemed to come at a time in my development when I was ready for it. And I have several of John Singer Sargent’s books. He was such a master at painting portraits and figuratives. His brushwork was loose but the faces were well defined.
In your bio it states that your style is a blend of Impressionism with Classical Realism. What art movements in history are you NOT a fan of, and why?
There’s great work to be found in every art movement from early history to current contemporary art. I’ve seen some fantastic abstract pieces I loved. But all artwork, whether abstract or photorealism, must have good composition and that special something that keeps the viewer interested.
As an Art History graduate, how do you feel about the direction that contemporary art has, and is taking? Which contemporary artists are you a particular fan of and why?
Some contemporary art can leave me cold especially when it’s obvious artists just want to shock people so they can make a name for themselves in the art world. I art when I can sense the artist has a passion that compels him/her to create.
Light plays a key role in your work, tell us about the role that you feel Chiaroscuro plays in your work?
Chiaroscuro, the interplay of light and shadow, is Italian from chiaro: clear or light, and oscuro, obscure or dark, and that light and shadow allows the eye to interpret an image as a three dimensional form. Rendering that is what makes drawing or painting so much fun. Lights and darks are known as values and it’s extremely important for an artist to recognize and then render values correctly. In college we had to shade a 10 value scale (and a 20 value scale) from light to dark. I can always tell when an artist hasn’t learned their value scale. They inevitably render their values too dark or too light and their work can look rather amateurish.
You are a member of several artistic societies; how do you feel it is beneficial to you as an artist to participate in national art societies, or artists in general?
Any time you can get together with other artists that you admire and can see them work and hear them teach, there’s going to be a synergy that informs, educates, and excites you. This is where you meet your future mentors, which we all need if we are to grow in our profession.
In addition to being a working artist, you offer drawing courses through your website. Tell us a little bit about this, how you came up with the idea to market your skills in this way, and how you feel other artists could benefit from marketing their skills beyond creating artwork.
In every single painting workshop I have taken, there are always students who don’t have their drawing skills down. It’s painful to watch them struggle to attempt to learn two difficult disciplines (drawing and painting) at the same time. They often will throw up their hands in defeat thinking they don’t have the talent, when really they are just getting the cart before the horse. If they had taken the time to learn how to draw from a good teacher, practiced, and developed good drawing skills, then they could sign up for a painting class. It’s hard enough learning how to mix paint, learn it’s particular characteristics, and how to apply it correctly, without knowing how to draw too. That’s why I developed my online course (www.drawingsecretsrevealed.com) for beginners and intermediate artists. It is a complete college-level course hours of video demonstration and PDF lesson workbooks. I also teach important drawing secrets that many teachers don’t reveal, for whatever reason, and that, if practiced, will take a student’s art to a new level. I have received excellent reviews from my students and the course has received a five-star rating from a marketing company.
Click HERE to find out how you can draw anything you see in just weeks with my college-level drawing course.