By: dean|Date: Nov 25, 2016

An Artist Interview - Julie Gautier-Downes

Reporter Ginny Brennan is at it again!  Read the Interview below from award winning artist Julie Gautier-Downes.   - When did you start creating installations and using photography as your art? – I have always been making things and in 2002 while in New York, I attended the Fame School.  I began painting in oils and at the same time started with my photography. When I was in college, I became serious about photography and stopped painting entirely. For a few years, I worked exclusively in photography until I started doing installations and which incorporate photographs into built environments. That is the process that I am most excited about now because it engages the viewer through other senses (like smell and touch) and it has the potential to transport a viewer somewhere else. – As a kid what did you want to be? – I wanted to be an anthropologist. I loved history and was fascinated in what we can learn about others in what is left behind. This interest in artifacts seems to have led me to be what I am today. – What have been your greatest accomplishments or proudest achievements? – Being able to attend the Rhode Island School of Design for Graduate School is something that I am proud of. They receive hundreds of     applications and only admitted six people into the program. I feel that without going to graduate school, I would still be an artist, but I would not have progressed as quickly or understood myself as an artist as deeply as I do now. - What has been your biggest break? – I was recently awarded a Grant for Artist Projects Award from the Artist Trust. The grant will allow me to purchase materials and equipment that I will be able to use in several new installations. - What inspires your works? – A fire in 2009 of my childhood home and also moving around a lot after my parents split up. In 2008 when I was deciding on college I chose UC Santa Cruz Art Department, during the spring of freshman year my childhood home was destroyed in a fire.  That experience has inspired me to document and recreate domestic environments in my photographs and installations. – Are there practical things you do each day that help you stay “art” focused? – Is there a particular artist you relate to? – Yes I relate to Edward Kienholz, an Idaho-based artist who also did sculptures and created tableaus which existed in between sculpture and installation.  He actually used a Spokane storefront from East Sprague Avenue as an installation, that piece is now at the Missoula Art Museum.  He also spent time working in Berlin, Germany. – What has been the toughest lesson or toughest time you’ve experienced? – When I was in Graduate School I was the only west coast student and had to travel back and forth to photograph the desert landscape for my work.  During the time between my travels I started constructing installations to recreate abandoned homes in my studio to share my experience of being in those spaces with the other students. – What is your attitude on life as it relates to your art? – My creative process is way I process experiences, both good and bad. I try to channel those experiences into something that others can learn from and connect to. – What has been your hardest lesson as an artist? – Figuring out how to be independent and doing the physical aspect of my installations. I don’t like to be reliant on others, but there are limits to my physical strength. Knowing when to ask for help is something I struggle with. - How do you feel when people interpret your artwork different? – I think it’s interesting to hear what they think and what they are experiencing.  I had the opportunity to work with children. At one point, I showed them some of my photographs and a young girl was particularly drawn to a diptych of a chair with a snapshot of a young boy. She said that the boy must have been tied up and hurt in the chair. – Have you had a light-bulb moment that you can share for aspiring artists? – The importance of working hard. Often times others make an assumption that what I do is easy and in reality it takes a lot of hard work. When I get stuck creatively, I try to work through it. If you don’t keep working, you’ll never get unstuck. – I’m constantly putting myself out there celebrating the positive stuff and letting the rejections go. I am blessed to have the support of my family and friends. Also, my cats, they love me no matter what. – Do you try to make a statement with your art? – My work isn’t really about making a statement, but I think about consumerism and our material culture. Today, most of the objects that we use are cheaper to replace than fix or take when we move. I think about how much we throw away or leave behind and what the long term ramifications of that behavior will be when we run out of places to dump our waste. - Where is your art being shown or has it been shown?    

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By: dean|Date: Oct 31, 2016

An Artist Interview - JoAnne Henault

 Our roving reporter Ginny Brennan is at it again!  This time she sits down with JoAnne Henault – Spokane Artist               – Can you share a little about yourself and what you do. – I’m a retired elementary teacher and I worked for Spokane Public School District 81.  I have been retired since 2005.  I reside in South Spokane.  I was also born in Spokane and raised in Idaho.  I moved back to Spokane after I was married.  In my early forties, I began taking watercolor art classes in North Idaho.  I began seriously painting after my retirement. – What is your preferred medium and why is that? – I have painted in watercolor, acrylic and oil.  I also have created in pencil, pen and ink.  I spend most of my time going back and forth between watercolor and acrylic.               Sunflowers - Acrylics – What were your early paintings about? – I paint mostly landscapes and skies with lots and lots of practice.  I haven’t thrown away any of my early art. – What themes do you incorporate into your artwork? – I love to paint landscapes and lots of animals.  I have painted several friends pets, and I have done several commissions.  I have even painted an elephant from a photo for a friend who had gone on an African safari.               Owl - Watercolor – Can you remember one of the first things you drew or painted.  What makes it memorable? – The first watercolor I did was a farm scene in sepia tone.  It’s memorable because I completed it and it was worthy of being framed.  It is still hanging in my home.  My first acrylic was when I was learning how to paint flowers and I was pleased because I didn’t think I could do it. –  What was the best advice you have received? – Not to be afraid and keep trying. – Do you have a favorite artist?  If so, what draws you to that person’s work? -  I love the Impressionists.  They were brave enough to go where no man or woman had been.  My first love was Monet and I will be able to see where he created his art in my travels on my next trip to Europe in October.  Monet’s art makes one feel as if you are right there. - Is there any local artist you admire famous or not?  If yes, what draws you to that person’s work? – I love Spokane artist, Sue Rohrback’s work.  Sue has been a great teacher, friend and mentor. – Where do you gather most of the inspiration for your work? – I’m excited to now be using a lot of my own photographs as references.  I love creating art from places I have visited. – What is your favorite piece of work that you have created? – They’re all my favorites, as I’m working on them.  I develop a love-hate relationship with each of them. – What are you working on at the moment? – At the moment I am working on a couple of different things, one is a watercolor on Wallis Lake in Glacier and I’m also working on a piece with water lilies.  There is something romantic about water lilies that draws me in.           Lake McDonald - Watercolor – Have you ever stepped out of your comfort zone and discovered a whole new genre of art?  How did it turn out? – Every time I try something new it’s out of my comfort zone.  I learn so much and get new tips from everything I try. – Professionally, what is your goal? – I just want to continue expanding my artistic abilities.  I’m always seeking out new ideas. – What are you doing when you are not creating?  What other hobbies do you have? – I travel to see my “Lucy” my granddaughter and soon there will be a grandson.  I grow dahlias and a few vegetables in my garden.  I like to do crossword puzzles and play bridge and pinochle with friends. - What, in your own opinion, is the hardest step in creating a masterpiece? – If I have created a masterpiece, the hardest step is not knowing when to stop going back and working on it.  I’m still looking for the masterpiece. – Where else can we find your art? . – Where else do you sell your work? - I sell mainly at local shows throughout the year and through RRAFA’s group art venues in and around Spokane restaurants and public places.     Local Art Show – Do you have any tips or inspiring words for other? – I always say if I can do art anybody can.  Just give yourself the time, quiet your mind and concentrate. - What is your favorite color, your favorite animal, your favorite season and favorite book? – Pink is my favorite color and my favorite animal is a cat.  My favorite season is summer.  As for a favorite book, I like current best sellers and book club selections.  

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By: dean|Date: Aug 22, 2016

An Artist Interview - Katie Frey

  Who are you and what do you do? What is your preferred medium and why? Can you remember one of the first things you drew/sculptured/painted, etc. What makes it memorable? - I painted Jimi Hendrix in my High School painting class, and the teacher told me I could not finish the painting at school because he was inappropriate subject matter. Any artist you admire famous or not. Do you have a favorite artist?  If yes, what draws you to that person’s work? - Recently, I have been inspired by Carol Nelson’s work. I love the texture of her “geological abstracts”, and the brilliant colors she uses in her landscapes. I would consider her a modern impressionist. Where do you gather most of the inspiration for your work? - I work from photographs and outdoor sketches, but also glean ideas from pinterest, and base a lot of paintings off works by Van Gogh, Chagall, and other famous (and not so famous) artists. My paintings never look anything like the original inspiration, but just staring at a brilliant piece of art can spark an idea that takes me in a totally different direction. What is your favorite piece of work that you have created? (Include photo or link) What are you working on at the moment? - My current project is a series of hilarious animal portraits. They are not at all realistic, but rather cute and likely to be hung up in a nursery or child’s room. I have done several cats, owls, birds, and a giraffe. Have you ever stepped out of your comfort zone and discovered a whole new genre of art? How did it turn out? - Up until a few years ago I was really uncomfortable painting landscapes. I simply hadn’t figured out how to paint landscapes in a way I actually enjoyed. Which turned out to be with loads of texture! Now I love landscapes. I include rocks and shells, torn fabric, lace, and paper, as well as layers and layers of thick texture mediums. Yum! What are your goals for the future, both work wise and life? - I just want to keep growing as an artist; improving and building on my style and technique. I also hope to continue teaching art classes and workshops here in Spokane. I love my art students! What are you doing when you are not creating?  What other hobbies do you have?  Or maybe a fun story about an experience involving your artwork? - My second love is writing, and I get the occasional children’s story published. I studied English and Art in college, but I’ve been much more successful with my art than I have my writing. Perhaps the day will come when I can combine my two loves. - What, in your own opinion, is the hardest step in creating a masterpiece? - I wouldn’t know. I sincerely doubt I have ever created a masterpiece. - Do you have any favorite blogs you can share? . Where do you sell your work? - Currently my art can be found at Artemisia, the gift shop below the Women’s club. I show all over Spokane at events like Art on the Ave and First Friday as well as coffee shops and restaurants. Where else can we find you?  Do you have an online website, or portfolio or a blog where we can view your work? . I am also on Etsy: .    

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By: dean|Date: Aug 11, 2016

An Artist Interview - Jackie Dolpp

Join us for another great artist interview with roving reporter Ginny Brennan.  This time with Virginia artist Jackie Dolpp. - Who are you and what do you do? - I am an artist, primarily old school purist.  I like the ‘white’ of watercolor paper! I am primarily a watercolor artist.  I love experiments and trying new things. I am active volunteer and Board member of the Depot Artists Association in Abingdon, VA.  I’m also active in other arts organizations and I assist in fundraising for the arts in Abingdon and I have taught several classes. - Why do you do what you do? I love manipulating color, in all my work which currently involves collages, pastels, alcohol inks, wax batik.  I also create my own collage papers. – How do you work? – I have a studio in the Abingdon, VA Arts Depot.  I also paint in my home studio.  At home, life interrupts my art.  I work three days with the Arts Depot walk-in traffic. – What’s your background? - What’s integral to the work of an artist? -  The love of experimenting and trying new things. – What role does an artist have in  society? – To brighten their corner of the world.  People who come back to visit after a long time tell me how my art brightens their world. – How has your practice changed over time? – I have mostly been traditional and always done watercolors, collage and pastels.  As the world changes and new enhancements in modern science/chemistry changes in art has allowed ne art mediums like alcohol ink. – What do you most identify with? – With my watercolor, I have never gotten over the joy of dropping watercolor and see the magic art of it. – What work do you most enjoy doing? - My favorite thing is what I’m working on now or what I just finished. – Describe a real-life situation that inspired you? – I was fortunate to attend the Chilhuly exhibit at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis.I so enjoyed the living things and floating orbes on a boat .  I came back home and painted a painting of marbles with reflections in the water  for my grandson who loved it and hung it in his room. - What jobs have you done other than being an artist? – I was a secretary out of school, then a head of an accounting team.  I was a stay at home Mom after which I worked in a bookstore. – What memorable responses have you had to your work – A child psychiatrist meditates in front of one of my pieces of art before she begins to encounter her day.  This is the greatest compliment. – Your favorite or most inspirational place? – The ocean or beach. - What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given? –  In order for me to loosen up I was told to take a pail of water into the backyard with a full sheet of paper and splash away.  Another piece of advice I was given is that when you paint you only have to please yourself and those are the feelings others sense and will like it.             You can see more of Jackie Dolpp at: , Artist, Abingdon, VA Abingdon Arts Depot, Studio 2

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By: dean|Date: May 12, 2016

An Artist Interview - Kay West

Our Reporter Ginny Brennan shares an interview with Spokane Artist Kay West. Ginny – Please share a brief introduction to who you are and what you do? Kay – Previously I lived and worked in California and was in a corporate administrative position. It was fast-paced and detail oriented. I burned out and decided it was time to reinvent myself, get back to my art, and escape Southern California traffic and congestion. I truly wanted to be near water and selected Birch Bay, Washington after visiting the area. I lived in Birch Bay for a few years, where I got into real estate, which didn’t leave much time for artwork. In 2011 I moved to Spokane to be near my sister who has lived in Spokane for over 35 years. I have resided in Spokane for five years. I also joined River Ridge Fine Association of Fine Arts, eventually becoming a member of the board. Ginny – What were your early works of art about? Kay – My mother was very much into arts and crafts; we made a lot of handmade items and gifts. As a child, I was always making things with my hands. In high school and college I took formal art classes, learning the basics and developing my own sense of art appreciation. I has extremely shy and introverted, so art became my reason for going to high school and college. Later, after college, I started with watercolors but soon explored other media. As an adult, my art education continued by taking non-credit classes and experimenting with printmaking, photography, acrylics and mixed media. In helping one of my sons, I became involved with silversmithing and from there still create a line of sterling and copper jewelry that I sell on Etsy. Ginny – What themes do you incorporate into your work? Kay – Abstracts and texture come immediately to mind. I have a rather eclectic approach to my artwork subject matter. Ginny – What type of art are you involved in? Kay – I’ve posted about 5000 iPhoneography close-up shots of “Rust” on Instagram. I’ve worked on a photographic “Bondo Series” over the years, showing metal deterioration and stressed surfaces of autos, trucks, buses, tractors. But with the Instagram posts, it’s usually these wonderful effects that happen on rusted surfaces. Rust is a natural process, and I delight in photographing it. I wander about Spokane’s alleys and side streets, just open to whatever I might find in the way of decay and rust to photograph. After getting involved with RRAFA, I got back into acrylic painting, although I still take a lot of photographs. Ginny – Have you ever stepped out of your comfort zone and discovered a whole new genre of art? How did it turn out? Kay – I had a very good friend in California who taught painting at a local college. After she retired she focused more on her poetry, and facilitated a weekly poetry critique group in her home. I had just gone through a divorce and poetry gave me a means to sort out all of the emotions involved in that time of my life. Poetry turned out to be a wonderful adventure in wordsmithing and led me to meet other poets. Which then led to a sudden trip to Paris in 2004 for a poetry workshop. That was my first time traveling out of the country alone, what a wonderful adventure! That love of poetry continues here in Spokane with its literary growth. Ginny - Where do you gather most of your inspiration for your work? Kay – Nature is my go-to, even for my abstractions. Ginny – What was the best piece of advice you have received? Kay – Practice, practice, practice. You don’t acquire skill without investing the time. It’s easier when you make art every day. You get the juices going. Ginny – What is your favorite piece of work that you have created? Kay – A photographic triptych of seaweed and beach debris, shot while in Morro Bay, CA. Unfortunately, I no longer have those negatives or prints. Ginny - What are you working on at the moment? Kay – My art endeavor right now is in developing an art gallery that will feature mostly local artists, but might include artists from other areas, as well. Little Dog Art Gallery will be opening May 14, 2016 at 903-½ W Garland Avenue, Spokane. Ginny – Professionally what is your goal? Kay – At this point my professional goal is to throw myself into developing the art gallery, promoting artists and helping to promote the Garland District of Spokane as a destination for visitors and Spokanites. Ginny – Do you have any tips or inspiring words for other artists? Kay - Be true to yourself, paint, or create what gives you pleasure. Ginny - What is your favorite color, your favorite animal, favorite season, favorite movie, favorite book? Kay – Oh Ginny, I hate those questions. My favorite color is rainbow; dogs and horses are my favorite animals; my favorite seasons are Spring and Fall; my favorite movie is the thriller/drama “Memento” -- I love sitting in a darkened theater with popcorn. My favorite book? I’ve seldom met a book I didn’t like. Ginny – Where else can we find you? Do you have an online website, or blog”? Kay – I have a blog at , which is mostly about my photography. My Instagram feed is @kweststudio8 and now @little_dog_art_gallery . You can also find my paintings and photographs at Little Garden Cafe on N.W. Boulevard, Spokane, for the months of May and June. In June, my photographs of cars and rust will be part of the Liberty Building exhibit, above Auntie’s Books. Starting May 14th, you will find me at Little Dog Art Gallery on West Garland Avenue, Spokane, Washington.

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By: dean|Date: Apr 29, 2016

Concentric Marketing and YOU!

You may have heard me use this term a time or two. So what is "Concentric Marketing?" It is actually a fairly simple concept but surprisingly few people adopt it as a strategic plan. We will focus the conversation regarding concentric marketing as it relates to art sales for this discussion. I have met and know many artists who cringe at the concept of marketing. I have heard countless times the phrase "I just want to paint and let someone else sell my work". Well, unless you are part of the .000001% of great artists who succeed this way you may need to rethink your strategy. Marketing with a focus and a plan are an absolute necessity if you have a chance of success. I know many artists whom I look up to and admire for their ability to both create as well as brand themselves and succeed in enough sales to make a full time comfortable living selling their works. This is far from easy but with determination to succeed and the willingness to put in the hours, they make it happen. So back to concentric marketing. Here is an incomplete list of ways to sell your artwork. 1. Art Shows: Make sure your goal is to gather contact information from every person who walks in your booth. 2. Gallery Sales: ARTISTS!! The Gallery is your friend and the two of you need to collaborate on ways to help each other. They are not supposed to be competition for your direct sales. On the converse, Galleries, the artist needs to eat. Do not restrict them from making sales. Good communication and a plan with acceptable boundaries can work wonders. The Art Gallery is a very important partner. 3. Website: I encourage all artists to have a web presence. Getting the traffic there is the key. You will not sell many $2000.00 paintings online with only a jpeg file to present your work. However the marketing, customer development, brand recognition, networking is where the most value is and if used correctly is a gold mine for little cost. 4. Newsletter/Blogging/Email lists: 5. Social Media: This is all about collecting interested potential clients and fans of your work. If you work the first 3 correctly you should have a lot of opportunity to make #4 work for you. 6. Video Marketing: Youtube is the #2 search engine next to Google. If that does not interest you then check your pulse! Creating well developed video with engaging content is likely the very best arrow in your quiver. Again, you have to get the traffic to the video but that is where Facebook, friendships and email lists come in handy. 7. Print Media: Finding your potential clients and having a presence in quality print (Magazine, Newspaper, Local Journal of Business etc..) is very valuable. Some of these idea's may not work for you. I guarantee you that if worked properly, several will. Don't just pick one or even two. Find several and maximize the potential opportunities to share your talents. In my 30+ years in business I can tell you some of my most successful opportunities have come from directions I did not expect. Thanks, Dean

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By: dean|Date: Apr 1, 2016

An Artist Interview - Alice Harmon

Our roving reporter Ginny Brennan is at it again. This time she interviews artist Alice Harmon from Spokane, Washington Artist: Alice Harmon, Spokane, Washington Ginny: Give me a brief introduction as to who you are and what you do. Alice: I reside in Spokane Washington with my husband, Chuck Harmon, who is also an artist. My studio is in my home and I paint regularly. Previously I was a member of a local gallery but decided to take a break. I’ve been painting since I was a child. I paint in both oils and acrylics. When I started painting I painted primarily with oils but once we began traveling I ventured into acrylics because of the faster drying time. Lately, I’ve been mostly painting with acrylics. Ginny: Why do you do what you do? Alice: I come from a very creative family. My Dad had a newspaper and was very creative with his writing. Both my brothers are gifted with doing beautiful woodwork. My older sister has always been an oil artist and she won many awards and scholarships. This is my sister that had a lot of influence on my early years with oil painting. My other sister creates her art with crafts. I don’t remember when I started painting, in fact, I can’t even remember when not painting. Ginny: Can you remember one of the first things you drew or painted, etc? What makes it memorable? Alice: When my children were young and I painted the walls of their rooms with life sized Sesame Street Characters. Ginny: Any artist you admire famous or not. Do you have a favorite artist? Alice: I have a collection of “OPA” (other people’s art). I love art all varieties and mediums. My favorites are mostly abstracts and impressionism. If I have to chose a favorite it would be Georgia O” Keeffe. Ginny: What’s integral to the work of an artist? Alice: An Artist can create art that has an impact on people. Art can change people, this includes all forms of art, i.e., dance, fine art, poetry, etc. Ginny: What role does the artist have in society? Alice: Our role as artist is to offer our audience a different perspective on reality. So people can think differently, or to think “outside the box”. Art can make us all more equal. Ginny: What art do you most identify with? Alice: I enjoy all types of art but mostly I like art that is colorful and happy. Ginny: What other work do you most enjoying doing? Alice: Besides painting art, I like gardening and home improvement. I do most of the repairs and upkeep around the house, i.e, electrical, plumbing, etc. Ginny: Where do you gather most of the inspiration for your work? Alice: My inspiration comes out of my head; it floods my mind. Most of my inspiration is life in general. Art is an avenue for stress release and can also feed off current events. My art can be whimsical to thought provoking. Ginny: What is your favorite piece of work that you have created (photo included)? Alice: My favorite piece is hanging in my hallway, “Harmony Cove”, it is a painting featuring a coast town with shops and includes our children’s names on shops that reflect their talents Ginny: What are you working on at the moment? Alice: I am currently preparing for a show, called “Joyful”, which will be at the New Moon Gallery on East Sprague in Spokane. The dates are March 18th through April 11th. Ginny: What jobs have you done other than being an artist? Alice: I’ve written a newspaper column and feature stories. I’ve managed an office, worked in a grocery store, was an interior designer. I have six children, 14 grandchildren as well as 10 great grand children and one great-great grandchild. In the family I’m known as “Grandma the Great”! Ginny: Have you every stepped out of your comfort zone and discovered a whole new genre of art? How did it turn out? Alice: My art is a constant challenge and I believe different genres. My color palette is strong and bright and my results are all unique. Ginny: What memorable responses have you had to your work? Alice: Dian Zahner is the person who got me back to painting after a long absence. She invited me to show in their gallery, which I did for a couple of years. I had always painted, but had never thought of selling. Getting into the gallery I learned that others not only liked my work and were very supportive, but also purchased it. Ginny: What is your dream project? Alice: I’m living my dream, Able to do just about everything we want. I’m very content and happy where I am today. Ginny: What is your most favorite or inspirational place? Alice: I think New Mexico is my favorite place, especially Santa Fe and Albuquerque. I love the colors, the art, the fall weather and the food. Ginny: What advice do you give aspiring artists? Alice: Always continue to be encouraged and know you will find out that people like and admire your art. You don’t have to sell art to be encouraged to continue. Be happy with whatever you’re doing. Ginny: What are your favorite color, animal, season and movie? Alice: Blue is my favorite color, cats my favorite animal, season, well there are two, Spring and Fall, and my favorite movie is Benny & June. Ginny: Where can we view your art? Alice: On Also, this year, we will be hosting during the Studio Art Tour, September 10 and 11, you can see my art as well as the works of nine other artist on display. --

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By: dean|Date: Mar 1, 2016

An Artist Interview: Linda Williams – Mixed Media Artist – Hampshire, Illinois

Our roving reporter Ginny Brennan strikes again! This time in Illinois Ginny: When did you start painting? Linda: I started drawing things like my mom’s cookie jar at age ten in pencil. In high school, I was awarded an art scholarship to the University of Wisconsin in Wausau, by taking first place in an art competition for a contour pen and ink drawing. I still have both of these! I received a paint-by-number gift; which was the beginning of my love of painting. I can still smell it! Ginny: How have you trained as an artist and what other jobs have you done? Linda: In my teens and early twenties I painted in oils taking a few private lessons. I attended the American Academy of Art in Chicago as well as various art programs at several local colleges. I received an Associate’s Degree in both Interior Design and Commercial Art while attending classes at night and working at a downtown Chicago Ad agency. I transferred to the University of Illinois at Chicago receiving a BA in Visual Communication, focusing on design and photography. I owned a design studio and worked as a graphic designer for many years. I have two boys and didn’t paint for a while during my boys’ early childhood. I have also taken online courses with Albert Handell and Gabor Svagrik. I began painting realistically. After having my children and stepping away from art for a while, I then began exploring new techniques and mediums; landscapes, portraits, florals and abstracts in oil, acrylic and pastel. Ginny: What inspires your work? Linda: Nature, walking in the forest, a closeup of a flower, a facial expression that sparks my interest, happy accidents. I love exploring. I am very passionate about color. Sometimes I will take a photo and start playing with it on my computer until something speaks to me. An example would be a photo I took called, “Red Dahlia.” The image to me was beautiful on its own, but I had to push it a little further. I used filters to create a different image I called, “Purple Dahlia.” I was very excited by this new image. I decided that this not only would be a very unique photo but that it would be the subject of my next painting. Ginny: What is integral to the work of an artist? Linda: Knowing the technical aspects so you can deliver your message and understanding color theory is only the beginning. Become aware. Study other artists and their techniques. Fill your life with new experiences. Each artist is a special mix of personal history and inner philosophy that makes them unique. For me, it begins with a vision that I feel inside. I experiment with it, exploring color combinations, textures, techniques and imagery and it takes me on a journey. This is the creative process that I think is integral. It has to come from the heart, from the spirit. Ginny: How has your practice changed over time? Linda: Not only has my art moved in different directions as I have grown as an artist, but I have embraced new technologies and have begun creating all my own websites. It keeps evolving. Ginny: What work do you most enjoy doing? Linda: The thing I enjoy most is the creative process, the journey. Where it started and where it ended up. I find that when I’m working I lose track of time. No matter where I am in my art, I’m so focused, everything around me stands still. I’m currently exploring abstract painting, portraits, and painting in a looser, more impressionistic style. Ginny: Which one of your artwork pieces is your favorite? Linda: A photograph, “Purple Dahlia” and a recent portrait in oil called, “Olivia”. I’ve reached a whole new level of color mixing I have never achieved before. I also really enjoyed working on my first two pastels drawings, “Entering Heaven” and “Quiet Inspiration”. Ginny: What’s your favorite art by another artist? Linda: I love Van Gogh, one of the masters – I love his dynamic brush strokes and thick paint and the way he altered perspective. Another favorite artist I follow is VOKA, the Austrian “Spontaneous Realism” Artist. Also Georgia O’Keefe, Gerhard Richter, John Singer Sargent, Renoir, Jim McVicker. There are so many… Ginny: What is the best thing about being an artist? Linda: I stop to notice the small things and call attention to them. I express my unique vision and satisfy my need to explore and create. I feel that my photos or paintings are a vehicle to inspire others. If I can make people feel happy or joy by creating something beautiful or inspirational, then I have fulfilled my purpose. Here is a quote I like— “Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.” - Jonathan Swift Ginny: What is the worst thing about being an artist? Linda: Getting recognized as an artist takes both time and money. An artist wears many hats. I keep taking one small step every day toward my goal of being able to make a living as a full-time artist. Next year when I look back, hopefully I will have made a lot of progress! Ginny: How do you feel when people interpret your artwork differently? Linda: I love it. I have encountered this especially with my abstract work. I’ve had an experience listening to others view my abstract work and I love their interpretation and how they relate to my art. Ginny: Did you ever feel like giving up? Linda: There was a time when I was younger I felt burned out. Now with technology the opportunities for exploration are huge! I continue to be curious and excited. Ginny: What advice do you give aspiring artists? Linda: These are things I have learned and want to share with aspiring artists. Follow your passion and your heart. Believe in your talent. Believe in yourself. Do it today, don’t wait for tomorrow. Take small steps every day and you will make progress. Challenge yourself. Don’t take the easy way out - you won’t learn anything. Expose yourself to other art and artists. You can always learn something. Finding your “voice” will show itself after you have put in the work. Explore. Live Life. Ginny: Do you try to make a statement with your art? Linda: I’m not a political artist. My work falls into the emotional category. I hope my work makes people feel something. It emerges as joy or happiness and sometimes love. This comes out in everything I do as a celebration of life. Ginny: What is your dream project? Linda: To have a solo art show and a big one. I would enjoy seeing most of my work in one space and enjoy the feedback. Ginny: What is your favorite or most inspirational place? Linda: The forest, I love being surrounded by trees, lakes and nature. It fills the well back up for me and makes me feel whole. Also, after recently returning from Arizona and hiking in the desert, I have found a new inspirational place. I have just created a photo book called “The Beauty of Arizona” by Linda J. Williams you can get on the Blurb site. Ginny: Professionally, what is your goal? Linda: This year my goal is to have a solo show. I would like to travel, exhibiting at art fairs in neighboring states. I want to keep learning by taking workshops by artists whom I admire. I also want to start painting en plein air. I would like to be an inspiration and teach. Ginny: Do you have a website, or other places we can see your art? Linda: I’m currently a member of Oil Painters of America, the Portrait Society of America, the Chicago Pastel Painters, and Art for All, Elgin, Illinois. Recently in Elgin, Illinois, I have exhibited my work at the HOTI Gallery, Hemmers Cultural Center, the Gail Borden Library, Art & Soul on the Fox Art Exhibit and also have an upcoming spring show at the Elgin Art Space Gallery. Websites: My Website: Fine Art America Website: Facebook Page: LinkedIn Site: Blurb Book:

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By: dean|Date: Feb 8, 2016

An Artist Interview - Vicki A. West

Our Roving Reporter Ginny Brennan interviews Current member of the Spokane Watercolor Society and past president of two years honored with life member status. Ginny: Who Are You and what do you do? Vicki: A water media artist, designer, teacher, wife, mother, grandmother, cheerleader, spiritual human. My life long passion for art and creativity in general has only been eclipsed by my inquiring mind and love of science and medicine. Ginny: Why do you do what you do? Vicki: I see things differently, I have a tendency to want what’s not on the menu….. It’s just something that has to come out, expressed in a visual emotional, yet tactile way. Ginny: How do you work? Vicki: Ideas and inspiration are all around but my own work is something that must be very personal and unique to me. It usually comes in fits and starts or a series may come pouring out all at once like an unstoppable volcanic flow until, months later, it’s finished and tells an amazing story or pictorial history for the viewer to experience as something new and totally foreign. Ginny: What’s your background? Vicki: I grew up in Spokane and my very first formal training was with a sweet oil painter by the name of Frances Bond who had a studio on North Monroe in Spokane. I took every class available in Jr. High and High School then off to college to pursue a completely different field but continued to paint with oils. Next came three years of figure drawing at Spokane Falls Community College, marriage and three children, fourteen years of full time work in the medical field then grandchildren. That’s when my love and fascination with watercolor began to emerge. I was consumed with continual class study at the Spokane Art School for many years along with many master classes and workshops around the area and because we (artists) all want to continue to learn and improve our craft, the learning experience will always be an important part of my life and work. Ginny: What’s integral to the work of an artist? Vicki: Integral? Hmmmm … space, time, peace, love and for me music. Only when all of these elements are present, do I feel complete enough to start something new or even get back into the studio. Ginny: What role does the artist have in society? Vicki: I would have to say that good art can bring joy to ANY space and lift or move the viewer in ways nothing else can do, be it in positive or negative ways thus emotionally influencing the world. Ginny: How has your practice changed over time? Vicki: I don’t feel that my love for realism has diminished over time, however, I DO enjoy painting really BIG AND LOOSE (spray bottle in hand!) every few months, usually acrylic on canvas at a large easel as opposed to seated at my worktable with paper and small brushes! Ginny: What art do you most identify with? Vicki: I love the masters, the impressionists although I could never identify with them. I mostly identify with realism, I guess. Ginny: What work do you most enjoying doing? Vicki: I most enjoy good architectural pieces, descriptive figurative paintings with some story-telling component or an interesting old implement or equipment with lots of history. Ginny: What themes do you pursue? Vicki: Pretty much the same as what I said what I enjoy doing, but I would also add that I love painting birch trees! I have done several 8 to 20 foot (latex) wall murals as well as large canvas pieces. Their simple elegance has always captivated me and each piece is uniquely different in color and content. Ginny: What’s your favorite art work? Vicki: My favorite art work, is one that pleases the viewer enough to commission a work for himself or says “we’re familiar with your work and must have this piece”! Ginny: Describe a real-life situation that inspired you? Vicki: My greatest inspiration came about three years ago at the Shafer Historical Museum in Winthrop, WA., where on a gorgeous September morning a whole new series was born. Entitled, “Present Past” it became my greatest undertaking to date and featured much of the equipment brought from the mining cams and sawmills of the late 1800’s. Ginny: What jobs have you done other than being an artist? Vicki: I did some modeling in college and for a couple of years after. I then became a bank teller for four years, then a full time student, a Mom, then a full time lab technician and medical assistant retiring in 2005 after 30 years of work that I dearly loved! Ginny: What memorable responses have you had to your work? Vicki: Tears of joy! I did a large canvas (24x72) for a dear couple commemorating their marriage and anniversary. Another is when a painting sells before the pigment is dry or in a frame! That’s always good. Ginny: What do you like about your work? Vicki: I love introducing the viewer to new and different subject matter, images they may never have considered “Art” before but have found something really exciting and thought provoking in my work. Ginny: What is your dream project? Vicki: Another important series is probably in my future but the inspiration and source material must come together for that to happen. I want it to be figuratively but that may or may not happen. Ginny: Name three artists you’d like to be compared to. Vicki: There are many great artist that I aspire to paint like, but I also believe that each artist is unique and should not be placed in a box and because my work is always evolving, I emulate one artist one day and another the next! Ginny: Favorite or inspirational place? Vicki: In recent years, it’s been the beautiful Methow Valley in our own diverse Washington state. It’s all there; fascinating characters, the history, the gorgeous scenery and the wildlife! Ginny: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given? Vicki: Don’t be afraid to fail, to start over, to enjoy or to try something new! Ginny: Professionally what’s your goal? Vicki: Always learning, improving and sharing my love of painting with the public in new and different ways. This year, I would like to get back into NWS and I’ll make my annual attempt at one of the major publications. I would also like to see some of my work published in one/all of the five Washington magazines that recently received press releases from Marie Kazalia, Art Critic with Artist Marketing Resources, regarding my work. Ginny: Where is your art available to view? Vicki: My work hangs in private homes across the United States Winthrop Historical Museum – you can see my work in Winthrop Spokane Studio Art Tour – My work is on display and for sale at this annual summer event Spokane Watercolor Society - Juried/Member shows at the Spokane Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture Auntie’s Bookstore Gallery, Spokane - February through June 2016 William Grant Galley in Kendall Yards, Spokane in June 2015 Private Appointments are available in my home studio/gallery - FaceBook - Website –

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