iPhoneography: Still life with Lobo

11 01 2019

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved. (iPhone 8Plus, Snapseed2 app border)

lobo on paint table

 

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Spring 2013 Celebrate Home Magazine: Artist-in-Residence

4 04 2013

Camilla and Jim Houghton’s laid-back Florida home is featured in the spring 2013 issue of Celebrate Home Magazine, now available for FREE download in the links below. Read my interview, “Artist-in-Residence,” starting on page 12 of this issue.

The more clicks we get, the better we do with promoting and getting advertising! We thank you for your support.

Single pages version: Celebrate Home Spring 2013

Reader spreads version (my favorite!): Celebrate Home Spring 2013 Spreads

Order a print copy (at cost, plus shipping): http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/540569

You can also view it on issuu.com here.

Photography © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

ArtistInResidence





Celebrate Home Magazine interviews Lucile Prache, watercolor artist

14 10 2012

Last month I interviewed Parisian artist Lucile Prache for our inaugural issue of Celebrate Home Magazine, which Barbara Kelley and I launched just two weeks ago. I found Lucile’s illustrations on etsy.com and had her store bookmarked because I love her sketchy, whimsical illustration style. I contacted her and she agreed to be interviewed for our magazine. Click on the link below to download the magazine to see more of Lucile’s lovely artwork.

CelebrateHomeMagFall2012 Spreads

Lucile’s Kitchen

When did you first discover your creative talents?
I have been drawing since my early childhood and found it quite natural to express myself in this way as I grew in a family with an artistic mood. I was very shy and I guess it was helpful to draw instead of talk.

Did you go to school for art?
Yes, I studied at the ESAG art school (also known as Penninghen) in Saint Germain des Prés in Paris and graduated—a long time ago.

Did you inherit your artistic talents from your parents?
Yes, I surely did. My father is an architect and my mother has always been making pottery (both are part of the flower power generation!).

When did you know that you wanted to be an artist (illustrator)?
I didn’t really feel like a fine artist because at art school we learned to be illustrators. Plus, I had been working for magazines, the fashion industry, and in advertising for such long time, I didn’t feel like a fine artist.

I still do these types of projects, but I love painting for my Etsy world-wide customers. Having a large audience is important for me—I don’t think “real” artists need that. Knowing that someone in Japan and someone in New York is looking at my artwork at the same time just makes my day!

How long have you been working as a freelance artist and illustrator?
I have been a freelancer for almost 25 years.

I love the fresh, loose, sketchy style of your illustrations. Did the evolution of this style come easily to you?
Thank you so much! I think I have always sketched in this style because I love travel journals (specifically Cy Twombly and Jean Michel Basquiat art). I have been very interested in Chinese calligraphy and started to learn with a Chinese teacher. He always told his French students that they never would become Chinese even after 100 years, but this could be helpful for our very Western style; I believe this is true—my work has become looser and fresher since I began studying Chinese calligraphy.

How would you describe your illustration/painting style?
I want my paintings to look carefree and happy. I have been studying ballet since my childhood, and I believe that my illustrations are just like dance pieces—everything appears to be easy. Dancers are always smiling on stage, but there is a lot of work behind the stage.

Your illustrations are unique and full of energy. Where does your inspiration come from?
My inspiration comes from real life—typography on labels, dirty papers on the sidewalk (yes, I am a Parisian!), kitsch postcards of Brooklyn, a vibrant green top on a girl in the street, vintage books of English china, figs at the market—almost any image can inspire me!

What mediums do you work in other than watercolor? Do you have a favorite brand of watercolor paint? Favorite brushes and paper?
I work a lot on my Cintiq Wacom pen tablet with Photoshop when I get jobs for fashion, magazines and advertising clients. When painting with watercolor, I love Windsor and Newton because of their amazing fresh colors. I am painting with Chinese brushes on French BFK Rives paper.

I decided to leave my Wacom tablet and my computer for a while and went back to colored pencils, gouache and watercolor again. I missed the “real taste” of different papers and pigments. The printing process means CMYK colors. Original paintings allow gold, silver, fluo paintings and this just makes my day!

Do you create still life set-ups of fruits and vegetables from which to reference? What is a typical work day like?
Sometimes I stumble upon beautiful fruits or vegetables at the market and paint them before cooking them. Most of the time I reference photos or browse online for inspiration when I don’t have time to go to Chinatown and purchase Asian food for a still life set-up.

Do you do any computer illustration?
Yes, I do. It is exciting to use several devices. I work in Corel Painter, Illustrator and Photoshop on an old Mac Pro. These software programs allow me to paste labels, type and photographs into my illustrations.

What do you like most about being an illustrator?
Illustrators have freedom—this is what I like most; but we know that we sometimes have to pay a huge price to keep this freedom.

Has illustration as a profession changed over the years?
It has. Computers and the Internet changed everything. I started my career before the Internet, and I remember I had to go to Marie Claire magazine and deliver my orders in person. It was quite fun because I could talk with the art director and the redaction team. We knew each other quite well. I loved to walk in Paris from my studio to my clients, but it was time-consuming, too.

We are now networking and it is completely different, but I really enjoy the friends I’ve met around the world because of Etsy. I am meeting them sometimes in Paris, or more recently in New York, and I love this!

How long have you been selling on Etsy? Has it been a good way to get your work out to buyers?
I started selling on Etsy more than two years ago and it completely changed my life! It is always very exciting to add new paintings, communicate on Facebook and blog about the process. I am absolutely thrilled to get many buyers from all around the world—mainly from the United States. It is a delight to keep in touch with so many open-minded, cool and positive people.

Do you pursue other creative endeavors?
I like screenprinting and can’t wait to work on new designs but I need time and energy—and not to be too hungry because my screenprinting studio is my kitchen.

You are surrounded by amazing museums, which must be an inspiration to you. Tell me a little bit about life in Paris and your family. Did your children inherit your talent for art?
My children are geeks and creative ones! Please come to Paris and see how we live. After spending two weeks in New York City, Paris seems to me like a small village of farmers, But I definitely love Paris—I get inspiration from the street equally as from the museums. I plan to go and see the Gerard Richter exhibition in le Centre Pompidou tomorrow. I always forget how I can be stunned by painting in a peaceful place like a museum. I am in love with my city, but I am always dreaming of elsewhere…and I swear I will try to improve my bad English. But luckily, the language of images is international.

I noticed on your blog that you also are an avid gardener. How does gardening influence your love of illustrating food?
My garden is located on a wet and sunny island, so I only see my garden four to six weeks a year and it doesn’t take much care. I wish I had a vegetable garden and could watch it grow but it is impossible for a Parisian work addict. Too bad, because it would be very inspiring. I paint fruits, vegetables, cakes because of their beauty, but also because I enjoy cooking.

What are your influences? What artists inspire you?
I was first influenced by rock music and pop art artists such as Andy Warhol, Basquiat, Jasper Johns, Rauschenberg, French artist Hervé Télémaque, Tadanori Yokoo, Joan Mitchell—I love them all.

What are you working on now?
I just finished a collaboration with a French publisher on a cookbook about Italian food. It is a very exciting project.

I will be working for a fashion agency in late October, but currently I want to add new prints and paintings in my Etsy shop. I would love to publish my own recipe book and make it available for Christmas, but I am sure I won’t have time this year.

If you weren’t an artist what would you be?
I would be a (bad) dancer.

Any advice for aspiring illustrators?
Keep your eyes wide open unless you are asleep.

Describe yourself in three words.
Still always curious

No interview would be complete without this requisite question—You’re stranded on a deserted island. What five things must you have?
Five cards of Raoul Dufy flowers, then find a way to make tools and do mineral painting—let’s get to work!

www.etsy.com/shop/lucileskitchen

luciles-kitchen.blogspot.fr/

www.facebook.com/pages/Luciles-kitchen/197554960274042?sk=wall

Click the link below to download a two-page spread pdf of Celebrate Home Magazine:

CelebrateHomeMagFall2012 Spreads

Click the link below to download a pdf designed for single page printing:

CelebrateHomeMagFall2012 Pages

Want to order a print copy of Celebrate Home Magazine? Click here, then sign up for a free magcloud.com account. You can download the FREE pdf or purchase a print copy on this link.





The Painting Years: First florals

29 12 2011

Yesterday I organized my father’s “framing shed” workshop and found some of my old oil paintings that I painted from about ages 12-17. The two paintings below are framed and hanging in the house. Discovering the unframed paintings instigated this trip down memory lane and I thought I would share some of my first paintings with you.

My parents took me to the Lila Prater Studio in Weslaco, Texas, for an interview with Lila when I was just 12 years old. I had already been drawing since elementary school and they wanted to further encourage my interest in art. Lila had a strict rule—no students under 15 years old. Classes ran from 9:00 a.m. to noon every Saturday and she discovered that most younger students don’t have the attention span nor inclination to give up a Saturday morning to paint. My dad showed her my portfolio of drawings and I remember him saying, “she’s not like other kids.” (She’s still not!)

Lila decided to make an exception and give me a spot in her Saturday morning oil painting class. I remember there were about five or six students at the time. I was the youngest at 12, the next was a young man who was about 17 or 18, and the others were in their 40s and older. I don’t remember all their names, but I remember some details of my fellow painters. One dark-haired woman, possibly in her late 40s, always dressed up for class and never spilled one drop of paint on her white-colored clothing. She wore a simple white smock/apron and never got paint on it either. I, on the other hand, occasionally used my clothing as a wipe rag (much to my mother’s chagrin).

Another woman, probably in her 50s or 60s at the time, was a retiree named Violet Treasure, who wore her silver hair in a bun perched on top of head. Hers was such an unusual name that I thought it couldn’t possibly be her real name. I did an online search but can’t find anything about her, unfortunately, but I never forgot her name. She painted on really large canvases and almost always painted female nudes. She was a supremely talented painter. I marveled at her use of color—where I tended to see skin as one tone of beige, her brush strokes infused purple, lilac, pink, green and every other hue into the figure. I would learn just how difficult this was when I attempted to copy a painting of a young Native American girl. Initially, my subject was just one shade of brown (think coloring book style) and it was just so flat and uninspiring. Under Lila’s patient guidance, my subject’s skin began to reflect all those colors that Violet used in her paintings. I never did master skin tones but I had an instant respect for Violet’s painting skills.

The young man’s last name was Somerville (or Summerville), but I don’t recall his first name. My dad, who was in Customs at the time, worked with his father, Red Somerville, who was an immigration officer at the port near Nuevo Progreso (which was a mere eight miles from where we lived in Donna, Texas). I remember how slowly he painted and how meticulous he was. He hardly uttered a word while he was in class—he was too intent on replicating works of the masters. (He would have done incredibly well as a forger!) One painting I remember him copying was The Gleaners, an oil painting by Jean-Francois Millet. I always aimed to finish a painting in one or two weekends (impatient even at that young age, I was). He, on the other hand, spent three hours painting just the hands of the wheat gleaners! I marveled at his patience and expertise. When I moved on to a new painting instructor in a different studio, he was still working on his copy of The Gleaners!

There was a pass-through from Lila’s studio to her dining and living room, where her husband, Neil Giles Prater, was bedridden with a long-term illness. I just did a search online and learned that he died at age 83 on June 10, 1977 of pneumonia.

I actually spoke with Lila sometime in the 90s and she was about 92 years old then. She was in an assisted living home and had lost her eyesight. She remembered me and some of the images I painted. I just did a search and found that one of her two daughters passed away in 2010 and the obituary indicated she was preceded in death by her parents, Lila and Neil. Further research revealed that there was a Lila V. Prater, from Weslaco, Texas, who lived to 107 and died in 2003, and I’m pretty certain she’s one and the same Lila Prater. 107 years old—amazing, isn’t it?

Lila had a huge filing cabinet that she called “the morgue,” where we could sort through and find an image to paint. As a rookie, I invariably chose images to copy that were well out of my scope, and Lila would encourage me to pick another. Sometimes she won, sometimes I did.

My first painting was a landscape, and the very next painting was the first floral piece below, done on an 11×14 canvas. When I picked the painting I wanted to copy, she said it was too soon for me to do such a detailed work. I pleaded with her, stating it was to be a gift for Mother’s Day. She relented and I faithfully replicated the work. When I was 15, I painted the second floral, a 24×36 canvas, as a present for my mother.

By copying the work of other artists, I learned myriad painting techniques and color combinations. Lila also taught me how to use the grid method to enlarge or transfer an image to a canvas. Learn more about the grid method here. For this posting, I’ve made both images the same size, although there is a huge difference between them in reality—11×14 vs. 24×36.

I studied under Lila’s direction for about five years and rarely missed a painting session. She was a wonderful teacher and gave me a great foundation in painting. When I was about 17, I began taking lessons with another instructor, Richard (last name escapes me) in Donna, Texas. His teaching method was vastly different from Lila’s—he didn’t allow us to copy anything and we had interesting exercises like using limited palettes of black and white paint only. We did a lot of still life set-ups with fruit, bowls, vases and figurines.

Re: framing—my dad would buy really beautiful but very inexpensive frames in Mexico to showcase my paintings. I remember that we would swap them out whenever I painted something new that matched the color of a particular frame!





Artist Alexa Meade and her human canvas

4 11 2011

Washington, D.C. artist Alexa Meade paints live models (including their surroundings) and then photographs them. Her work is simply amazing!

With her permission, I am showing a few samples of her work and linking to her website here and flickr gallery here. I hope to do an in-depth interview with her soon.








Great Adventure #927

5 01 2008

Sue arrived in San Antonio for a visit yesterday (Jan. 4). Today Dad and I took her with us on “Great Adventure #927,” which began with a drive to Kerrville, Texas. We started with a buffet lunch at the Inn of the Hills (http://www.innofthehills.com/), followed by browsing at their gallery shops. Then we took her to one of our favorite places, the Cowboy Artists of America Museum (http://www.caamuseum.com/).

The building alone is worth a visit even if you’re not a diehard western art lover! The museum is located on ten acres of land and the site overlooks the Guadalupe River. The 14,366-square-foot building was designed to blend with the southwestern environment and was built entirely of materials from the region (the mesquite wood floors are absolutely gorgeous!). It contains a number of galleries, a library that with an extensive video collection, a lecture gallery, and a guest house and studio for the use of member artists. The main exhibits change approximately every three months.

After we left Kerrville, it was on to Fredericksburg, where we took Sue to the Fredericksburg Herb Farm (http://www.fredericksburgherbfarm.com/). Nothing much is growing (or blooming) at this time of the year, but we managed to pass a 1/2 hour away despite that fact. We drove to Main Street where we browsed the shops for about an hour before heading home for Mom’s infamous fried chicken dinner.

Photo captions: Dad and Sue outside the museum; Sue swinging at the Herb Farm; Dad and Sue in front of the Herb Farm restaurant; the Herb Farm’s resident feline, Maple; Dad swinging at the Herb Farm; the photographer in the gazing ball; red berries outside a tea shop in Fredericksburg; homeowner association nightmare Christmas decorations at a home near the Fredericksburg Herb Farm.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

kerrville.jpg

For more adventures with Sue, view my June and August 2007 archives!