Featured Artist Dina Gardner is the guest artist for Pop Up beginning August 13 to August 19. Read on to learn more about her inspiration, her process, and her work.
AUGUST 13 to AUGUST 19
“ I’ve always been fascinated by how artists, whether they are painters, musicians, writers or anyone who uses their gift of creativity, work through their creative process. I’m fascinated that the process of creating art is different for every artist, regardless of their medium.
My process for painting with pastels looks like this: I start by turning on some music. My musical tastes are wide and varied and they set the mood for my day at the easel. There is a lot of singing that happens while I paint (somewhat on key but that is debatable) and dancing too (not bad for a white girl.) Once the music is on, I then select a photograph I’ve taken and then create a thumbnail sketch. It is usually a very simple sketch, just enough to capture three to five large shapes that I see in the photo. I take a lot of creative license here, often adding or deleting objects in the photograph. Then I re-draw my sketch on my ‘canvas’ which is a gritty piece of pastel paper. Next, I lay down my first layers of color with both hard and soft pastels and then paint over these layers with a paintbrush dipped in alcohol. And yes, vodka, gin or tequila do work in a pinch! The alcohol sets the first layer in place and forms the ‘underpainting.’ Once this layer dries, I lay down layer upon layer of color, often letting the underpainting peek through. Once in a while, there are happy accidents. Sometimes there are tragic outcomes. But all the time I am grateful that I found this creative outlet at this stage of my life.
My paintings reflect the things that I am drawn: to oceans and water, skies, forests, marshes, and meadows. I’m also inspired by my travels and I love cities and architecture. When I paint, from a photo reference or even when I paint plein air, I’m not painting what the subject looks like but rather I am painting what my response is to the subject.
For me, the most fascinating ‘accident’ of painting is that I now see the world in an entirely new light…literally. I see light and shadows like I never did before and I see color very differently. I’m constantly asking myself how it is that I’ve never really noticed the shadows cast by a tree at 2:00 pm versus the shadows at 10:00 am. And who knew there were so many shades of green in a meadow or a forest? Now when I look at objects in nature, I look at them through a very different lens than before I started painting. I am constantly asking myself ‘if I were to paint this or that, what color would I use for the underpainting?’ or ‘how would I go about painting that bright spot of light behind that cloud?’ This newfound perspective has helped me to see everything around me in a totally new light (cheesy pun but true) and I now have a much deeper appreciation for colors, light, shadow, the way the sky reflects on the water, color harmony….all of which I work to express in my paintings.
For more info about Gardner and her work, follow this link to her website.