Thursday, August 21, 2014

Painting Parent - Billy Seccombe

Today's Parenting Parent is
Billy Seccombe

How many children do you have? What are their ages?
We have 1 child.  He is 4 years old.

How did your artistic career begin?
I think I knew I was going to be an artist at a very early age.  I realized that I excelled at art and enjoyed it.   It was my greatest asset throughout school and growing up.  Being an artist has always been an ambition of mine.   I began drawing when I was young and my favorite inspiration was MAD magazine where I would copy the drawings insesintly.  As I progressed, I really learned how to draw in high school.  I had a great teacher, Kay Polito; who taught me how to draw properly.  From there, I went on to art school at Syracuse University where I studied illustration.   Upon moving to New Jersey 8 years ago, I refocused my direction and spent time studuing at the Arts Students League in NYC honing my skills as an oil painter.  Curerently, I am represented by Dacia Gallery in NYC and am working on a series of portrait commissions as well as maintain a full-time position as a designer.

What is your Parenting/work/art situation?
As most fine artists, I have a full-time job as well where I am a Sr. Designer at a children’s licensing company.  Additionally, I maintain a painting studio where I’m currently working on a series of various commissions and gallery work.   Our son is in day-care locally and so I drop him off and pick him up daily as it is close to both our home and my office.  

When do you make time to do your art and do you have a regular art routine?
The evenings and the weekends are the times when I burn the midnight oil painting or doing other freelance projects.  Lately, I have been saving my painting time for during the weekend so that I can utilize day light to my advantage.

Do your children get involved with your art?
That’s a funny question.   Yes!  My son loves to help me.  He is his dad’s helper and shadow at that.  He often asks to help me on my paintings which I have no problem with.  You’d think that it would be a crazy idea, and maybe it is, but I will allow him to place some large solid colors in the background occasionally if only to keep him busy.  I usually paint over it.   

Do they inspire aspects of your art?
Sure.  My son has ended up in my paintings as I recently did a candid portrait of him for a gallery show.  Ironically, it sparked a series of commissions from that work.  

How has having children changed your artwork?
Having a child limits the time you have to spend on your art.  This has actually benefited me because it forces me to be more spontaneous, looser and more impressionist with my work because I can longer invest 100 hrs on a work.  It must be done faster and often with limited free time.  I try to paint during his nap time which can be for a couple hours at a time.  You must move quickly and without as much thought.  Your actions have to be more spontaneous.  I’ve seen my work grow and develop into my own style lately as a result.

How does making time for artwork influence other household tasks?
Again, you have limited time to work quite often.  I do find that I’m interrupted many times and so an in-progress portrait is put on hold for a trip to the park, or a bike ride, or the beach.

Have different ages of your children been more difficult to make time for artwork and in which ways?
Yes.  When my son was first born I really didn’t paint for the first year or so.  This as a result of focusing on a new born but also wanting to take a break from my art and know when I got back to it, if I did at all, it would be more honest.

How do you encourage your children to be artistic?
I am trying to push my artistic values on my son as much as possible but I do enjoy watching him like to paint also.  He has a little easel in my studio right next to mine where he keeps his paints and brushes.  Often I will set up his paints so he can spend some time with me in the studio.

Do you feel extra pressure as an artist to raise your children to be artistic?
No, I don't feel pressure to raise my children as artists.  Of course, it would be great to have them follow in my foots steps but ultimately I want them to find their own voice.

In what ways does being an artist make being a parent harder or easier?
I don't know that being an artist makes being a parent easier or harder but I will say that you spend every waking moment thinking about art and find every spare moment to create.  Being an artist is a way of life and I think it carries over into everything in your life including being a a parent.  

Do you think being a parent affects the way you are perceived as an artist?
Not at all.  I don't think it affects how people look at my art or what people think of me as an artist.  


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Ivy with Zorn Palette

I have been wanting to experiment with the Zorn Palette so tonight I worked on a small 10x10 painting.  Please excuse the image quality, all were taken at night in my studio.
I started with a  drawing transfer using oil paint. I had never tried this method and had just watched David Grey's instructional video on the process. Next time I would chose to make the oil much lighter because It has been difficult to cover all of those lines.

Next I blocked in the shade side, and stated with modeling the form on the light side.

Here I am starting to work into the dark side.

My palette in Process, Colors used were Titanium White, Flake White Replacement, Cad Red light, Yellow Ocher, Ivory Black and I also added some Paynes Grey to get some blue tint in the shirt area.

Completed Painting but Under terrible light. Will post a better photo soon. I keep on finding little touches to make but will not work on it after tonight. In all it took about 3 hours. So wonderful to be able to work wet into wet on the whole project.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Eddy 2 hr study

I went to the Torpedo Factory in Old Town Alexandria on Saturday for the first time and met several other portrait painters. One of them invited me to come back on Wednesday to join her in painting. We had talked about how painting can be lonely especially when I work from a studio in my home and only when kids are in naps or to bed for the night.
She hired a model for a painting project she is working on but she allowed me to chose the pose and I got right to work. We had about two hours with several breaks. I felt very happy with what I accomplished in the two hours but see several areas that need further work. If I had more time or several sessions I would have taken longer to perfect the drawing and would have been able to capture a better likeness. However I do think it looks like Eddy and he thought so also.
The Painting Parent segment of the blog has been so much fun to work on. I think it helps to read the stories of other artists who deal with some of the same pressures. I also am encouraged to find out how they have made careers in art work whether full time, while taking care of children, or in the hours available after a full time job.
I have several interviews ready to be posted to the blog but am aiming for a once a week schedule.  Coming up this week, Billy Seccombe and later in the month Anna Rose Bain and Erin Huber.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Painting Parent -Rebekah Bynum

I am starting a new weekly segment to my blog, I will be interviewing parents who are artists about combining the two. Up until now my blog has been about me trying to get going as a professional artist but I am getting tired of writing about myself all of the time and I would really love to get great advice about parenting as an artist from others so I thought that it might be something others could get a lot from also. I like to inspire others to go for it and try something awesome. Even if it never gets past painting after kids are all in bed, I am still making time for my art.
I thought of this idea and then did some research to see if other sources exist like this. There are not many but one good one is the MAP - Mother Artist Project started by Erin Huber. It is a great resource also to learn about Mothering artists. I promise I am not just copying.

My first Painting Parent is.....
Rebekah Bynum
Spirited Art
"Uncork Your Creativity!"

How many children do you have? What are their ages?
I have two kids.  Tru is 7 and Sofie is 5.

How did your artistic career begin?
I started receiving commissions in college for murals,
house renderings and portraits.  My first portrait
commission was from my painting professor!
What is your Parenting/work/art situation?
I started Spirited Art when Tru was 4 months old,
and by the time Sofie was born we had expanded to a
full time studio with plans to franchise.  I would teach
 two night classes/week.  The kids have grown up
alongside a growing business.  We now have 7 Spirited
Art studios around the country, five of which are
In the past two years, I’ve switched back to more
commission based work.  It makes me happier.
Running a business does not!  The kids are at an easy
age now and I have a lot of support from my
husband (most of the time).
When do you make time to do your art and do you have a regular art routine?
Both children are in school.  (HOORAY!!!)  I split my days making paintings and instructions for Spirited
Art, working on portraits, and running around like a headless chicken at the grocery store, gym, kid
sporting events, etc...
Do your children get involved with your art?

Not if I can help it.  They end up covered in paint when they
 do!  Actually, they like to attend kid classes
at Spirited Art.  But when I’m painting with oils at home,
they know that some of it is poisonous so they
leave me alone.  Besides, they’d rather play Minecraft.
Do they inspire aspects of your art?
Most definitely!  I switched to acrylic paint when I became
pregnant.  And before children, my style was much more
tight and literal.  They have inspired a more frantic, manic-toddler style of looseness.
How has having children changed your artwork?
For one thing, I realized right out the gate that I’d need to
paint fast or not at all.  No more agonizing
about it!  Just paint!
How does making time for artwork influence other household tasks?
Only in the worst possible ways.
Have different ages of your children been more difficult to make time for artwork and in which ways?
Every age has presented different challenges.  Fortunately, now the children are cognizant of the studio
rules, i.e. Don’t eat paint, Don’t put paint on your sibling or pets, Don’t touch the canvases--they’re wet!
Stuff like that.

How do you encourage your children to be artistic?
I think all children are artistic until they start talking themselves out of thinking they are. I tell them that there is no wrong way to express yourself in art.
Do you feel extra pressure as an artist to raise your 
children to be artistic?
No.  I do, however, feel a lot of pressure (from myself) to make 
sure they’re polite, funny, and have good taste in music.
In what ways does being an artist make being a parent harder or 
Being an artist is a pretty selfish gig most times.  I mean, I need
time, space, and the desire to paint. Wiping noses and bottoms,
doing laundry, and saying no at least one million times doesn’t
inspire me much to make art.  So I get frustrated a lot.  Also, I’m
not the most organized person; I think that makes it hard for me to be a great parent.  On the flip side, I am pretty laid
back, curious, and I like to have fun
with the kiddos. Some of these things may be traits of an artist.
Over all, I’d say it’s a moot point.
Being a parent, no matter your profession, is hard and easy.
Do you think being a parent affects the way you are perceived as an artist?
No.  And my mantra is this: Other peoples’ opinion of me is none of my business.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

What happens in a Month

Terrible it has been over a month since my last post. But what a busy month it has been. We started the month with a trip to Florida where beach time, theme parks, and visiting art galleries occupied our time.
I am now being represented by Amelia SanJon Gallery in Amelia Island Florida so if you are in the area stop by, better yet buy something! I took in six paintings to let the Gallery owner browse through and choose from and she wanted all six to sell in the Gallery.
"Beach Trio" Oil on Canvas 16x20

"Dunes" Oil on Panel 6x9
After Florida the three kids went to stay with their Grandparents for a week and a half. I had such a peaceful time. I finished my bathroom remodeling project, went to the National Gallery with my Art Teacher, finished a painting of St Francis De Sales for m Church, saw two movies in the theatre and went on several dated with my husband. I also was reminded just how mentally exhausting children are. Without them around I felt so refreshed and clear minded, but I did miss them.
St Francis de Sales
Bargue Drawing from Class

Color Study
Work in Progress
 I have also been working on a portrait commission. I only have the first layer on part of the painting but it is coming along slowly.