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Monday, September 19, 2022

DKG Arts Gallery Blog: Artist’s Spotlight: An Open Artists’ Discussion on Creation, Technique & Opportunity

Rita Fish – Indiana State Organization – Epsilon Chapter 

Briefly, tell me a little bit about yourself as an educator and as an artist?

I am currently a retired art educator and taught art at a small rural high school which offered a limited number of classes to our students.  As a result, most students came through the art room door, which was good. I believe that every student should have art education. The Indiana State Curriculum Standards include four areas that are required to be contained within art lessons which are history, criticism, aesthetics, and studio. These standards were important to me, and it was my pleasure to educate young people and introduce them to the exciting and rich experience of the art world. In other words, I loved teaching art and my students!

However, a full day of teaching was exhausting and creating my own paintings didn’t happen that often until retirement. I had always planned to make paintings of my ten grandchildren. It was when the pandemic hit that I felt the urgency to begin painting as if I was running out of time. I believe that I made at least twenty-five paintings in a year. Not all were satisfactory but still filled my creative need for expression.

Your portraits of your Granddaughter and Grandson are compelling.  Is portraiture your genre or do you paint other areas such as landscapes or still life portraiture?  Where do you find your inspiration?

When I have an opportunity to view other paintings, I enjoy seeing evidence of the painters process. I love seeing brush strokes, or cross hatching, and paint washes. For some, the judgement of whether a portrait painting is successful depends on the likeness of the subject. I feel this pressure when I desire to create a more expressive portrait as I enjoy making paintings of people.  I do have several self-portraits because I was the only person available to paint. Now, I paint from photographs which is not ideal, but more practical. My plans for future works will include more of the figure genre, but family members will remain my subjects.

Oil paints can be tricky, especially with the dry time factor.  Do you prefer them over acrylic and why?

Do you paint on canvas or panel?

My first painting was with acrylics and I found them to be unforgiving. When I went back to oils, I remembered how much more freedom was possible, and I loved making paintings again. While the paintings of Evan and Chloe have a monochromatic color scheme, other paintings have different color schemes. For the most part I stretch my own canvases and apply the sealing undercoats of gesso. It’s during this preparation that I make decisions about composition and color schemes. The painting may begin one place but end up entirely different than I may have planned. It is an evolution.

What is the best piece of artistic advice you’ve been given?

Regarding the best piece of artistic advice, it came from my first painting professor. He advised that you learn to paint by painting. He said the first one hundred paintings will in all, probability be awful so get busy and paint just to get it over with. I agree. Yes, painting instruction can be helpful, but I believe that you learn how to paint by painting. When it comes to drawing, however, that is a different story.

Have you entered your work in other competitions?

Winking face with no fillRecently, I decided to get out of my comfort zone and entered a painting in our local county exhibition taking place at the Putnam County Museum. The painting was of my brilliant and handsome grandchild, Nate. For aesthetic purposes, I am fortunate, that all my four grandsons and six granddaughters, are brilliant and beautiful.     

I was so looking forward to the opening of the show and meeting other painters but when the day arrived, I was ill with a new strain of Covid, and I had to stay home. My family went in my place and made a report back to me. They said my painting was the best, of course.

We invite you to view the Art Gallery, click here.

Keep the conversation going, please use the comment section below to suggest new topics, ask questions, or give us your input. We love hearing from our readers and gaining new ones.  Spread the word!


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