Monday, December 15, 2008

????? Questions ?????

It is another cancelled day of school for the kiddos, so I am once again at home and not at the studio. I do have time to go though a bit of my emails.

I get quite a bit of emails asking me questions about my medium, tips, and then more general questions. I try and write back, but admit sometimes I read the email and before I answer it, they drop off my gmail's front page and go unanswered. Not usually, I swear! I was thinking, though, sometimes the questions and answers would be appropriate for posting on my blog.

A student just sent me SEVERAL questions that looks like some sort of assignment... and they are below along with my answers.


1. What school did you attend, and what degrees do you hold?

Northern Illinois University - I have a BSED in Art Education

2. How long have you been painting?

Well the answer always is "as long as I can remember" but I graduated in 1997 and would say I got serious about my work in 2003.


3. What mediums do you prefer to work with?

I work in colored pencil primarily and some pastel, both on sanded supports.

4. How did you decide to become an artist?

There wasn't much deciding - it was what I wanted to do in some way or another since I was young. Except for the brief time as a child when I wanted to be a professional gift wrapper at a department store.

5. What artists influence your work?

What artists don't?! I am influenced by all the art I see: contemporary or from the past. If I had to choose from the past: Vermeer, Rembrandt and a touch of Sargent for portraiture and Pieter Claesz and Morandi for still-life.

6. Do you currently have any exhibitions?

I always have work in my regular galleries: Monadnock Fine Art in Keene, NH, Chasen Galleries in Virginia and North Carolina, and Sharon Art in Peterborough, NH. I also have some work in several regional juried or group shows at the moment.

I also just received confirmation of a two person show I will be having in the fall of 2009 with my friend and fellow color pencilist Gary Ruuska, in Jaffrey at the Civic Center Gallery.


7. Where do you draw inspiration for you work?

Sometimes it is a particular object or color scheme that inspires me and sometimes it is an idea that rolls around in my head for a while. Once I get an idea, I've learned to do at least 2 or more pieces based on that idea and sometimes a complete series where I've taken the initial idea and tweaked it for more compositions. I do this because, in part, there are only so many good ideas one can have without becoming gimmicky and sometimes the 3rd or the 5th of a series (or idea) can be the best.

For portraiture, the sitter inspires the arrangement.

8. How long does it take you to complete most projects?

Depends on the size and complexity. I work regular hours when I draw: from 8:30 - 3pm and can get a decent sized piece done in a week if working full-time everyday that week.

9. Do you do any freelance work?

I have. Mostly local, and when asked; I haven't sought freelance illustration. I've done covers and illustrations for a couple of college magazines here and for local non-profits.

10. What, in your opinion, is the best way to get work noticed by prospective clients?

Well I've found that the more you are seen the better. That doesn't mean you should hang in the local pizza shop... but when an opportunity to show in a reputable place becomes available, I wouldn't pass it up. I've found that the more people see my work and are comfortable with it, the better I sell. I have work in my regular galleries, do the local Art Walk and Art Fair (only the local ones), and will show in a coffee shop if they have the right atmosphere.

Donating work to local charity auctions and the like are a great place to be seen as well.

11. Is the pay for this line of work enough to support a family?

Hmmmmm.... if you are willing to work HARD, consider it a job, and have a VERY SMALL family. Teaching classes in the community is a good way to ensure you have some steady income.

The fact that as an artist you have no health care, however , makes it hard to support a family... having a spouse who has a regular job with benefits, I have to say is very very helpful .

12. What advice can you give me to help me become a success as an artist?

View it as a job, be flexible, and have confidence in yourself.

3 comments:

Scott D. Tillett said...

Pretty good idea for a blog entry Nicole. I've been contacted by four art students this past year asking pretty much the same questions. I may have to "borrow" your blog entry idea:)
Sorry to hear about the ice storm you guys had this past week. Hope your electricity is back on.

Katherine Tyrrell said...

Nice post Nicole - I'll be featuring this on Sunday. You may get more questions!

veda murthy said...

Hi Nicole,

Good questions and lovely answers there. Its so nice to know more about you, your work, inspirations, etc.

Merry Christmas!

Best Regards,
Veda