Interview with Greg Kimsey

“The nude figure is easily the most challenging thing to draw or paint because it is so familiar to us as humans. If something is wrong proportionally in the drawing, then it is readily apparent. Practicing drawing the nude figure will improve all aspects of your art”

Greg Kimsey has a clear memory of his first artwork or what he thought was an impressive drawing of Batman. He was just 3 years old and has been drawing ever since. As a teenager, he was awarded an Art Scholarship to Piedmont College but decided to join the US Navy instead. Years later, he was determined to get more serious about his passion and started painting, taking courses and got a job doing artwork on furniture. 

“Reminisce Faso” by Greg Kimsey inspired by PoseSpace model Anastasia

Now Kimsey likes to tell stories with his paintings, works primarily in oils and his favorite subject is fantasy, but he also enjoys painting landscapes, portraits, and still-life. This talented American artist paints and draws from his studio and store, the Art-Full Barn: a unique and fun 1920’s barn he and his wife Gail founded in 1998 as a gallery, that later also became an art school, supply and comic store, and studio in Clarkesville, Georgia.

In this Q&A, artist Greg Kimsey shares with PoseSpace why he chose oil as his primary medium, a beautiful anecdote about one of his paintings and what advice he gives to young artists starting their careers:

Why did you choose oil as your primary medium?

Oil has a luminosity I am not able to achieve with acrylics. I love the smell of oil! I love the way you can work them for hours to blend, or can add a drying agent to get them to dry quickly. My second favorite medium is graphite. I love to draw, and I love drawing the figure in particular.

One of your favorite subjects is fantasy. Where do you get your imagery from?

My inspiration for my fantasy work comes from all around me, other artists’ artwork, as well as my imagination. I will come up with a scenario, then seek out figures that fit the story. Live models can be expensive and setting up photo sessions can take a very long time and effort. PoseSpace has done the work for me and so far I have found every pose I need. 

“Empress” by Greg Kimsey

In your artist statement, you mention that your ultimate goal is for others to find their own stories within them through your art. Do you remember a particular moment when this happened?

One particular painting was one called God’s Light, where a ray of sunshine was shining on a rock in a mountain stream. A gentleman came in and told me what the painting meant to him; that is was his wife’s soul calling to him, saying that she was OK, and he cried. I did too. He thanked me for painting it. For me, the painting signified God calling me back to art after 5 years of putting down the brushes “forever”. The stories are not that dissimilar. 

What are your goals or aspirations as an artist? 

I am currently working very hard to improve painting human skin. I think I can draw relatively well and accurately, but the subtlety of skin tones is another beast altogether. So I aspire to be better at painting figures, not just drawing them. 

How has your style changed over the years? 

I have gone through several style changes over the years. I had my “impressionism” period, the limited palette period, etc. I have evolved to my current look through plein air painting studies, studying old masters such as William Bouguereau (both his figures as well as his backgrounds), and soaking up current masters such as Cesar Santos and Andrew Tischler, and try to bring what I can use from their work into mine.

How do you start a work — do you have any rituals?

I don’t really have a ritual for getting ready to paint as far as meditation or anything like that. I have recently become more aware of longevity in my art so I prepare my surfaces and use materials that will stand the test of time. I do several thumbnail sketches, working out composition and values, before touching the canvas. I search for reference, whether landscape or figure, and try to work out any issues in photoshop before beginning to paint. I have found computers to be especially indispensable in creating my paintings. I use plein air studies or live models as well whenever practical or possible.

What challenges do you face working with the nude figure?

The nude figure is easily the most challenging thing to draw or paint because it is so familiar to us as humans. If something is wrong proportionally in the drawing then it is readily apparent. Practicing drawing the nude figure will improve all aspects of your art.

“Dance of light” by Greg Kimsey inspired by PoseSpace model IrinaV

What do you think of PoseSpace? Do you have a favorite model?

  I am so glad to have stumbled upon PoseSpace when looking for a model for a painting. I love the variety of models, skin tones, builds, and multiple angles for each pose. Anastasia is easily my favorite model, although there are several I go back to again and again. Thea, Jenni, Dave, IrinaV, Jesse, Mandy and Vaunt are my “go-to” models for my fantasy art. 

You also teach at the Art-Full Barn. What advice do you usually give to young artists just starting in their careers?

    The best advice I give all of my students is to start seeing as an artist sees. I urge artists to cast “labels” from their vocabulary and start seeing what an object is “doing”. It may be a tree, but don’t think of it as a tree; instead, see how it is illuminated, see its texture; is it soft and supple or is it gnarled and old, or maybe strong and stately. SEE and object, don’t label it. 

    My next advice for someone who wants to be a great painter is to become a great draftsman first. Learn to draw, and draw well, and your paintings will improve as well. That is where PoseSpace is invaluable as it offers the most difficult thing to draw at the outset. Everything after mastering the human figure is a piece of cake!

Greg Kimsey’s website: https://www.gregkimseyart.com

The Art-Full Barn: https://www.artfullbarn.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gregkimsey/

PoseSpace Artist Page: https://www.posespace.com/artists/?ai=463

Interview by Andrea Miliani

Interview with WJ Lindauer

“The universe seemed to instill in me an incredible desire to sculpt and to study sculpture and art”

American sculptor WJ Lindauer started his artistic career when he was 54 years old. Ever since he can remember he has had a profound interest in art, but, instead, he pursued a professional career as a stone and brick mason and log builder. In 2012, a serious arm injury forced him to retire early, but allowed him to reconnect with his lifelong passion: sculptures.

Lindauer quickly became a self-taught figurative sculptor, devouring every art, sculpting, and anatomy book he could get his hands on. Soon, he started producing pieces of art and learning more about different sculpting techniques and mediums. His previous career also provided him valuable knowledge and skills, and he rapidly mastered the plastic arts. 

“Darius” by WJ Lindauer

In this Q&A, WJ Lindauer shares with PoseSpace how he became an artist after a long career as journeyman and builder, details of how he learned to sculpt and what advice he would give to his younger self:

When did you first know you wanted to become an artist?

I suppose I had a slight inkling of my desire to pursue art when very young. I retained a love for and was sketching from a young age. I remember looking at the “Drawing and Art courses by mail” advertisements in magazines that existed at that time, hoping to be able to take one of the courses one day!

The older I got, those hopes were kind of shoved by the wayside. There was no support that I was aware of in the area I lived in to pursue an art-related career, more so a disdain for it in those years, so I sketched a bit through the first couple years of high school and that was the end of it.

I did sculpt a quite rudimentary sculpture of a partially nude “woman with a jug” pouring water in my sophomore or junior year of high school. It fired well. What I still laugh about today is the totally obvious “sideways glances” the nun who taught the class would continue to give to me concerning my subject matter! Haha!

“Bailey” by WJ Lindauer, inspired by Bailey018

You are a self-trained sculptor, can you tell us more about your learning process?

After school, I entered the work field and became a journeyman bricklayer, stonemason, and also a traditional log builder. Later years mostly focusing on historical work as it gave me more satisfaction in preserving historical structures.

After a life of this kind of work, I incurred some serious permanent injury to my shoulder and back which basically shut down my entire career about the end of 2012.

At this time and at about 54 years old of age, my learning process really started to begin.

The universe seemed to instill in me an incredible desire to sculpt, to study sculpture and art. It was almost like someone opened a faucet and the intense inspiration, desire, and understanding that I could and should do this gushed forth.

Living quite rural, I was nowhere near any larger cities or art-related communities to study, so I made the decision to self-train.

From then on, time was spent acquiring and devoured any book I could get my hands on concerning sculpture and some anatomy, as my passion seemed to lie in capturing the human figurative form and its beauty.

Slowly, I self-trained doing a stone sculpture and then moving to clay as a medium, learning more all the while. A lovely friend of mine, who will always have a special place in my heart, traded me a new kiln in barter for a couple of sculptures. I then had the ability to learn about kilns, firing, etc; and fired my own works.

“Yoga” by WJ Lindauer, inspired by Michaela025

Which artist has influenced you?

The two contemporary sculptors that influenced me the most are Bruno Lucchesi, and Philippe Faraut. Awesome sculptors. I’ve also felt a particular bond with Bernini  and Rodin‘s work.

Human figurative sculpture is my main artistic love.

What do you think of PoseSpace? Do you have a favorite model?

I love Posespace! Oh my… there are SO many lovely models in so many various awesome poses on Posespace it would be unfair to settle on just a few! I did a sculpt of Vaunt recently that I loved doing and quite a few others earlier.

At times sculpting from just a single photo I’ve created some lovely sculptures… but having ALL the angles from Posespace and from such high-definition photos is awesome! I feel that’s about as close to sculpting from a live model that you are going to get… without having that live model.

“Vaunt” by WJ Lindauer inspired by Vaunt220

Is art a hobby for you or do you make a living from it?

Basically being retired now… I would not call it a “hobby” which I feel is downplaying it. I just simply would say it’s a “Love” of mine.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Ah, yes! Hindsight is 20/20! I believe I would tell myself as a young person: do not ever stop pursuing your innate love for art. Keep pursuing it if even on a part-time level, no matter what opposition or obstacles come against it. You may very well be able to practice it full time one day!

 WJ Lindauer’ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WJ-Lindauer-Sculpture-621101638010460/

Interview by Andrea Miliani

Interview with Craig Werkheiser

“I love studying the complexities of the human form, so expressive, and so beautiful. I look for aesthetic qualities depicting emotion through composition, perspective, lighting and color”

Craig R. Werkheiser is a talented painter based in Pennsylvania, in the United States. He fell in love with art at a very young age and later studied at the Pennsylvania College of Art & Design. His subject matter is nature and wildlife. On his website, you will find beautiful portraits of tigers, golden retrievers, and french bulldogs, but also stunning paintings of the human figure. 

“Grounded” by Craig R. Werkheiser inspired by benp052 (image shared by artist)

Werkheiser started using graphite pencil, then acrylic and oil painting, and currently he prefers pastels and watercolors. His style has changed over the years and his talent has been recognized in competitions and art galleries. In 2019 he was one of the winners of  the 5th annual ArtPop Billboard Competition and his painting, The Snow Leopard Trio, was displayed on a billboard until January 2020.

In this Q&A, artist Craig Werkheiser shares with PoseSpace why he prefers figurative art, details about his greatest artistic success, what he recommends to artists who have an interest in pet portraits and more:

Can you tell us about your background and how you got into art?

I grew up in Allentown Pennsylvania where I took to art at an early age. When I was a kid maybe around 7 or so, my mom gave me an old drawing set and the book “Learn To Draw” by JON GNAGY. I was hooked! I needed to learn more besides watching Bob Ross on PBS so I went off to art school. I graduated from Pennsylvania College of Art and Design where I studied illustration. Currently I consider myself a pastel artist. Figurative work and animal portraits.  

Which artist painter has influence you the most?

Oh gosh, there are so many! Boris Vallejo is one artist that made a huge Impression on me. Also Jason Morgan for his wild animal paintings in pastel. 

Painting by Craig R. Werkheiser (image shared by artist)

Why figurative art?

To perceive someone so beautiful and be compelled to reproduce that beauty into art. 

I find figurative work to be my ideal form of expression. I love studying the complexities of the human form, so expressive, and so beautiful. I look for aesthetic qualities depicting emotion through composition, perspective, lighting and color. 

What do you like about posespace? Do you have a favorite model?

Posespace is such a great resource. Love being able to find reference photos with out the hassle of photographing myself or having to worry about copyright infringement.  I don’t have a model that is my favorite but, I’m a fan of the hard lighting and the 360° for each pose.  Ok, Becca.  

“Grace” by Craig R. Werkheiser inspired by becca425 (image shared by artist)

How has your style changed over the years?

I have learned so much over the years and I’m still learning more each day. I feel that my style is forever in development. I started with graphite pencil like most artists, which led to acrylic and oil painting, that graduated to watercolors and pastel paintings.  The past couple years I feel I have really settled in to a style I really enjoy.  An experimentation of colors starting with a watercolor on board with water and salt to create interesting designs. Once that’s dry I’ll start rendering figure drawings on top in pastel or charcoal. 

What’s been your greatest artistic success?

I won an art contest to have my artwork displayed on a billboard for an entire year. The contest was through ArtPop street art gallery and was from December 2019-January 2020 around Pennsylvania in the Lehigh Valley area. It was a pastel painting of three snow leopard cubs. 

Artist Craig R. Werkheiser next to the billboard with his painting (image shared by artist)

You also have experience painting beautiful pet portraits. What advice would you give to artists who have an interest in pet portraits?

Whenever possible have a great reference photo. Practice! Put in the hours and practice. Be willing to experiment. For most pet portraits you do want it to look like the animal that your drawing or painting, but you can always try different avenues, techniques, or mediums to get there. 

Craig Werkheiser’s website: https://www.myartwerk.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/craigwerk_myartwerk/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/craigwerkmyartwerk/


Interview by Andrea Miliani

Interview with Allen Lewis

“Study human anatomy! Understand how the human form comes together”

Allan J. Lewis is a talented American artist based in Atlanta, Georgia. His mother made drawings for him when he was a young boy and he has been fascinated by figure drawing ever since. Soon, he earned a reputation as a talented artist in his community, participated in several art contests and decided to pursue a professional career as a painter. 

Lewis continued his studies at the University of Maryland University, The Art Institute of Atlanta, and Georgia State University. He has earned several awards such as the Columbia College Art Merit Award, the Benedict College Art Award, and the Georgia National Fair Art Competition. Working mostly with oil, his beautiful paintings and delicate brushwork can arouse deep emotions in the viewer.

“Rest”, Oil on Canvas, 22”X28”, by Allen Lewis inspired by nedah043

In this Q&A, artist Allen Lewis shares with PoseSpace how he discovered art, which artists have influenced his work, what he recommends young artists to do during the COVID-19 pandemic and more:

When did you first know you wanted to become an artist?

As a small child, I watched my mother draw caricatures of my siblings and me.  Although she is not an artist beyond doodling, she did capture our likeness. To me it was magic, and I had to try it.  I was also fascinated with the family bible we kept on our coffee table. When my mother explained to me that they were not photographs but paintings, I had to learn how those artists made such life like images. 

How do you start a work— do you have any rituals?

Yes, I sketch my images onto the canvas using a 2B pencil.  The drawings are very detailed. While drawing, I visualize the colors I will be using.  I am very cognitive of the tints, tones, and shades that I will use in the painting.

 
 
 
 
 
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“Brianna” Oil on Panel, 12”X12”

A post shared by Aljulew (@aljulew) on

What is the importance of gesture drawing for you?

Very important! I attend live studio sessions here in Atlanta; however, I use the photos I have purchased from PoseSpace too. Using your images have help me improve my drawing skills.

“Her Moment”, Oil on Canvas, 20”X16”, by Allen Lewis using Katja207 as a reference

What do you think of PoseSpace? Do you have a favorite model?

I love this site. It has taken the worry out of copywrite infringement for me as a professional artist. I do not have a favorite model. All the models are great!  And, the quality of the images is simply outstanding.

Do you have a favorite living artist, whether famous or completely unknown?

Tarleton Blackwell, my first art teacher.

What’s been your greatest artistic success?

Being accepted into national art competitions.

What life experiences have influenced your work?

Traveling to different museums around the world and seeing first-hand the works of the great masters. Also, attending workshops with some of today’s great painters.  Workshops offer much more than formal art classes. My work is greatly influenced by the following artists: Rembrandt, Simmie Knox, Jeremy Lipking, Dean L. Mitchell, David Leffel, Odd Nerdrum, Ron Hicks, Jeremy Mann, and so many more.

“Cleansed”, Oil on Canvas, 30”X24”, by Allen Lewis inspired by Cath

Considering the COVID-19 pandemic, what advice would you give to young artists who are staying home?

Study human anatomy! Understand how the human form comes together. Doing this will go a long way in utilizing the photo references your company provide.  Also, study the elements and principles of design; especially color theory.

Allen J. Lewis’ website:  http://www.aljulew.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/aljulew/


Interview by Andrea Miliani

Interview with Nigel Follett

“It always starts with an idea, sometimes it’s a story I want to tell, other times it’s just a painting or a pure fantasy”

Nigel Follett is a talented award-winning artist based in The United Kingdom. He started painting as a hobby, using watercolor and oils, until he discovered digital painting and felt passionate for free-hand fine-art techniques in 2013. A year later, his painting ‘Ragnar’s Epitaph’ was short-listed for top 100 in 2014 for the International Lumen Prize for Digital Art.

Follett enjoys painting portraits, nature, and people. However, as he stated on his Artfinder page, he prefers to address contemporary matters: “I often use art to paint concepts relating to the challenging environmental and social issues we face and I am both passionate and inspired by these subjects.” His beautiful paintings show powerful and surreal images that invite viewers to think and reflect on what they see.

“Elemental” by Nigel Follett using AnaIv’s action poses as a reference.

In this Q&A, artist Nigel Follett shares with PoseSpace how he started creating art using digital media, how he discovered PoseSpace, what he’s been working on during the Covid-19 pandemic and more:

Can you tell us about your background and how you got into art?

My background is unremarkable and my journey into art started with an inspirational teacher at High School. He uncovered an ability that I hadn’t been aware of, but more importantly, he gave me the confidence to express it. That said, I didn’t pursue art other than as an occasional foray as a hobby until 2014, when the death of the son of a friend made me wonder how I could express my sorrow for her. I painted her son using an art programme and a mouse, because I had no traditional materials to hand. That was the beginning of an insatiable desire to create free-hand art using the new digital media that was available.

Are you painting anything related to the COVID-19 pandemic?  

No, but I am painting more, the latest of which is called ‘Oblivious’ which I’m sharing with you here. Much of what I paint is a visual narrative of what I see going on in the world. I’ve decided not to directly address COVID-19, but I have painted about what may have caused it – our wanton disrespect for our environment and the people, plants and creatures we share it with. ‘Consumerism’ is one such painting.

“Oblivious” by Nigel Follett

Can you tell us about the process of making your work? 

It always starts with an idea, sometimes it’s a story I want to tell, other times it’s just a painting or a pure fantasy. I visualise the complete painting and how I’m going to execute it. I paint using a water colour technique in the digital world, using brushes I’ve either created myself (hair and fur for example) or collected. I use a Wacom graphics tablet and the painting programme which is part of Adobe Photoshop, but I hasten to add that I never use photos within my work, it’s all free-hand and I often have to make time lapse videos to prove it.

“A Return to Innocence” by Nigel Follett

What do you think of PoseSpace? Do you have a favorite model?

I had to do a lot of hunting around the internet to find Posespace, because I had a ‘story’ in my mind, and it required a beautiful young woman looking at her reflection but appearing to be ashamed of it. Finding such images which weren’t pornographic was a struggle until I came across your brilliant website, which had 360-degree photographic sessions and a bewildering choice. The resulting painting was my first ever nude, ‘Trisha in Reflection’, using the model of the same name. I’ve used that original painting of Trisha in numerous other works since then – often clothed I might add – she has a demure quality which works so well in many of my works. As far as a favourite is concerned, I can’t say that I have one or that look at your models in that way. They are all incredible and bring different things to my work. ‘Damara’ featuring Cath is one of my favourite paintings because her hair is amazing and presented a major challenge to paint. The pose she’s in lent itself to an epic scenario.

“Damara” by Nigel Follett, using PoseSpace model CatH as a reference. 

Which artist or painter has influenced you? 

Waterhouse is a big influence and Dali, certainly.

Where do you get your imagery from?

My head, my surroundings, my interaction with others. On a more earthbound scale – My own photos, Posespace, Wikimedia Commons, Pixabay and others.

What’s been your greatest artistic success?

I’ve been lucky enough to have several, but the one I’m most proud of is a painting called ‘Ragnar’s Epitaph’, which was voted as one of the world’s top 100 digital paintings in the 2014 Lumen Prize, less than a year after I started painting in digital. It was displayed in the HQ of the Financial Conduct Authority in London’s Canary Wharf for three months. Last year, this painting became the cover for the book ‘Vikings and the Vikings’, published by US publisher McFarland. 

What advice would you give to young artists just starting in digital painting?

Be prepared to fail as you learn and enjoy it when you get it right. Developing technique isn’t about tools, it’s about how you use them. Feel a personal connection with your subject and the expression of that will tell stories that connect with others. YouTube is a great source of technique training, but don’t try to paint like everyone else, because there are so many really competent artists that look identical because they follow technique slavishly. Enter competitions and accept the criticism, because it’ll help you grow, no matter how harsh it may be.

“Consumerism” by Nigel Follet

Tell us one thing you thought you knew, that it later turned out you were wrong about.   

Where do I start? When I was young, I thought I knew everything, and that older people were has-beens. Now I am the very thing I was disrespectful of and I realise that I knew very little back then. I’m still being surprised and learning every day and I now know that until the light fades away for good, there is always something worth knowing more about.


Interview by Andrea Miliani

Nigel Follet’s website: http://cyberpix.co.uk

Artfinder: https://www.artfinder.com/nigel-follett#/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cyberpixman

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CyberPixMan

PoseSpace’s artworks: https://www.posespace.com/artists/?ai=150

Interview with Maren Jeskanen

“I like to express feelings and atmospheres using the poses that inspire me”

Artist Maren Jeskanen loves to paint and draw people, especially dancers. She is also a musician; she currently sells her artwork, sings a duet —The Soul Systerit—and works as a preschool teacher. Maren is from Pori, Finland, and felt passionate about art from a very young age. 

“Phoenix, from fire” by Maren Jeskanen using Candace028 as a reference 

Jeskanen doesn’t own a studio, she paints from her living room while she listens to a Netflix show or a movie. She sketches using pencils and charcoals and paints mostly with acrylics and tempera. This self-taught artist started participating in exhibitions in 2004 and national and international galleries have shown her work to various audiences.

In this Q&A, artist Maren Jeskanen shares with PoseSpace how she started painting, how music influences her work, who are her favorite artists and more:

Can you tell us about your background and how you got into art?

I have always been drawing, but I had never painted with oils before and wanted to learn that so I started participating in painting courses seventeen years ago. I started to paint a copy of a photo of two dancers and my teacher, an elderly artist, said: “Erm, you did pick a difficult one indeed.” As I finished the small painting he looked pleased but said nothing. The same thing happened with a few next ones I painted until he stopped commenting on the difficulty of the subjects. A year later he told me that there were not many of his students of whom he could see that they could become artists and I’m one of the few. I decided to be an artist right there and then. I could not get into a school of arts but decided to go on with the hard way: to paint, have exhibitions and sell my art even without a degree in art.

How do you start a work — do you have any rituals?

I have no rituals when I start my work: As soon as I’ve found inspiration from music, movie or a single pose of yours, I start sketching and planning the artwork.

“Walking on sunshine – Colours of life” by Maren Jeskanen using becca020 as a reference

One of your main interests as an artist is people. What is the importance of figure drawing to you?

I love to paint people for loving to catch the anatomy of the human figure the right way and participating figure drawing lessons such as fast life sketching has helped me to improve my figure study skills while starting to work on a painting. I like to express feelings and atmospheres with the poses that inspire me. Having danced for twenty years myself I also find it inspiring to paint dancers.

What do you think of PoseSpace? Do you have a favorite PoseSpace.com model?

I love PoseSpace and cannot imagine how could I ever go on painting people without the poses of PoseSpace: the high quality and various choices of poses and models make it a perfect tool for us artists painting people. I don’t have a favorite model because the pose itself either inspires me or supports the inspiration I already have from music, movies or dance, but must say that given my liking of strong and emotional poses I do like Irina, Anaiv and Jenni a lot.

“Lift your pretty head, hold it high” by Maren Jeskanen using jenni263 as a reference

You are also a musician. How does music influence your work?

Music is as important to me as making art. I listen to music as much as possible, singing and humming all the time. I’m also performing music in a duo at the moment, playing cover songs both as a cappella versions and accompanied by a ukulele. Quite many of my inspirations for art come from music. The lyrics of a song make me want to express them another way –with my art and I love the way I can find poses for this in PoseSpace.

Do you have a favorite living artist, whether famous or completely unknown?

My artistic idols are two Finish artists that lived in the nineteenth century (Albert Edelfelt and Akseli Gallen-Kallela) but one living artist that I do admire is a sculptor Matti Vesanen, whose work I came across on your artwork pages.

What advice would you give to young artists just starting in their careers or creative practice?

For young or starting artists I want to say that If one has an urge to make art and they are receiving positive feedback from teachers and viewers of their art I strongly encourage them to proceed with their artistic career. I also encourage them—however— to get a degree on something else they love because art will provide a living for only some of us, that’s just how it is. As for me, I’m also teaching children—which I love to bits and would not stop doing even if I had an opportunity to make art full time— so it’s a good thing that one can do many things they love. I, myself, paint in the evenings, weekends and holidays.

Maren Jeskanen:

Lupaus ry

MarenArt

Fine Art America MarenArt

facebook Atelier-MarenArt

Soul Systerit

youtube Soul Systerit

facebook Soul Systerit

Interview by Andrea Miliani

Interview with Neptalí Quezada

“I believe that figurative art tends to communicate more simply the intention of the artist”

*Interview conducted in Spanish, original answers at the bottom*

Artist Neptalí Quezada Alvarado was born in Trujillo, Peru, in 1976. Ever since he was a little boy he was interested in art. After earning his bachelor’s degree to become a Mathematics teacher, he studied Visual Arts at the School of Fine Arts “Macedonio de la Torre” and developed his professional career as an artist. 

Quezada’s beautiful oil paintings combine realism and surrealism —many of them with powerful environmental messages— and have been exhibited across Peru and Ecuador in different shows and galleries. He has earned several awards during the past few years, and in 2019 was interviewed for the Peruvian TV show Detrás del Arte.

Painting by Neptalí Quezada using model Becca as a reference (image shared by artist)

In this Q&A, artist Neptalí Quezada shares with PoseSpace how he started drawing, which artists have influenced his work, details about the process of making his work and more:

Can you tell us about your background and how you got into art?

From my childhood, what I remember the most during my first years of life (when I was two to three years old) is sitting next to my mother listening to the instructions on how to draw a dummy. She would take my hand and, on other occasions, I would do it alone. Later on, my father, every now and then, bought me sketchbooks—those of cardboard and silk sheets— and watercolor pencils. During this stage of my life, I saw my father draw a lot and quite well; he did it as a hobby since he never studied drawing at school, much less professionally, but I wanted to copy what he created. It was in the first five years of my life that I acquired a taste for drawing and painting.

As a teenager, I made copies of some paintings by famous painters such as Rubens and Velásquez with tempera paint on cardboard, that some people—friends or family— liked and later bought them for me.

Then at the end of my university studies as a teacher of mathematics, I applied for the School of Fine Arts “Macedonio de la Torre” in the city of Trujillo (Peru), and I was awarded the gold medal for the best student in 2003, which was a great incentive to continue with my professional artist projects. Since then, I dedicate myself to art professionally.

Which artists have had an influence on your work?

I should mention that, at first, it was Rubens and Velásquez. Then, as a student of Fine Arts: Caravaggio, Ingres, Bouguereau, and Dalí. And, in recent years I have been investigating Claudio Bravo (Chilean painter).

Can you tell us about the process of making your work?

Well, the first thing is to immediately address the idea that comes to mind before I forget. I have had some of those ideas when I go on the bus to work or in my bed right when I start falling asleep and immediately I stand up to sketch it before I forget.

After the sketch, I use Photoshop to have a clearer idea of the images and textures that I want to achieve at the end of the work. It is here that I look for the image closest to the sketch that I made at the beginning. Finally, when I am satisfied with the digital work I do previously, I transfer it to the canvas.

And, well, it probably looks like a ritual, but I’m always accompanied by a New Age musical background or alternative rock to escape from my surroundings.

What do you think of PoseSpace?

It fascinates me and I use it often.

It is a great resource especially for figurative artists, it has a wide range of models and poses that can fit with your compositional idea of the work you want to portray.

My favorite models are Becca and Vaunt.

Painting by Neptalí Quezada using model Vaunt as a reference (image shared by artist)

What is the importance of figurative art for you?

Art is one of the many ways that men and women have to communicate and, from my point of view, I believe that figurative art tends to communicate more simply the intention of the artist. For example, if the artist is empathic with caring for the environment, even if his work is immersed in surrealism, the images that the viewer recognizes will encourage some reflection on ecological awareness.

Now that you have more experience, what advice would you give your younger self?

Difficult to answer, but I think I would advise myself to devote more time, as much leisure time as possible, to find new forms of visual plastic expression.

Neptalí Quezada’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/neptali.quezadaalvarado1

Interview by Andrea Miliani


Spanish version: original answers

El artista Neptalí Quezada Alvarado nació en Trujillo, Perú, en 1976. Desde que era niño se interesó por el arte. Más adelante, después de obtener su licenciatura para convertirse en profesor de Matemáticas, estudió Artes Visuales en la Escuela Superior de Formación Artística “Macedonio de La Torre” y desarrolló su carrera profesional como artista.

Las hermosas pinturas al óleo de Quezada combinan el realismo y surrealismo —muchas de ellas con poderosos mensajes ecológicos— y se han exhibido a lo largo de Perú y Ecuador en diferentes presentaciones y galerías de arte. Este talentoso pintor ha ganado varios premios durante los últimos años y en 2019 fue entrevistado para el programa de televisión peruano “Detrás del Arte”.

Pintura realizada por el artista Neptalí Quezada usando a la modelo Becca como referencia (imagen compartida por el artista)

En esta serie de preguntas y respuestas el artista Neptalí Quezada comparte con PoseSpace cómo comenzó a dibujar, qué artistas han influido en su trabajo, detalles sobre el proceso de creación de arte y más:

¿Cómo se desarrolló su relación con el arte?

De mi infancia lo que me ha quedado de recuerdo de mis primeros años de vida (entre dos a tres años) es estar sentado al lado de mi madre recibiendo las indicaciones de cómo hacer un monigote, cogiendo ella mi mano y en otras ocasiones haciéndolo solo. Más adelante mi padre, de vez en cuando, me compraba los cuadernos de dibujo, aquellos de hoja de cartulina y otra de seda, además de los lápices de colores para acuarela. Es una etapa en donde vi a mi padre dibujar bastante y muy bien, él lo hacía por hobby dado que nunca habría estudiado dibujo en el colegio ni mucho menos profesionalmente y yo quería copiar lo que él hacía.

Entonces fueron los primeros cinco años de mi vida los que marcaron mi gusto por el dibujo y la pintura.

En mi adolescencia hacía copias de algunas pinturas de famosos pintores como Rubens y Velásquez con témpera sobre cartulina que llegaba a gustar a algunas personas, amigos o familiares, que luego me las compraban.

Luego al término de mis estudios universitarios como docente de matemáticas postulé a la Escuela de Formación Artística “Macedonio de la Torre” de la ciudad de Trujillo, siendo premiado con la medalla de oro al mejor alumno en el año 2003, lo cual fue un gran incentivo para seguir con mis proyectos de artista profesional. Desde aquel entonces me dedico al arte profesionalmente.

¿Qué artistas han tenido una influencia en su trabajo o lo han inspirado?

Debo mencionar que en un principio fueron  Rubens y Velásquez. Luego como estudiante de Bellas Artes son Caravaggio, Ingres, Bouguereau y Dalí; y en los últimos años he estado investigando a Claudio Bravo (pintor chileno).   

¿Cómo es su proceso de trabajo? 

Bueno lo primero es plantear inmediatamente alguna idea que se me venga en mente antes de que me olvide, incluso algunas de esas ideas las he tenido cuando voy en el bus a mi trabajo o en mi cama al empezar a caerme el sueño y de inmediato me levanto a plasmarlo como un esbozo para no olvidarme.

Luego del boceto utilizo el photoshop para tener una idea más clara de las imágenes y las texturas que quiero lograr al finalizar la obra. Es aquí donde busco la imagen más cercana al boceto que plasmo al inicio. Finalmente, cuando ya estoy conforme con el trabajo digital que hago previamente, lo traslado al lienzo.

Y, bueno, probablemente parezca un ritual, pero siempre estoy acompañado de un fondo musical New Age o rock alternativo para escapar de mi entorno.

¿Qué piensa de PoseSpace? ¿Tiene modelos favoritos?

Me fascina y suelo utilizarlo a menudo.

Es un gran recurso sobre todo para artistas figurativos, tiene una amplia gama de modelos y poses que puede encajar con tu idea compositiva de la obra que quieres plasmar.

Y sobre las modelos favoritas para mí son  Becca y Vaunt.  

¿Cuál es la importancia del arte figurativo para usted?

El arte es una de las muchas formas que el hombre y la mujer tienen de comunicarse y desde mi punto de vista creo que el arte figurativo tiende a comunicar de una forma más simple la intención del artista, por ejemplo, si el artista es empático con el cuidado del medio ambiente, así su trabajo se encuentre inmerso en un surrealismo, las imágenes que el espectador reconoce motivarán en él alguna reflexión sobre conciencia ecológica.

Ahora que tiene más experiencia, ¿qué consejo se daría a usted mismo cuando estaba empezando a interesarse por el dibujo y la pintura?

Difícil de responder, pero creo que me aconsejaría a dedicarme más tiempo, todo el tiempo posible de ocio para poder encontrar nuevas formas de expresión plástica visual.

Neptalí Quezada / Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/neptali.quezadaalvarado1

Entrevista: Andrea Miliani

Interview with Dana Lombardo

“The poses give inspiration and references to give form and substance to my ideas”

Artist Dana Lombardo was born and raised in Oklahoma, in the United States. Ever since she was a shy little girl, she draws and uses art to communicate and express her ideas with others. Painting people later became a professional career and, currently, she also enjoys working on commissioned portraits.

Lombardo uses oil paint, pastels, charcoal and ink. Inspired by artists like John Singer Sargent, Rembrandt, Degas, Dali, and Escher; this self-taught artist learned to create her own style and has earned several awards including 1st Place Still Life and Best in Show at the OAG Small Works Show in 2013, Emerging Artist Winner at the Artmuse Online Contest and the Best Figurative Award at the West National Juried Show. This year, her painting “The Rush Gather” will be part of the Women Artists of the West’s 50th Anniversary juried exhibition.

“Let’s dance” by Dana Lombardo, inspired by anaiv010  (image shared by artist)

In this Q&A, artist Dana Lombardo shares with PoseSpace how she started drawing, what has been her greatest artistic success and gives valuable advice regarding commissioned portraits:

You started drawing when you were a child to connect to other people. When did you first know you wanted to become an artist? 

I have enjoyed drawing for as long as I can remember.  I know that I wanted to be an artist in high school but college and pursuit of what my family thought was a real career sidelined that for a bit. In my late 20s I started drawing again.

You have earned several awards. What’s been your greatest artistic success? 

I think my greatest success so far was when I won a Best Figurative award at a national show.  At a time when I felt discouraged, it gave me the confidence I needed to believe in myself and to keep painting.

Painting by Dana Lombardo inspired by PoseSpace model (image shared by artist)

How has your style changed over the years?

I don’t know that my style has changed so much as that I have continued to learn and incorporate that into my work. 

What do you think of PoseSpace? Do you have a favorite PoseSpace.com model? 

I am a fan of PoseSpace.

I don’t have a great camera or access to a lot of models. The poses give inspiration and references to give form and substance to my ideas.  I have used several models including Becca, Ana and Ayame.

“Phoenix Rising” by Dana Lombardo, inspired by model Becca (image shared by artist)

You make commissioned portraits, what advice would you give young artists interested in accepting commissions?

Portrait commissions are fun and challenging!  It is important to practice a lot and work from life as much as possible. When it comes to commissions, I would tell anyone staring out to ask lots of questions, be open to suggestions and never take criticism too personally. Take it for what it is and use it to make a better portrait.

Artist Dana lombardo’s website: https://danalombardo.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/danalombardofineart/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/danalombardofineart

Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCG9hziDDvv9YwJ-TplWAQPA

Interview by Andrea Miliani

Interview with David Marteney

“My hope is that my work evokes some kind of conversation about mental health”

David Marteney is an American artist located in Columbus, Ohio. He has a strong passion for the human figure and currently his favorite mediums are charcoal and black pastels. Marteney speaks openly about depression and his art has been strongly influenced by personal experiences related to this condition. His series “Lost to shadow” show different characters struggling with dark emotions, the viewers can see the tragic beauty in each piece. 

“Self sacrifice” by David Marteney (image shared by artist)

Even though David’s artistic career has had its ups and downs, he has managed to learn and improve his work by studying through different online platforms. A few days ago, David received two grants from the Greater Columbus Arts Council and his work and talent have been recognized in the community. 

In this Q&A, artist David Marteney shares with PoseSpace how his depression had and impact on his work, what are his rituals, who is his favorite living artist and how he has used online platforms to improve his art:

Can you tell us about your background and how you got into art?

I got into art from a pretty young age, but my struggle with depression never let me get too far with it. I tended to have a pattern of trying to make art, struggling, my depression flaring up, and then just giving up. A lot of people think that art can be a panacea for people with mental illness, but it has never really worked like that for me. It could distract me at times, but, in truth, it tended to make me feel worse more often than anything else. I really wasn’t able to focus and improve until I got into therapy and proper medication. The result of this waffling in life was me not entering into a formal art education. At this point, I do a bunch of online classes—the two major sources being proko.com and nma.art. But I’ve also learned a lot from various Youtube creators as well. 

How do you start a work —do you have any rituals?

I tend to start by turning on some kind of music that falls into the background, lots of vaporwave or synth music. Then I go through a process I call “Getting the ugly out.” This could be a few quick sketches of my intentions, or just some warmup gesture work. Sometimes this process lasts minutes or could be my whole session. I’ve had to learn to go with the flow on this. If my idea doesn’t have a solid enough foundation to push me through, it usually means I need to think about it more or do more concepting. I’ve had to learn to have more patience with myself and embrace any failures that come out of this process. I keep telling myself that a success teaches me one thing, but a failure teaches me many. If I make it through this process, I often find myself in an almost meditative state where the rest of the world falls away.

You are active on social media. How have these platforms influenced your work?

Social media is a bit of a sore spot for me. However, I understand its importance, especially if I want to transition to a full-time artist. I really only use it for my art. I don’t spend any time on it for personal use. To be honest, my wife is my teacher for that side of things. I often have to ask her some really silly questions about how stuff works, or why doing specific things on a service makes an impact. When it comes to Facebook, I find myself completely lost. That’s a structure far too byzantine for me to wrap my head around. 

As far as how it has influenced my work, I try to not let it. I know that I should be posting more often, but I feel like rushing through things to do that would be detrimental to my work.

Portrait by David Marteney inspired by Cath (image shared by artist)

What do you think of PoseSpace? Do you have a favorite PoseSpace.com model? 

I love PoseSpace! It’s been really useful for my work. It’s really great to have this huge resource of body types and poses to work from. A lot of the photos have a strong use of chiaroscuro that is super useful for the type of visual arts that I like to make and has been a great education on lighting for when I work with models locally. 

Picking a favorite model is tough. For a masculine body type, I would have to go with BenP, as his musculature is well defined without being overly bulky. Whenever I work from one of his references, it always feels like his muscles flow gracefully with the gesture of the pose, rather than breaking it. For a feminine body type, Thea manages to make any pose look graceful with a water-like flow of anatomical structures. I always find myself inspired when seeing one of her poses. 

But there are so many models! I doubt I’ve seen all of them.

Do you have a favorite living artist, whether famous or completely unknown?

One of my favorite living artists is Steve Houston. His work has so much friction and energy. I get lost in his pieces all the time. They have mesmerizing quality to them. He is also a fantastic teacher. I’ve learned so much from his classes at New Masters Academy.

What life experiences have influenced your work?

A lot of my work deals directly with depression. After my suicide attempt in 2017, and getting proper mental health care, I decided that I wanted to create a body of work around mental health. After my attempt, I was willingly placed in a mental health facility. My conversations with the other people in there were incredibly helpful. Being open and honest about this aspect of ourselves, that we are often told to hide, was liberating. It really took some of the teeth away from the monster. I want to help other people do the same. My hope is that my work evokes some kind of conversation about mental health.

“A Hollow Feeling” by David Marteney

Do you have any shows or activities on the horizon that you’d like to tell our readers about?

I do have a show coming up this year, but all of the details haven’t been hammered out yet, and I was asked to keep it private until that is all done. Other than that, I’ve started work on my next series Where Life Once Was where I am mixing the anatomy of abandoned buildings with the human figure. I’m excited to see where it goes and the immense challenge it’s presenting me.  

David Marteney’s website: davidmarteney.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/davidmarteneyart

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/david_marteney_art/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/David_Marteney

Interview by Andrea Miliani

5 Valuable Lessons From Figurative Artists

by Andrea Miliani

It’s been a year since PoseSpace’s blog was created. We have interviewed artists from all over the world and here are some of their most valuable lessons and thoughts.

I am not an art expert and I’ve never been good at painting or drawing. And I don’t intend to be an artist or an art critic any time soon. As I’ve read about, listened to, and interviewed artists as a social media manager and content creator for www.posespace.com, I’ve learned a lot over the last three years and, more importantly, it’s been a tremendously inspiring and educative experience.

When I started working for PoseSpace I discovered a whole new world. I never thought that nude photography and art models could be such a powerful resource for figurative artists. I learned that live drawing sessions with real art models are the most precious experiences for artists, but that not just anyone has access to live models. It’s expensive and limited.

Douglas Johnson, PoseSpace’s owner, has offered artists from all over the world the possibility to have an art model right in front of them—through books or on their computer screens—in their homes or studios. After I saw the fantastic artwork that talented artists could create based on these references, I became curious and proposed that we create a blog and send a questionnaire to artists that were users of the site. 

The result was very satisfying: we got amazing and inspiring stories. It’s been a year since Posespace’s blog started and we’ve interviewed over 25 artists and counting. Here I share 5 of the most valuable lessons that some of these figurative artists shared with us:

1) Never give up on your art 

One of the frequent responses I kept receiving from different artists had to do with what figurative artists regretted the most. I did not ask this question directly, but many expressed that they wished they had started their artistic career earlier, or that they hadn’t been discouraged by other people’s opinions.

When I asked Sladjana Buhovac—a figurative sculptor from Sarajevo based in Canada—what advice she had for young artists who had an interest in sculpting, this was her response:

“My advice is to never give up on your art. Don’t listen to others, follow what inspires you the most. When I studied fine arts in the late nineties, figurative sculpture seemed like a dying field. Everyone, including my classmates, were pursuing installations and abstract work and I felt totally lostI got a gift that nobody was interested in.  So it seemed at the time. I should have followed my heart long ago, but it’s never too late to start again.” 

Sculpture by Sladjana Buhovac

A few artists, like Les Satinover—an American figurative artist who focuses primarily on the male figure—have seen the benefits of having an alternate career that provides a solid economic backing:

“I retired from a 36year career in corporate retail design and went into my full time studio practice in 2012. I work entirely in service of my own vision without the financial requirement to make sales. Validation is an extra. What comes after, that is fate.”

Painting by Les Satinover

2) Work hard

Brian Smith, an award-winning graphic designer and art professor from Canada, has been teaching art students for over 20 years now. He has earned several awards for his paintings and his most valuable advice for anyone interested in creating art is to be persistent and work hard:

“I tell my students all the time to ‘Show up for work!’ The great thing about being an artist is that, if you want to be a better artist, you simply do more art. So, show up for work as often as you can—even if you are not working on “the big project”— just show up and work/play at your art.”

Michaela reclining” painting by Brian Smith based on model Michaela

3) Keep Learning

Talent can be expressed in so many ways and some artists seem to master several mediums and forms of expression. Italian artist Tiziano Gilardoni is one of those multi-talented geniuses: he can draw, paint, sculpt and take fascinating photography. His secret? He is constantly learning and finding new challenges:

“I’m convinced that art is a continuous flow: after a while of dealing with the same subject or the same technique I feel that I’m becoming self-referential, therefore I try to focus on a different topic, to experience something new or I even jump from sculpting into photography or drawing. And each project has its proper language that best fits it: one shall be expressed by drawing, another could only be represented by a statue, and a third can only be a black and white photo. In the end, I started developing some skills to find my way, now I try to learn new skills that could fit the ideas I have in mind.”

“The Mermaid”, sculpture by Tiziano Gilardoni 

We also asked Roy Stanton, an artist and actor based in Florida, to tell us one thing he thought he knew, that he later turned out to be wrong about. This was his response:

“I think that would have to be the notion that there was an endpoint in growing as an artist; that the education would, at some point, be over. Completely wrong. To be honest, I find that each image, at its beginning, holds the same excitement as the first, and the same challenges. Will it work? Can I accomplish what I want? Granted, I have the benefit of experience to bolster me up when those concerns pay me a visit, but I have to say that getting that little bit of uncertainty definitely keeps boredom from setting in. Give me a new problem to wrestle with, a new challenge to solve, and I’m a very happy artist.”

“Bride” drawing by Roy Stanton

4) Don’t underestimate your life experience

Human experiences are at the root of figure drawing and figurative art. Meaningful artwork can tell real and personal stories that the audience can find beautiful, touching and close. Australian artist Dagmar Cyrulla shares such intimate moments in her artwork.

“I enjoy making work that captures some of the things I have seen, reflected upon and learnt from. I love it when the viewer brings their stories to my paintings and loses themselves and maybe has an epiphany of their own”

she told PoseSpace a few weeks ago. And you can truly empathize with this internationally recognized artist’s work.

“The Couple” by Dagmar Cyrulla, oil on linen 500 x 700mm (image shared by artist)

Sharing personal feelings and emotions is also Gwen Roberts’ strategy, but she prefers not to be too explicit. This British artist uses her pencils and the Photorealism technique to communicate, but remains cryptic to keep her audience entertained and get them curious:

“A bit like a writer writes about what he or she knows, I draw on what is familiar to me or interpret emotions I have felt from past experiences. However, I consider it is important to have some mystery and ambiguity in the work so that the viewer has something to ponder over or put their own viewpoint to. Therefore, if I were to reveal the experiences that have inspired the work it would leave nothing for the viewer. I much prefer to keep them private, as some are very sensitive and personal.”

“Twenty Four Seven” by Gwen Roberts using Oliviap046 as a reference

5) Use social media for inspiration not just for comparison

Modern artists also have to deal with daily lifestyle disruptors: social media networks. And just like any other tool, these platforms could inspire and help us, or frustrate and dissuade us. 

I’ve been impressed by how fast artists on social media can use the content we share to create almost instant pieces of artwork. We constantly see this on Instagram or Twitter: we publish a pose and a few hours later someone will send us a drawing or small painting of the reference we published earlier—and it’s so exciting! This is a great example of how social media can be beneficial and get someone motivated to create. 

American scientist and artist Davey Edwards is one of these social media enthusiasts: “I use other’s artwork on Instagram to inspire me. There are a lot of great artists around the world!” And Liz Gridley, a growing professional Australian artist agrees: “The problem with smartphones and instagram is I find new amazing artists to watch everyday!” However, Gridley also recognized that she has suffered the consequences of having access to so many talented artists’ work and lives: 

“I think one of the hardest lessons is how to deal with comparison against other artists. With Instagram and online communities it’s all too easy to feel overwhelmed by seeing artists accomplish what you’re working for (a technique, an award, getting an opportunity) it’s part of being human, but you can’t let it stop you! So many people tell you ‘everything’s been done’ and ‘nothing is original’ –the hardest part is not believing that. Trusting that even if 20 artists all do the same thing, there’s no loss in making art, all 20 would still be unique to each artist. In short: no matter what, just keep making!”

Photograph of her painting “Withheld” exhibited at “Empathy, My Witness” (shared by artist) /Model: Chelle

Photograph of her painting “Withheld” exhibited at “Empathy, My Witness” (shared by artist) /Model: Chelle

Takeaways

Seeing talented and professional figurative artists struggle with common everyday battles, like Instagram’s unhealthy competition or negative opinions about our personal lives, has helped me feel more connected to each one and admire them even more. These artists have also taken advantage of the tools and services openly available online to build and create wonderful new works of art.

I believe that these lessons apply to any career, dream or profession, and not just figurative art. Perhaps understanding the meaning from reading the messages these talented artists have honestly shared with us, will be exactly the right boost someone needed today.

To learn more about these artists or to find more specific recommendations—regarding plein air drawing, sculpting, modeling for artists or even airbrush painting—visit our blog: https://figuredrawing.us.