Article from Claycord.com news written by Lisa Fulmer
How long have you been painting?
I have been drawing from a very young age; I was as interested in the creative process then as I am now. I wasn’t exposed to art at home – there were always other children to play with, discoveries to make, and insects and butterflies to admire and capture. But as soon as I started school, I became aware of such wonders as crayons, paint, pictures and books! Art was always my favorite subject as I got older; but I usually chose to take more business classes. I loved art, but learning a livelihood and helping to support my family.
Did you study art in school or are you self-taught?
Basically I was self-taught; I drew and painted for my own pleasure for many years until I began attending local evening classes in the 70s. I was fortunate to study portraiture, watercolor, oil and composition with the distinguish artist, Jade Fon Woo. I participated in his Saturday plein air classes for a number of years.
What are your favorite mediums and imagery to work with?
I love painting in any medium! Oil used to be my first choice, but I also took classes in pastel and watercolor. Watercolor became my favorite because I didn’t have to use any solvents to clean up, which fits my lifestyle better with children and limited studio space. There is a certain freedom with watercolor that I love – there can be many surprises, good and bad, as you experiment with this medium. It lends itself to a loose and flowing feeling, sometimes vague or mystical, – or it can be finely precise, too. Probably my favorite images to paint are animals, water, and people. I paint in the traditional realist style, but I do enjoy and admire many other styles of painting.
How do you make time for creating?
I don’t paint every day, unless I have a deadline, then I put forth consecutive days of painting. But I always have painting on my mind – I actually do best when I’m not under a deadline.
Where do you find inspiration for your art – what is your process?
I find inspiration in many things – like the butterflies I tried to capture as a small child, I’m still trying to capture what I find beautiful and wonderous. If I see a beautiful scene or an interesting person or object, I try to work out in my mind how I would paint it. In particular, I find people very interesting to study. I always have a reservoir of subjects in the back of my mind that I’d like to attempt. An idea might have been planted some time ago; I might have taken a photo. Then when I want to paint, I consider the subject and the composition, then I think about my memories or feelings about it. Sometimes I put a great deal of research into my subject. For portraits, I try to express what I see, like an attitude or a certain expression. In other work, I focus on the overall design, color, and general atmosphere. While I’m primarily concerned what I want to achieve for myself in a painting, I also hope my viewers will enjoy the results.
What else besides painting sparks your creativity – and what do you want to learn next?
I love being outdoors – I’ve become an avid gardener. Gardening was what I knew I wanted to do when the time came to go back to work full-time, because I’d have less time to paint. Then when I retire, if I can’t go out for plein air painting, I will paint flowers from my own garden. So now I grow roses, irises, water irises and camellias. In the fall, I plant bulbs in pots so I’ll have a wealth of flowers by springtime. I often photograph my own flower arrangements and I’ll paint them when time permits. Fresh flowers are wonderful to paint and they translate beautifully into prints and greeting cards. I hope to expand my knowledge by taking some acrylic workshops next.