Monday, May 23, 2011

The Truth about Painting with Stan Miller

Stan Miller will be teaching a five-day workshop at Whidbey Island FineArt Studio (WIFAS) next month. He has been a professional painter in watercolor and egg tempera for more than thirty years. His theme will be “Painting the Portrait and Landscape.” Stan will demonstrate the landscape and the portrait, using a variety of styles and approaches, from realism to impressionism to abstraction. Stan recently shared the following information about himself and his painting in this interview.

Q: When did your interest in art begin and how long have you been an artist?
A: My interest in art began when I was a young child.  I've always loved art. I've been a professional, full time artist, since 1973.

Q: What do you seek to communicate through your art or your art instruction?
 A: I try to communicate through my art, first of all, peace and quiet, and then the sacred space.  I also like painting things that have a feeling of character and history: old people, old things, Venice, etc.  I think this is in part why I love to visit with old people.  I like Europe because of its character, its history.  

In my instruction I try most to teach students this truth, 'that all people can learn how to paint....painting is a language that everyone can learn if properly instructed'.  Once a student understands that painting is a learnable language and that they can learn to paint, I then try to teach each student to be true to their character and paint the subject that moves them, in the style that matches their temperament.  Whether, abstract, impressionism or realism...all these styles can be learned.  Like poetry, the short story or the novel...  Then, I warn them...that if they really want to be good, they have to have passion and work very hard for a long time...  I also remind them that the arts make life worth living; art opens our eyes and ears to the deeper beauty of our world...

Q: What drives you as an artist?
A: Every soul wants to he heard, and understood.  To do this, they must choose a method of communicating.  The artist uses their instrument, mine is painting, to express the deeper aspects, beyond our daily language, of what they want to share.  To want to share, be heard, what drives not only me, but all of humanity...

Q: What advice do you have for artists seeking to improve their work?
A: For artists who wish to improve their work, paint more...paint harder...and enjoy it!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Painting with Anne Belov

Anne Belov will be teaching a two-day workshop at Whidbey Island Fine Art Studio (WIFAS) later this month. Her theme will be “Finding the Light in Interiors.” The class will focus on creating a believable sense of illumination in your painting. Anne recently shared the following information about herself and her painting in this interview. I hope you enjoy learning about Anne.

Q: When did your interest in art begin and how long have you been an artist?
A: I know it sounds like a cliché, but I always wanted to make pictures. I think I knew by the time I was 5 or 6 that I wanted to be an artist.

Q: What do you seek to communicate through your art or your art instruction?
 A: Through my work, I want to communicate my understanding and appreciation of the world around me. My work is not about reporting, but about creating a believable fiction. I believe that it is important for those of us who have learned a lot over the decades to pass on what we have learned to others. People often ask if I worry that then my students will take that information and then copy my work. To that I reply that technical information is filtered through each person’s unique experience. Even if they “did exactly as I do” the work would be different than mine.

Q: What drives you as an artist?
A: My mortgage. Okay, I also enjoy painting.

Q: What is a recent piece of art you created and what inspired you to paint it?
A: I am almost always attracted to a particular image because of the way light falls on it, or the way that objects, angles and colors interact with one another. It is usually through these abstract principles that some personal truth or emotion reveals itself. I recently painted some peonies on a table set for a garden picnic.

Q: Do you have a favorite brand of paints, brushes, or canvas that you use?
A: I use Vasari oil paints. They are made in small batches with no fillers. They are yummy. I usually stretch my own linen canvases, because I like to work on portrait linen glued to a hard board.

Q: What advice do you have for artists seeking to improve their work?
A: I wish I had an easier answer, but really, the only thing that will improve your work is to do more of it. Having your work critiqued by a fresh eye also helps, but there are no formulas. Just do it. Another good way to improve your work is to look at art that attracts and inspires you. And, of course, take my class.

Q: What do you think is unique about Whidbey Island Fine Art Studio’s workshops?
A: Cary Jurriaans has created a beautiful space to work. She takes a lot of care with all the little details and has assembled a wonderful pool of instructors to teach. These are artists who are out there doing the work, and so they are on a perpetual voyage of discovery in their creative work. Artists that are actively involved in creating their own work have the most to offer a serious student.