Monday, March 30, 2015

Artist Spotlight Donna Robertson

How did you get started as an artist?
I drew a lot as a child but never expected to be an artist.  As an undergraduate, I majored in English and always expected to be a writer..   (I'm not, but have a daughter who is...)
My mother-in-law taught me to tole paint when my children were small.  I took a watercolor class in an Art Ministry when they were in junior high, and I was hooked!  Won a ribbon in my first show from the Greater Kansas City Art Association; that motivated me.  I painted in watercolor for 17 years.

I suppose I really got started when my older daughter (also an artist) and I moved to Wilmington and had a gallery there for six years.  My watercolors started to sell.  I took a course in the French Impressionists at UNCW and after a visit to see the Monet- Renoir exhibit in Richmond, I switched to oils.  It was not too long before I had several galleries showing my work and I won many other awards.

Who or what has influenced you the most?

I think that Rick McClure, a teacher from Oklahoma, influenced me most.  I took at least five workshops from Rick when  we were showing at the same gallery in Wilmington.  I really love his work.  The other professionals I most admire are Richard Schmid and Mark Boedges.  I could not overlook Wyeth and Sargent.

Describe for us a breakthrough moment in your work:

I had a breakthrough when I began to experiment with watermedia, particularly inks.  I had great success with abstract waves done on very smooth paper.  But I found it very difficult to mat and frame under glass when I had to travel some distances with the paintings in the back of my car.  My galleries are spread over a large area.   And there is no question but that oils command a higher price.

As an artist, what is it that you love about what you do?

Painting is an absolute passion for me.  I love everything about it, particularly the color.  I get totally absorbed in my work and have no idea how time passes.  I love to watch people connect with the work and am privileged to see that happen when i am working in my daughter's gallery on the Outer Banks.  Art is a spiritual journey for me so those connections are spiritual as well.  I find most of my inspiration around the ocean, which is why I moved to this area.  I love to paint anything in nature and particularly love painting flowers.

If you weren’t a painter, what would you be?

If I were not an artist, I might have been a counselor or a manager in a Continuing Education division.  I have a graduate degree in that field. To some people, it seemed like a real sacrifice when I left that field.    But art makes me extremely happy, and you can't beat that as a reason to keep doing what you're doing.  It is a constant challenge to improve and do something new....who knows, maybe something great!

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