1. Who were your teachers or influences?
My most influential teachers were Mark Tennant, John Wentz and Steve Hampton. I had many teachers that i learned from, but these artists are the ones who pop into my head when I'm reviewing or critiquing my own work. My favorite painters are Velazquez and Lucian Freud. I admire their sense of design in all aspects. I love their use of color, very simple and limited at times. Their designs are very bold and simple, but there is so much effort and attention evoked that it can seem complex.
2. What techniques or tricks did you find most useful when learning to paint?
I think for me the best thing was painting every day. But in order to progress at an efficient level, I needed to make little goals for myself in terms of design and function. There would be days i would focus on making an object look 3 dimensional. Then after it felt 3D i would focus on making that look "pretty" which is completely subjective. Lucian Freud's form is a lot rougher than Velazquez. Both represent form and both represent beauty to me.
3. What are 3 key principles of making good art, in your opinion?
Tough question. For me it's about honesty. When I look at art, it's like listening to music... you might hear 10 songs on the radio that pass you by and then the next one catches your attention. There are many factors that go into what it is about the band, and it's not always how well they play their instruments. Most of my favorite bands are terrible musicians, but they make great artists. They have all the ingredients needed to fulfill the purpose of the statement. A lot has to do with the mood, the direction, the confidence or tone. Certain colors attract certain people. Just stay true to what you believe art is.
4. What are the most common mistakes that you see other artists make?
It's hard to define a mistake. I know what a mistake would be in an academic setting, for example, line quality or placing incorrect values on form. I think the biggest mistake is giving up too soon maybe? And, also, perhaps not enjoying the process. The process is a huge part of art, and the final result is a reflection of that process, or a result. Enjoy the process, and if you dont... adjust!
5. Can you break your painting process down into 10 steps, or less, for us?
My process has changed over the years. At the moment I spend a lot of my time conceptualizing my work in my head. The brainstorm process can take minutes or weeks! I would then jot some of these ideas down in my sketchbook. These sketches or notes are nothing pretty at all. Recently I have been using the computer to design a reference photo, similar to a collage. This part has become really exciting, because I'm creating something out of nothing. I then paint from the reference photo, sometimes copy it and other times I chose to reinterpret. If the painting is feeling dull, I'll paint loosely over it, take a photo of the progress and do some more collaging on the computer. I repeat the process until I'm satisfied or depending on a deadline.
6. What colors are currently on your palette?
The colors I use are Titanium White, Ochre, Cad Red, Ivory Black. Ill occasionally use ultramarine blue, but rarely. I keep it limited and this allows me to experiment with color, while keeping the image cohesive.
7. Do you have a paint color or medium or other art-related implement that is indispensable? If so, what is so useful about it?
I love having a spotlight to take proper reference photos of my models. also, good music to paint to as well as a nice space that will make you want to paint. nothing worse than having a fancy studio that you never want to show up to. Find a place that will make painting exciting and approachable.
Art Goop is a Q&A for artists by artists. We ask questions designed to examine the techniques and methods of some of the most inspiring artists working today.