Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Across the Lily Pads

New work, and breathing softly upon this page. 

‘Across the Lily Pads’
24” x 18”. 
Oil on Gessoed Cradled Sandeply. 

Will be available through the Sylvan Gallery in the near future. 

Thank you very much!

Cheers, ~ Polly ~

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Good News!

Hello World ...

At the moment, I am tentatively testing out a blog manager app 'blog touch' for blogger in the hopes of being able revive my barely breathing blog and the desire to maintain it. I realise it's been over a year since I've made a post on my blog.

Life has its way of pulling us away and thrusting us deep into it and showing us what priorities are important to us. 

For three straight years I dedicated myself to conducting Artist Interviews on my blog, which I enjoyed so very much and then those efforts faded, not exactly an intentional thing but more so because of timing and now with a less then willing laptop to keep up with my demands, the artist interviews are currently on the back burner until I can afford to purchase a new laptop. 

With this mobile blog post I hope I can at least breathe some life back into my blog .... and I have some fun and exciting news from the studio just might be the ticket!

My painting, 'Binoculars #203 - The Swimmers' recently won the 'People's Choice Award' for the show 'The New England Landscape' at the Lyme Art Association in Old Lyme, CT.

Binoculars #203 - The Swimmers.
16" x 72". Oil on Panel. 2016.
Copyright. (Private Collection).

This is the first time since high school my work has received any award!! I must admit I was truly stunned that my painting won this tremendous honour and I am still basking in the afterglow. 

So for moment if you'll allow me to slowly dust off my blog with a few blog posts here and there, I would be most grateful. Thank you!! 

Until next time ....

Cheers, ~ Polly ~

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Artist on Artist with Willem Johan Hoendervanger

Celebrating the 3rd Anniversary  
Artist on Artist Interviews

Today gives me immense pleasure in celebrating the 3rd Anniversary of the Artist on Artist project! Since its birth, 19 artists, both genders of varying mediums and styles have participated in this project. The premise of this project is to help promote, recognise, and encourage living artists and their work; of whom I personally and professionally admire. It is extremely important to me that each gender, race, style, and medium be fairly represented in this project and, it is equally important that each artist have the opportunity to properly represent their voice and spirit, and their work as they see fit.  

For this month's Artist on Artist Interview, I am greatly honoured to present to you all, Netherland Maritime Artist, Willem Johan Hoendervanger. I first discovered Hoendervanger's work about 10 months ago, quite accidentally on Instagram through the hashtag #maritimeart. I was immediately drawn to the realism and accuracy of his ship portraits and, to the clarity and freshness of his watercolours. 

And now without any further adieu here is Willem Johan Hoendervanger's interview along with selected works.

Artist on Artist Interview with Willem Johan Hoendervanger

Willem Johan Hoendervanger 

Polly - Hi Willem! And welcome to the AoA project, it's a great pleasure to celebrate its 3rd Anniversary with you and your art! Ok, let's get started ... how are you doing today and can you tell us a little bit about yourself, where you're from and, perhaps what is your earliest memory of when you knew you were an artist?

Willem - Hello Polly, thanks for having me in your interview series! I'm doing fine today, I'm busy working on several projects at the moment which I will tell you later on more about. First of all I was born in 1980 and live and work in Vlissingen, the Netherlands which is situated at the estuary of the river Scheldt and the North Sea. It's a very busy area talking about ships because it's the shipping lane to the Port of Antwerp, Gent, and Vlissingen. Every day around 150 ships passing by my hometown Vlissingen! The combination of ships and the beautiful surrounding of the Northsea and the Westerschelde and of course the ever changing skies /moods gives me almost too much inspiration. To answer your question. I've been drawing and painting since I could hold a pencil, so started at a very young age. The idea that I might become a full time professional maritime artist came much later, I think at the age of 15.

Prinses Margriet | Oil on Linen | 19.69 x 27.56 Inches 

Polly Tell us about your art education; are you self-taught, or did you attend an art school?

Willem - I have finished the Art Academy in the Netherlands. Of course there is no such education for becoming a maritime artist, so I taught myself how to do it simply by drawing and painting every day. The other part is studying and watching your subject, that's half of the work! I think I have succeeded in creating my own style which can not being compared with any other marine artist, I'm quite happy with it. It's always a thrill when the client feels the intent and efforts you've put in of your piece of art, in the end that's the best part of the whole process.

Fairmount Summit | Watercolor on Canson paper | 9.45 x 19.69 Inches. 

Polly - Speaking of style - in your own words; how would you describe your style? 

Willem - I would describe my style as realistic. I try to capture the essence and character of each ship I'm painting. In the field of marine art shipping companies and other customers want their ship to be exactly like their ship, no errors are permitted. The other part of the style are the sky and the sea which have to get as much attention as the ship itself. These three aspects must be in a good balance to create a good piece of marine art. Style also includes the use of 'clear' colors and how you handle your brushes / medium. Finding the balance between painting in a realistic way and adding artistic values is the essence of my work and style. 

Smit Singapore | Watercolor on Arches paper | 17.72 x 25.59 Inches. 

Polly - ​Tell us about your studio space; where is it located, what kind of space is it like, how do you keep it!?! 

Willem - It's located in my home in Vlissingen, so that's very handy, actually it's not a very large room, but good enough for creating my art. When looking though the window I have a beautiful view at the historic centre of Vlissingen and the ships as well. I like to keep my studio clean and tidy. I'm a great proponent of working organized and structured. So I have to disappoint you Polly, no romantic and artistic mess in my studio, no splashes of paint on my clothes and things like that....! When I have to create an oil painting I can remove my desk and put my (large) old easel in place, so the space is quit multi-functional. It's a very simple white room with noting on the walls, it's all about creating art without any or less distractions.  

Iver Example | Watercolor on Arches paper | 17.3 x 26.4 Inches. 

Polly - HA! No disappointment here, Willem, it's your studio. You said earlier you have some projects you're working on at the moment; can you tell us about​ these ​projects?  

Willem - Currently I'm working on a new series of 5 paintings for Vroon, which is a large Dutch shipping company. In the past I have created 13 paintings for Vroon. Besides that commission I'm working on a couple of paintings for an upcoming expo later this year. I'm also busy working on a book which will be published in 2016, the work mainly consist of writing the texts for each painting, and of course creating some paintings of ships which I think must be included in the book.

HAM 310 | Watercolor on Canson paper 15.75 x 19.69 Inches. 

Polly - That's tremendous news, congratulations! What is your ultimate goal, or dream project you want to do with your art?

Willem - I'm happy as long as I can keep on creating maritime art for myself and my customers.

Statendam | Watercolor on Fabriano paper | 18.11 x 29.13 Inches.

Polly - Speaking of your customers; what are some memorable responses have you had to your work? 

Willem - The best part of the whole process of making art is to have a customer who is satisfied to the full. For some customers my paintings brings back memories from their time at sea. Shipping companies use my work to show in their offices or to give away to their clientele. From time to time my work is used as a present at naming ceremonies of new ships. I'm happy and honored when my work is 'coming home' to a customer.

Zr.Ms. Zeeland | Watercolor on Canson paper | 14.75 x 19.69 Inches.

Polly - How do you balance your studio/creative time? 

Willem - Actually my studio time is my creative time. So it mean I try to work as much as possible during the workweek, sometimes I work in the weekends as well when there is a deadline, or when I feel must work or take advantage of an inspirational flow. Most of the time I try to work 'office' hours, it keeps me sharp and structured, for me it works well. Besides working on a painting in my studio I make time for acquisition, administration and social media. Last but not least I spend some time reading and studying for (upcoming) paintings, this also includes watching ships in real life.  

Noordam | Watercolor on Canson paper | 9.06 x 19.69 Inches.

Polly - Tell us who are some of your favourite artists?

Willem - There are so many good artist, the list will be too long to handle here. Let me focus on some maritime artist I like which I'm thinking of at the moment in no particular order: Jochen Sachse - Carl G.Evers - Herman Bosboom - Ian Marshall - Kenneth Shoesmith - J.C.A.Goedhart - Peter J. Sterkenburg - William Muller - John Allcott - Charles Pears - Walter Zeeden -Norman Wilkinson and the list goes on and on .... Why? They all know how to paint ships! 

HAM 310 | Watercolor on Canson paper | 15.75 x 19.69 Inches. 

Polly -What has been the most challenging aspect for you as artist?

Willem - Creating paintings that satisfy my (high) standards. 

Pool Express | Watercolor on Arches paper | 17.3 x 26.4 Inches. 

Polly - Who has been your greatest support?

Willem - Sounds maybe a little bit selfish but I would say myself, besides that friends, family and colleagues are of great support as well. Visiting expos can also be very inspiring and influence the way you work. 

Agnes | Pencil on Fabriano paper | 18.11 x 29.13 Inches. 

Polly - That's understandable all artists ultimately do rely on their own drive and skill when it comes to creating work. Speaking of skills, if you could try your hand at another medium or genre what would it be and why? 

Willem - I would like to spend some more time creating paintings of trains and airplanes, I was commissioned a couple of years ago to do two paintings of railway wagons, unfortunately I haven't got the time yet to further develop that, but I liked it very much. Talking about mediums, I wish to spend some more time in making large oils, and bring my oil skills to a next level. 

Herik rijtuig | Watercolor on Arches paper | 16.54 x 24.02 Inches

Polly - If you could apprentice with any artist dead or alive, who would it be and why? 

Willem - I'm not that fond of being someone's apprentice because I think each artist has to create and invent it's own style all by him/herself. Of course you can always learn some technical and practical things from other artist which can be very helpful.  

Bremen | Watercolor on Canson paper | 15.75 x 23.62 Inches. 

Polly - If you could spend the day with one person, famous or not, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Willem - J.J.Cale -- I really enjoy listening to his music and it would be amazing to hang around with him. 

Amstelland | Oil on Linen | 19.69 x 27.56 Inches.

Polly - How often do you go to museums and galleries to see art? 

Willem - A couple of times per quarter. Last summer for example I have visited the Rijksmuseum (great Dutch 17th marine art) in Amsterdam and Panorama Mesdag in The Haque.

VOS Endurance | Watercolor on Arches paper | 17.3 x 26.4 Inches. 

Polly - Would you mind sharing something interesting about yourself most people wouldn’t know? 

Willem - At the moment I have a free postcard action running, so make sure to get a free one yourself! Details can be found here. While stocks last ... !

Lynx & Apollo | Watercolor on Canson paper | 11.81 x 23.62 Inches.

Polly - What words of wisdom do you have to offer to young and, aspiring artists? 

Willem - Now I feel really old...haha! No seriously, the best advice I can give is to keep on rolling. Keep on producing work and try to find a good work rhythm, I think that's the most important thing to succeed as an artist. Then the rest will start to flow. 

Prins Willem V | Watercolor on Fabriano paper | 20.08 x 27.56 Inches. 

Polly - And lastly, is there anything else you would like to share with us about you and or your art before we conclude? 

Willem - Yes I would like to tell the readers about the selections of my work that can be seen on my website: www.wjmaritiem.nl   

Saga Rose | Watercolor on Fabriano paper | 18.11 x 26.77 Inches. 

PollyThank you so much Willem for this wonderful and insightful interview into your artful life! I wish you the very best with your artistic endeavours and good luck with your upcoming book! Cheers! 

To learn about Willem Johan Hoendervanger please visit his website.


Saturday, August 1, 2015

Artist on Artist Interview with Yvonne Hemingway

Today it gives me great pleasure in presenting New England Watercolour Artist, Yvonne Hemingway. 

I first discovered Yvonne Hemingway's watercolours on Facebook through the Quintessential New England: Paintings by Facebook Artists. I was immediately drawn to the intimacy of her works, the sense of light and, her choice of subject matter; flowers, insects, and birds; all things great and small found in well loved gardens. Her watercolours are wonderfully delicate yet bold and, very pleasing to the eye.  

And now without any further adieu here is Hemingway's interview along with selected works. 

Artist on Artist Interview with Yvonne Hemingway 

Yvonne Hemingway.

Polly - Hi Yvonne and welcome to the AoA project, it's a pleasure to have you here! Ok, let's get started ... how are you doing today!?! Can you give us a little introduction about yourself and what is your earliest memory of when you knew you were an artist? 

Yvonne - Hi Polly – Thanks so much for including me in your artist interviews. I enjoy reading your posts and seeing the lovely art you have created, and am so inspired by the talented artists you have featured. 

 For as long as I can remember, I have loved to draw, which may have had something to do with my mom also being an artist. My earliest memories are of drawing horses and other animals. When a teacher in grade school told my parents that I had artistic talent, is probably when I first began to think of myself as an artist. My pursuit of being an artist would later get me into trouble in other classrooms though, when I would get caught drawing instead of listening to the teacher’s history lessons. 

 In college, I started out taking art courses, but got discouraged because what was being taught at that time was all about abstract art. Today, I have some understanding and appreciation for abstract art, but at that time it was like a foreign language, so I pursued a degree in business instead. I have been working full time in an office setting since then and have continued to draw and paint as a hobby. 

 Over the years, I have had the opportunity to take classes and workshops with some wonderful artists who have helped me improve my skills and grow more confident as an artist. Two years ago I was invited to exhibit with four other area artists, and that was the push I needed to spend more time on my art and seek out more opportunities to show and market my paintings. I love painting with watercolors and have used them exclusively for the past 30 years, but lately I find myself gravitating toward oils and plein-air painting. I just finished a 3 day oil painting workshop with Charlotte Wharton here in Massachusetts and am looking forward to a 10 day oil painting holiday in France in August. It is my hope (and plan) to become a full time artist in the near future.

'Portland Rose Garden'. 20" x 23". Watercolour on Arches Paper. 2013.

PollyOh! A 10 day oil painting holiday in France sounds wonderful - lucky you!! Can you tell us a little bit about this painting adventure; is it a workshop?, how you're preparing for it (any tips)?, how did it come to be? etc.  

Yvonne - Oh - yes I do feel very lucky to be taking this trip. I have never traveled overseas, and this is something I've wanted to do for a long time. I will be attending a workshop in the Dordogne region of southern France with a wonderful painter from Flower Mound, Texas - Nancy Medina. I found Nancy through the online art venue FASO where we both have our website. I loved her style of painting and her warm, bubbly personality, and felt this would be the right trip for me. 

 We will be staying at an artist's retreat called Le Vieux Couvent which is a restored convent with a painting studio, gardens and pools. The owners are an artist couple who will cook for us and provide transportation to the surrounding villages each day. Nancy paints beautiful flowers and country landscapes in oil, and has planned a busy, exciting schedule for us that includes painting in the gardens or studio in the mornings, and sightseeing, shopping, and dining later in the day. We plan to take watercolors and a sketchbook when we are out traveling, and just do some journaling if we want to. I plan to spend a lot of my time soaking in the atmosphere, culture, and enjoying the local people and their language. And of course drinking wine and taking lots of photos too!  

 As far as planning and tips - Nancy has done most of the planning and has kept in touch with helpful tips and advice. Nancy will provide the oil paints and solvents which she will ship ahead of time. I have been researching and shopping online to find a wet painting carrier (RayMar Art), small watercolor set (Sakura), and watercolor journal. I found a great 5" x 8" Pentalic watercolor sketchbook with a handy travel paintbrush attached on Amazon.....Love It! Luckily, I already have my passport, and now I just have to figure out how to pack as light as possible, so I can bring back lots of souvenirs. Can't wait for the adventure to begin!

'Birds of a Feather'. 18" x 24". Watercolour on Arches Paper. 2014.  

Polly - That's wonderful, I wish you a great with your trip! I'm curious, what was it about watercolour that attracted you to it?, and how would you describe your style?

Yvonne - What attracted me to watercolor at first was that it didn't involve chemicals, odors, mess and long drying time! Having a toddler around the house made it difficult to leave materials and wet oil paintings anywhere but under lock and key. So, I decided to take a watercolor course being offered through our local school system.  My first few attempts were filled with frustration and I was ready to give it up. Luckily, I was trying out this transition with a good friend who talked me into taking another course at Worcester Art Museum with instructor Bill Griffiths.  We learned a lot in his classes, and as I started to feel more comfortable with the medium, I began to appreciate it's unpredictable nature and the variety of properties each pigment offers, i.e. transparent, staining, opaque, sedimentary. Now I love the spontaneous effect of flooding the paper with water, adding color and seeing what happens!

My style is based in realism. Detail and bold colors are important to me, as well as trying to capture the essence of the atmosphere and the effects of light and shadow on the subject. I'm attracted to a variety of subjects, but find I am most drawn to the beauty and luminosity of flowers in their natural habitat.  

'Tiger Swallowtail'. 16" x 18". Watercolour on Arches Paper. 2014.

Polly - Can you tell us about your studio space; where is it, what is it like, how do you keep it, etc? 

Yvonne - Like many artists, my studio space is a spare room in my home. While it is not the ideal studio, I feel lucky to have a whole room I can fill with all my art materials and have a private, peaceful, convenient space to create.

 The "creating" area of my room is in front of the windows with a drafting table set up for watercolor painting and a watercolor easel next to it. This way I can choose between standing or sitting while I work. It also allows me to work on more than one painting at a time, as well as switching to oils, a new medium for me, on the easel. Finding space for all the materials involved with the actual painting as well as the framing and marketing supplies can be a challenge. I try to keep things organized on shelves, bookcases and file cabinets, but most of the time it's more important (and fun) to be painting!

 Naturally, I dream of someday having an open, spacious studio with great natural lighting and wall space to hang my finished paintings. But for now, I'll enjoy the space I have, and work hard to make the dream a reality!

Hemingway's studio space. 

Polly - Do you have any studio rituals; do you listen to music, or audio books, or something completely different?

Yvonne - Before I begin painting, I like to spend a little time looking at some inspiring art work; sometimes from Plein Air Magazines, or from some my favorite art calendars that I've saved over the years. This helps get the creative juices flowing and makes me eager to get to work. I have some favorite music that I like to listen to - usually piano music by Joe Blanchard ....who I discovered playing at Tower Hill Botanic Gardens in Boylston, MA, and also guitar music by Chris Lonsberry, a friend of my brother.

'Nelson Farm - Sterling, Mass'. 15" x 17". Watercolour on Arches Paper. 2014. 

Polly - Can you tell us who are some of your favourite artists and why? 

Yvonne - My favorite painter is John Singer Sergeant. Though he is best known for his oil paintings and portraits, he was also a gifted watercolor painter and produced over 2,000 works in this medium. The MFA Boston had an exhibit of over 100 of his watercolors in 2013. I had never seen a show of just his watercolors before, and was so blown away, I had to go back a second time and really observe his use of color and brush work. What I love most about his paintings is his vivid use of color and his fluid, spontaneous style. 

 After seeing that exhibit, I felt inspired to paint something in his style and using what I thought was his color pallet. I felt so “in the zone” working on that painting, and it turned out to be one of my best works, winning several awards. (Guardian of the Gardens) Winslow Homer has also been one of my favorite watercolorists. 

Some modern day artists that I follow online and/or have studied with are Fabio Cembranelli, Thomas Schaller, Annalein Baukenkamp, Dreama Tolle Perry, Margorie Glick, Nancy Medina and Charlotte Wharton. 

Hemingway's Watercolour Journal.

Polly - Oh yes, Sargent's and Homer's watercolours are excellent! I'm curious; what has been the most challenging aspect for you as an artist?

Yvonne - Sometimes, finding the time, motivation and inspiration to be creative can be a challenge. Staying connected with other artists and being involved in local art groups helps me stay focused and motivated on improving my art, and my life as an artist. The “business or art” can also be challenging and take up much more time than I want to give it. But…the effort seems to be worth it, as I have made so many new art connections and opportunities that have inspired me to paint more, which have led to learning more and improving my skills.

'The Guardian'. 26" x 20". Watercolour on Arches Paper. 2014.

Polly - Yes, finding time, seems to be the great challenge for many artists; I'm curious who has been your greatest support with your artistic endeavours?

Yvonne - I would have to say my mother, who is also an artist, has been encouraging and supporting my artistic pursuits for as long as I can remember. My high school art teacher, Richard Pelletier encouraged me to go on to study art in college (should have followed his advice), and played a roll in my receiving some local ribbons and consignment work. In more recent years, my sister Susan Richard has been a great support as well as many friends and relatives, especially a wonderful group of artists I feel fortunate to paint with every week.

'After the Storm - Cape Neddick, ME.' 21"x 30". Watercolour on Arches Paper. 2012.

Polly - If could own one famous work of art; what would it be and why?

Yvonne - There are so many that come to mind, it would be hard to choose just one. I would love to own any one of Winslow Homer's pastoral scenes; "Noon Time", "Boys in a Pasture", and I especially love "House on a Hill". I'm drawn to these paintings because they speak to the viewer emotionally about that time and place in a very simple, true to life way, and his handling of light and composition are superior. 

 Although I'm not a great fan of Van Gogh's art, I have always been drawn to his painting "Irises". At first glance I am drawn to the subject matter of flowers, the dynamic composition and wonderful colors. Then, knowing this painting was created during his last year of life while in an asylum in France, I sense he is trying to tell us something about his state of mind at that time. I'm sure there have been many interpretations of this painting: to me, the white iris seems to represent his feeling of isolation with the dark flowers and leaves representing his feeling of being overwhelmed by outside forces reaching toward him trying to destroy or hurt him. I was surprised to learn that the 3 top selling works of art at auction are Van Gogh's, with Irises being number one at $53.9 Million in 1989.

'Small Works White Flower Series. 8" x 10". Framed - Watercolour on 300# Arches Paper. 2015  

Polly - If you could spend the day with someone, dead or alive, famous or not; who would it be and why?

Yvonne - Hmmm ..... I can't really think of one person in particular, so I will just say a day in my favorite place (the seashore) painting with one of the many talented artists I follow on the Quintessential New England site.

'Easter Lilies'. 20" x 24". Watercolour on Arches Paper. 2014

Polly - Where can we buy your art?

Yvonne - I am mostly selling my work online and at local exhibits/venues. I currently have a painting on exhibit at the New England Watercolor Society's Regional Show being held at the Cape Cod Creative Arts Center, 154 Crowell Road, Chatham MA 02633 (508) 945-3583. 

 For more info visit www.newenglandwatercolorsociety.org/shows, and an exhibit of 25 paintings at the Townsend Meeting Hall Art Gallery located at the Townsend Public Library, 12 Dudley Rd., Townsend, MA. for more info: www.townsendlibrary.org. 

 My website is: www.yvonnehemingway.com and, I also sell from my Etsy Shop at www.etsy.com/shop/YvonneHemingway.com

Summer Rodies. 25" x 19". Watercolour on Arches Paper. 2015

Polly - And lastly, what words of wisdom do you have to offer to young and, aspiring artists?

Yvonne - Well, at this stage of my artistic journey, I feel I still have so much to learn and can only share some of the knowledge I have gained from other generous artists and by trial and error. For me, I have found I have grown most as an artist by being involved in an art community; whether it's Art Associations, Online Venues, Plein Air Painting, Art Meet-up Groups, Painting Workshops - they have all lead to relationships with other artists whom I have learned so much from and challenged me to seek out new creative ventures and work harder at my craft. I think that if someone has a passion for art, they should find a way to fit it into their life. Not everyone is able to follow the path of "Full Time Artist", but by feeding that passion whenever possible, it can grow into something more than a career and add to a rich and satisfying life.


Polly - Thank you so much Yvonne for this wonderful interview and for sharing your beautiful watercolours with us!! I wish you the very best with your artistic endeavours and have a lovely time with your painting trip to France this month!!

And thank you to everyone for taking the time to read Hemingway's interview and viewing her works!! Please feel free to leave a comment in the comment section below.

'Artist on Artist Interviews with Polly Seip' / Yvonne Hemingway -August 2015.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Artist on Artist Interview with Paul Batch.

Today it gives me great pleasure in presenting landscape and portrait painter, Paul Batch, to the Artist on Artist Interview project. 

Paul Batch is another artist who I discovered through vast artist community of Facebook. His dreamlike tonal landscapes with a splash of colour are what first caught my attention. The purposeful lack of detail and the subtle quality the 'artist's hand' in his wonderful handling of the paint in both his landscapes and portraits is what I found appealing. He carries over the dreamlike quality with his sense of light in his portrait paintings which in contrast to his landscapes have more refined details, given their inherent nature of being portraits. 

And now without any further adieu here is Paul Batch's interview along with selected works. 

Artist on Artist Interview with Paul Batch 

Polly - Hi Paul!! And welcome to the AoA Interview project! It's a pleasure to have you here with us today!! Ok, let's get started ... would you mind giving us a little background about yourself and your world perhaps; where are you from, where are you living now, that kind of thing, etc? 

Paul - Hi Polly thanks for having me here on AOA. Like most artists I've always loved to draw. I liked comic books as a kid and would copy my favorite super heroes, drew cars I thought were cool and other important things like that. As I got a little older I thought I might be able to get a gig drawing Spider-Man. I also did horrible in all of my academic classes in school so letting me go to art school was kind of the only option my parents had. 

 I ended up going to Hartford Art School because it was about an hour or so away from my folks in MA. Far enough away so I could do my own thing but not to far in case I needed a hug. When I got to art school I think a few months in there was a faculty exhibit. This is when I came face to face with my first Stephen Brown self portrait. It blew me away. I had never connected with another human being before like this. I didn't know Stephen at the time, and it would be another year or two before I would begin studying with him but I knew right then that this is what I wanted to do. I wanted to try and create something that could move people like this. 

 I have to add in here that my Dad and many people in my family, on both sides, are deaf. I grew up using sign language at home and I think that this visual language has played an important part of my need to express myself visually. 

 So with this need to express myself visually, and this incredible experience with Stephen Brown's self portrait I decided to become a painter. 

'Through the Mist'. 24" x 30". Oil on Canvas.

Polly - I would say your ability to translate light into the visual is fluent! And since you chose to become a painter, you work in oil(s) (correct?); what prompted you to choose working in oil(s) and would you mind telling us about your palette - what colours you use?, paints - preferred paint maker(s)?, mediums - if any and why?, and materials - canvas or panel, both? Etc. 

Paul - I paint with oils because they look better than the other mediums. The only other medium I like is egg tempera but I haven't given myself enough time to work with that since I was in school.
My "everyday" palette consists of ...

Titanium White- Gamblin 
Flake white replacement- Gamblin 
Ochre- Old Holland 
Transparent Red oxide- Grumbacher 
Cadmium Yellow Light- Gamblin 
Cadmium Orange Yellow- Old Holland 
Alizarin Crimson- Michael Harding's 
Pthalo Green- Gamblin 
Ultramarine Blue- Gamblin 
Mars black- Gamblin 

 I use this palette primarily out of habit, I've been using it for years and I'm comfortable with it. I'll add more colors as needed and whatever is in the tube that's close to the color I need is the winner. It took me a long time to unlearn that it's ok to use black and you don't have to mix yellow and blue to make green when you can just squirt some out of a tube. 

 As for a medium started using Gamblins Neo-meglip about a year ago and I love it. Before that I used liquin...lots and lots of liquin. Again I've messed around with all kinds of different mixtures but at the end of the day I just want to paint. If I can just dump some stuff out and it's good to go, then that's what I'm gonna use. 

 For surfaces I use both MDF and birch panels. I get them from Home Depot, chop them up in the garage and then gesso them. I still use canvas for larger pieces but will be trying out Dibond soon. I prefer working on a hard smooth surface. 

Paul Batch's palette.

Polly - Can you tell us what your studio space is like? Is it at home or, do you rent a space? It is large or, small? What kind of lighting do you prefer? What kind of easel you do use? Etc. 

Paul - Someday I'll have an actual studio space in my home. For now I keep small works in progress over my kitchen cabinets and pull those down to work on those in the evenings when the kids go to bed. I use a small table top easel on the kitchen table. Larger works are done in the garage on an easel I "borrowed" from college on the last day of classes. (Ssshhhh don't tell anyone.) For those larger works in the garage I have to coordinate a "daddy work day" with my wife so I can I can make sure I have a good chunk of time to paint. I have 5k flood lights in the kitchen and garage to try and get things close to daylight but there's still room for improvement. The bright lights also help keep me up all night ;). 

 I've also added a Thursday night portrait sketch group to my schedule which is great. I've able to get some plein-air done when we go out to parks or lakes as a family. My paints and set up are fairly small and mobile so I'm able to bounce around a lot.  

A work-in-progress in Paul's working studio space.  

Polly - I admire your dedication to your craft! You recently had a rather big milestone in your painting career as being a finalist in the Portrait Society of America Competition (a big Congratulations to you by the way!). Can you tell us a little bit about that whole experience; what it is was like, how it happened, what you did to prepare for it, and what kind of impact do you think it has had your art?

Paul - The Portrait Society of America competition has been a great thing. I actually got in for the first time last year. I went to the conference and got to see all these great artists and was so honored to be included with that group. I honestly felt like my getting in was a fluke thing and since I got in with a drawing I just figured that not many people entered drawings. 

 The piece that got in this year was a painting of my friend Nick. I had done some other portraits but I knew he would make for one that had a chance of going back to the PSOA. Firstly I love painting black people, I don't know if you can see it in the picture but the colors that you are able to use in the flesh tones are so exciting. When you see it in person there's a bunch of orange, purple, turquoise and reds. It really was a joy to paint. Plus he's got cool hair which was fun to play with. The fact that I got in a second time, for me, really validated that last year wasn't a fluke and I earned to be in the group. 

 Since I do portraits pretty much for myself it's really nice to be recognized on such a high level. The only impact I think it's had on my art is that I have to remember to do whatever I want. It might sound silly or egotistical but I have to do what I want, what I'm passionate about. Most of the times when I concern myself about whether or not something will sell or things like that the work tends to be quite mediocre. I'm actually quite happy where I am right now creatively and as always looking forward to the next painting.

'Nick Campbell'. 18" x 18". Oil on Panel.

Polly - That's wonderful attitude to have and I agree with you; painting what you want makes for better art! I'm curious (as are most people about artists); Are you able to be a 'full time' artist in that you are able to make a living with your art or, do you have a secondary job as a form of support for living? And if so, what is it that you do and how do you balance out your creative time? 

 Paul - It's a very popular question. I always answer it by first saying that my wife has a real job. I quit my day job two years ago when we started having children. The first six months without that steady income were scary as hell. My wife and I went from two people who were living quite comfortably to three people depending on one income. It was and continues to be a challenge. 

 Since I left my day job I have tried to earn the same while staying at home, and working less hours. (A couple of kids to watch surprisingly takes up a lot of time ;). The first year was tough, the second year was worse and this year I should beat my former salary. Can it be done? Sure. Is it easy? No. 

 When my wife and I first started dating I was flat broke. I had a good job but I was way upside down in a house and things were just financially messed up for me. Occasionally people would want to commission a portrait or some kind of painting and offer me fifty or a hundred bucks. My wife would see me politely decline these kinds of offers and she eventually was like "you didn't have enough money for lunch today! Why aren't you doing things that can earn you money?" I told her that if I do that for fifty bucks, then it's worth...fifty bucks. I told her it was worth way more than that and we'd just have to wait. Fast forward to today and now she's complaining I'm not charging enough and selling myself short. (Lol) In all seriousness though without her love, understanding and support I wouldn't be having the success I've been having lately. 

'Day Break'. 24" x 36". Oil on Canvas.

Polly - Can you tell us about your influences and inspirations; perhaps some of your favourite artists and why? 

Paul - I've made an honest effort the last couple of years to look at less art and look more at my life and the world around me. I still look at way more art than I should but I can't help it. Looking at other artists is great and there's a lot to be learned but the temptation to mimic, copy and steal is just to great. I'll still look to the past when I come across problems in my work; I mean there's no need to reinvent the wheel every time a problem arises, but I'm trying very hard to be honest and sincere in each and every painting I do. 

 As far as artists I like to look to for help. Here's my top ten in no particular order. (This list is subject to change.) 

1. Stephen Brown [*]
2. Rembrandt 
3. Anslem Kiefer 
4. Winslow Homer 
5. Scott Prior 
6. Gregory Gillespie 
7. John Frederick Kensett 
8. Turner (especially the nocturnes) 
9. Charles Warren Eaton 
10. Donald Jurney

Stephen Brown. Self-Portrait. Oil. [*]

Polly - Indeed, in today's world especially with social media at our finger tips, it's difficult not to see more art on a daily basis and I completely understand your sentiments. Though, if you could apprentice with any artist dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Paul - I wouldn't make a very good apprentice. I don't like stretching canvas all that much and when I do I sure as hell wouldn't want someone else to paint on it. 

Self-Portrait at 24. 20" x 24". Oil on Canvas.
(Paul is 36 years old presently)

Polly - In your own words, how would you describe your style of painting? 

Paul - I'm somewhere on the realistic side of the spectrum.

'Breaking Light'. 8" x 8". Oil on Panel.

Polly - If you could your hand at another medium or genre what would it be and why?

Paul - I'd like to restore old cars. I don't know how but I think I could get into it. My dad worked in auto body most of his life and I just think it would be cool. I'm either changing diapers or expressing myself through paint most of the time, it'd be a nice change of pace to go work in the garage for a bit.

'Waleska'. 18" x 24". Charcoal and Pastel on Paper.

Polly - Earlier you indicated that you face the challenge of depending on one income; I'm curious what other challenges do you face as an artist and what your thoughts on being an artist?

Paul - Oh going from two steady incomes to one was just crazy. I've got a wife who really believes in me. She gave me a great gift by letting me quit my day job and just go for it. I hope some day to be able to return the favor. (She loves her job and would still work anyway... but probably not as often.) 

My biggest challenge as an artist is making better paintings. 

'Beckon'. 9" x 4". Oil on Panel.

Polly Tell us what's happening in your studio now; are you working towards a show or on any interesting projects? 

Paul - What's happening now? I'm working on making some larger versions of some of my tiny seascapes. I'm trying to get in as much plein-air and portrait sketching as possible, which isn't as much as I'd like. I'm also teetering with the idea of doing a large double portrait of my kids out in the backyard. Not sure how I want to approach that one.

'Paul Mitchell'. 18" x 24". Charcoal on Paper.

Polly - Changing topics ... This is a question I ask all the artists I interview; if you could spend the day with one person, dead or alive, famous or not, who would it be and why?  

Paul - I'd grab an extra day with my dad. He passed before my kids were born so I'd like him to meet his grand kids. He'd probably take the opportunity to smack me for quitting my day job and tell me that I need to call my mom more. He was a great dad, his time here was just to short. 

Polly - In your professional opinion, what do you think constitutes as a good piece of art? 

Paul - For me a good piece of art is something that moves you, touches you inside and the less you can explain why is probably better.  

'Kerri (in warm light)'. 16" x 10". Oil on Panel.

Polly Would you mind sharing something about yourself that most people don't know about you?

Paul -I hate blueberries but I like blueberry muffins.

'The Last Pines'. 30" x 30". Oil on Canvas.

Polly - HA! That's funny you hate blueberries but like blueberry muffins. Well, thank you so much Paul for this wonderful interview ... as we close out do you have any final thoughts you'd like to say about you and or your art, any wisdom you may have to offer to young, and aspiring artists? 

Paul - Best advice I was given in school..."Keep painting, life is hard and you have to figure out a way to live and keep painting."


Polly - That's wonderful advice and please allow me to wish you the best with your art and your artistic journey!

To learn more about Paul Batch and his art please visit his website, blog, and Instagram ...

Website: www.paulbatchpainting.com
Blog: paulbatchpainting.blogspot.com
Instagram: paulbatch