Interview with Susie Wilson

Whatever the subject matter or medium, however much time I have allotted to the piece, however big or small it is intended to be, the gesture is vital

Susie Wilson was born in North Walsham, a beautiful countryside village near Cambridge. Ever since she can remember, she has always felt a strong connection to art. Susie studied printmaking, typography, and illustration. This talented artist also founded her own successful Graphic Design business, Pommegraphis, and moved to the US in 1991. 

Nowadays, Susie works in her studio in Santa Cruz, California. Susie’s favorite mediums are graphite, chalk pastel, charcoal, Conté, and oil, and her beautiful paintings can be found in private collections around the world. She paints and teaches traditional figure drawing with joy and passion: “The human form is endlessly fascinating and being aware of its energy and fluidity is the ultimate teacher of really seeing!”

In this Q&A, artist Susie Wilson shares with PoseSpace details about her aspirations as an artist, what life experiences influenced her work, and the importance of gesture drawing to her:

What are your goals or aspirations as an artist?

When putting into words what motivates and inspires me as an artist, the first thought is that part of me ‘belongs’ to my art. It is difficult to describe, but there seems to exist a core self that is fed and feeds me through drawing and immersing; it is a very humbling feeling to be part of an energy and source far greater than myself. To study the figure intensely and connect with its energy, to follow the lines and pathways, to explore connections throughout the form and around its edges, is blissful and emotional! Translating all these discoveries of a living, breathing, moving, fleeting moment, and to capture them honestly onto a flat canvas or piece of paper and be able to retain some of it’s essence feels like a responsibility and a privilege every time I do it, and the enthusiasm is never diminished.. This is perhaps the aspiration. My goal as an artist is more than this as it becomes important now to share everything this journey has taught me. To this end, I have spent quite considerable time teaching figure drawing in a very traditional style which emphasizes technique, anatomy and form.

How has your style changed over the years?

Much of my original ’style’ has stayed the same, just become much improved I hope! It is my ability to see and interpret that have changed really. Also I am braver and prepared to fail more easily than when I was younger. As my attachment to outcome has diminished, the end result is open and not contrived.

What is the importance of gesture drawing for you?

I was glad to see this question included! Gesture drawing is essential to me!! Whatever the subject matter or medium, however much time I have allotted to the piece, however big or small it is intended to be, the gesture is vital. As a teacher, I begin every class with a minimum of half an hour of gesture practice and even for a long study the first twenty minutes is dedicated to the gestural overview of the entire work. Working quickly and seeing everything at once forces us to let go of any detailed or analytical frame of mind; we simply do not have time for erasing and second guessing and a looseness prevails and an opening of our eyes! It is energizing and liberating!!

What life experiences have influenced your work?

I guess in a way all life experience becomes a part of the evolution of our art. I personally have moved many times, lived in several countries and met people from all walks of life. As a result I have been exposed to a great deal of art and many artists work and ideas. Perhaps the most influential aspect has been the fact that I worked as a graphic illustrator and some of the story-board and comic book artists I was lucky enough to meet most definitely broadened my understanding of color and anatomy. These years are when I truly discovered the importance of gesture.

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

I was introduced to PoseSpace several years ago by one of my students who fell in love with figure drawing and couldn’t get enough of the practice from our live models. I was skeptical at first but once I checked it out for myself found that the 360 degree views of each pose provided a very satisfactory substitute which I went on to use regularly and still am using today. Favorite models would be Shandra and JenB, but there are others I have loved drawing for certain individual characteristics, like Stephanie who is a great portrait model. 

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

There are far too many amazing artists to really have any be a favorite, but Andrew Wyeth and Alma Tadema are two of my most revered past artists and Nick Alm’s modern day watercolors literally take my breath away.

What is the most valuable lesson or advice you always give to your figure drawing students?

To enjoy the process more than the end result and not be too judgmental along the way. Also I emphasize that natural ability needs a LOT of practice to manifest and the journey is going to take a lifetime… so relax, enjoy and keep lots of notebooks handy!

Susie Wilson’s website: http://susiewilson.net/

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

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

Interview with Tracie MacVean

“The ominous glow of the mountains burning really stuck with me, I felt I could only paint it out to cope with it”

Tracie MacVean is a talented artist based in Wodonga, Australia. Her beautiful paintings combine her two great passions in life: art and the environment. Through her work, MacVean wants to raise awareness that the natural world is threatened, and encourage people to take better responsibility for our planet.

In Tracie’s paintings, you will always find nature and natural elements, and the human form frequently depicted as a substitute where we would usually see native animals. Her powerful work has been recognized and she has earned several awards such as the “Emerging Artist Award” from the Chiltern Art Show, and the “People’s Choice” for the “Encompass” exhibition at Gigs Art Gallery.

Survivors Guilt 30cm x 40cm Oil on canvas, by Tracie MacVean

In this Q&A, artist Tracie MacVean shares with PoseSpace details about her paintings of the bushfires in Australia, the process of making her work and how social media helped her gain commissions and sell artwork:

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

When I was a young teenager and my older sisters were creating beautiful art pieces but not pursuing it as a career. I knew if they wouldn’t, I would.

“Roo in the Burbs” 40cm x 30cm Oil on canvas, by Tracie MacVean

You are very active on social media: Instagram, Facebook, Youtube. How have these platforms influenced your work?

I wouldn’t say social media has influenced my work heavily but it has helped me with gaining commissions and selling artwork. I am a little bit disappointed with the reach my YouTube channel has received considering the amount of effort I put into it. I believe I was a little late for the Instagram band-wagon but Facebook is the one that has been the most beneficial in getting my work out there.

You’ve been making beautiful and moving paintings of koalas and other animals in bushfires in Australia. Can you tell us more about this project or collection?

At the end of last year I was very close to one of the bushfires. The ominous glow of the mountains burning really stuck with me, I felt I could only paint it out to cope with it. I was already halfway through a body of work when the bushfires came through but it fits in well with my concepts which addresses environmental issues including climate change.

“Echidna”, 30cm x 40cm, oil on canvas, by Tracie MacVean

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

I hadn’t heard of Posespace until quite recently actually. I’ve bought quite a few of the books and prefer them over the digital format. Now as my work is getting more detailed, I want to find more views of particular poses I want to capture – so doing a quick google search came up with Posespace. My favorite model at the moment is Mandy, but there are many others in the reference books I use and not sure of their names.

“The Watcher”, 30cm x 40cm oil on canvas by Tracie MacVean

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

My process has changed a lot and it really depends on what medium I’m using. At the moment I’m using oils and over time I’ve learnt what works best to create the painting I have in mind. The process has become quite structured – I usually start with an idea pf what I want to capture and then I search for references. Over the years I’ve made contact with some talented photographers who I may collaborate with or I search in books (eg Art Models by PoseSpace) if my idea involves the human form or, if I can, I try to take my own photos for reference. All of my paintings use at least 3 different subjects/reference images because I want as much of it to be my own idea. I then sketch the subjects (which are usually figures, trees, native animals or scenery for the background) onto a prepared canvas and I start blocking in whole areas with basic colours. I always have at least 4 paintings on the go at the same time so I’m never bored with any particular piece while allowing each layer to dry. It’s hard for me to say precisely how long each painting takes to complete but 4 paintings could take up to 6 months depending on the size.

“Survivors Guilt 2”, 30cm x 40cm Oil on canvas, by Tracie MacVean

How has your style changed over the years?

I think every artist goes through the most amount of change when they are just starting. I made a very big change about a year and a half ago and decided to focus on my attention in a very specific direction to create more conceptual, quality works. Really developing my painting techniques to a more ‘refined’ quality.

“Where Will Be The Bilby”, 30cm x 25cm Oil on canvas, Tracie MacVean

Tracie MacVean’s website: https://traciemacvean.com.au/

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

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/traciemacveanartwork/?hl=en

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCX_KYWj1VGNy-TrZmAVnknA

Interview by Andrea Miliani

Interview with Cheryl Handy

I want to spend more time honing my anatomy skills and understanding the structure and movement of the human form”

American painter Cheryl Handy identifies herself as an artist since she was 12 years old. She has always enjoyed writing and drawing, but when she started her professional career she had to choose a different path to support her family and spent a few years in the military, in school, changing jobs, and raising her family. However, she has never stopped painting and now she can finally paint full-time. 

Cheryl has participated in several exhibitions across the United States —such as the Pennsylvania Arts Experience Gallery, the Limner Gallery, and the MarketView Arts Gallery— and was named “Director’s Choice” to represent the state of Maryland at the Tevis Community Gallery in 2003. 

Vinnie’s cousin Vance – a nod to Van Gogh, 16”x20” acrylic on canvas

In this Q&A, artist Cheryl Handy shares with PoseSpace what are her aspirations as an artist, what life experiences influenced her paintings, about the process of making her work and more:

In your artist’s statement, you mention that you still have a lot to learn. What are your goals or aspirations as an artist?

Because I love creating portraits and figurative work, I want to spend more time honing my anatomy skills and understanding the structure and movement of the human form. Right now I still need a visual reference to create my ideas but hopefully, and no offense, I won’t always need PoseSpace or the like. I am practicing pulling images from my head and rendering them at will. When I can think of a pose and execute it without a reference then I’ll know I’ve arrived.

Last Dance – oil on canvas. Model: Anaiv

What life experiences have influenced your work?

I react to my environment. I enjoy painting family members, landscapes, abstracts and experimenting with different media. My social distancing/quarantine time this year has been spent creating a new series honoring the old masters, replicating some famous paintings – with a twist. I finished 6 of 10 paintings in the planned series before I took on a couple of commissioned portraits, and then recent events became the focus of my last 3 paintings and my current work in progress.

You recently shared an artwork inspired by one of our models, “Lady Justice Weeps”, can you tell us more about this painting and the process of making it?

This painting came to me as a result of viewing all of the tragic actions upending our country these past few weeks. I thought about how Justice is supposed to be blind and all people treated the same under the law and what a complete farce that is. Forced to acknowledge the disparities in the legal system because video evidence is now more widely available, Justice weeps because she inherently knows just how broken is the system. The scales are so unbalanced and broken we can barely hold on.

I had previously taken advantage of ZaZa’s free pose offered by PoseSpace and knew immediately that she would make a great model for my painting. Initially I thought the title to be “The Rape of Lady Justice” as she holds the draped cloth tight to her chest but as the painting developed I later decided to show her weeping as she tries (and fails) to hold the scales balanced.

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

Me! No, seriously, there are sooo many great artists that I admire. Famous: Kehinde Wiley has an exceptional style with intricate patterns, intense colors, and attention to detail that I can’t even wrap my head around. I love his work.

But my all-time favorite living artist is Marcus Suggs, aka Moe Da Truf. He has vision and skill beyond measure. If you think it, he can create it – 2D, 3D, tattoo, doesn’t matter. The man is a beast!

How has your style changed over the years?

Early on my figurative works were all faceless. I wanted the viewer to see themselves in the paintings instead of whoever else’s face I might paint. I tried to make all expression shown in the gesture rather than the face. Now I am more enamored with actual expressions to tell the story.

Thea II – 16”x20” acrylic on canvas. Model: Thea

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

I used to stop people on the street and hand them a business card and ask them to model for me. I didn’t get many takers (they probably thought I was crazy), and then I found PoseSpace. Thea was a favorite for a while. Currently I’m a fan of ZaZa’s but I actually have several models in my arsenal, some I haven’t gotten to paint yet. Edison was the model for my last painting, “S.O.S.”

S.O.S. Systemic Oppression in our Society (Save Our Souls) by Cheryl Handy – 16”x20” acrylic and oil on canvas. Model: Edison

What’s been your greatest artistic success?

I think my greatest success is yet to come, however, one of many proud moments is being named the “Director’s Choice” – the sole artist chosen to represent an entire county in the state of Maryland to show my work at an inaugural exhibition event in a neighboring county.

Oh yeah, and finishing a full month of Inktober a couple years back. 😊

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

Sometimes, well rarely, I start with a sketch, most times I just start painting.

Whenever I am working on a paid commission I have a little prayer I like to say: “Father God I pray that you steady my hand and sharpen my eye that I may create artwork worthy of the skill with which you have blessed me.”

When I am creating off the cuff, I simply let my emotions take over and that dictates what materials I may use, what media I choose, how it evolves. I may start with an idea but ultimately I let the painting tell me what to do.

Even though you identified yourself as an artist since you were 12 years old, throughout your life you were in the military, working in different jobs, raising a family. What advice would you give young girls who feel passionate about art?

I would tell any young person who is passionate about anything to just stick with it. Make a way to carve out some time to do what you love. There will be naysayers and non-believers but keep at it. Also, and I know it’s hard but, do not compare yourself to others. Observe, study, try different techniques until you find THE ONE that suits you best, but your only competitor is yourself. Try each day to do a little better than you did the day before – compare last week’s you to this week’s you, last year to this year and so on. You will definitely see the difference as time goes on.

Woman in Red Turban – a self portrait nod to Van Eyck, 20”x20” oil on canvas

Cheryl Handy’s website: www.handyconcepts.com

AP store (art prints/products): www.handyconceptsAP.com

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

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

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiG38dXKyhDzXHabBbGO5Sw?view_as=subscriber

Interview by Andrea Miliani

Interview with Leslie A. Brown

“The figure will always be relevant and loaded with meaning in art”

Leslie A. Brown is a talented American artist based in California. When she was a young girl, her grandfather used to take her to art galleries, and later, after working in a very different industry, she decided to study art at the age of 23. Brown got her Bachelor of Fine Arts at the  Carnegie Mellon University and her Master of Arts at the University of New Mexico.

“Aphrodite” by Leslie A. Brown (image shared by artist)

After finishing her studies, Leslie continued her artistic career and earned several awards and recognitions. She also participated in several shows and exhibitions and her artworks can be found in museums and corporate and private collections. She currently works as Art Professor and Gallery Director at Riverside City College. 

In this Q&A, artist Leslie A. Brown shares with PoseSpace how she got interested art, why she paints her dreams, how she views the current state of figurative art, a valuable life lesson and more:

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

I was very much encouraged by my Grandfather to pursue art. We frequently visited museums and art fairs on the east coast in my childhood. When I reached my early 20’s I was working in a glass factory, and as most things in my life I had to do what I didn’t want to do to figure out what I wanted to do. I applied to Carnegie Mellon University at 23 and later received my master’s degree from the University of New Mexico. That is where my discipline and practice began.

Soul survivor” by Leslie A. Brown (image shared by artist)

Which artist has influenced you the most and why? 

I cannot really say a particular artist influenced me, but I do love the Italian painters of the Renaissance, Caravaggio especially. In my teens I was very inspired by the Pop movement. I followed Warhol, Larry Rivers, Rauschenberg and Thiebaud. My biggest influence however was a wonderful man and Professor from Carnegie Mellon, Herbert Olds. He is the finest draftsman I have never know and the kindest most generous soul. He allowed me to believe I had ability and could become prolific as an artist.

Where do you get your imagery from?

This is a question I am often asked. I do not go into a piece preplanned. I may collect some images or photos, but I never have a narrative or a finished piece or message in mind. That seems confining. I like the painting to tell me where it belongs and what it needs.  Imagery comes from dreams, people I meet, models, or a specific recollection in time that was life changing. When I awaken from a dream and I can not decipher any meaning I say: “I guess I am supposed to paint that.” Painting can be like meditation or prayer for me. I am a firm believer in the Jungian philosophy of the Collective Unconscious. I often think I am merely a vehicle that has the purpose of expressing consciousness far beyond my ego or opinions. 

The Shaman and The Trickster” by Leslie A. Brown (image shared by artist)

How do you view the state of figurative art in current art culture?

The figure will always be relevant and loaded with meaning in art. Attached meaning is inescapable since we are human and obsessed with our own image, perhaps more now than ever. I have taught figurative classes for over 20 years and I know students still have an enormous passion for study of the figure. Because of the vast significance that can be attached to the figure I think selling figurative art is more of a challenge, unless you are creating very sentimental, “pretty girl” imagery. It is rare that the figure will match the sofa without attached meaning.

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

I think PoseSpace is a great tool and I, along with my students, are supporters and have used it frequently, especially since our current situation really does not allow gathering for live model sessions. I use posespace rather than other model sites because the photography and lighting is excellent. I usually paint women, so I primarily use those images from PoseSpace. I also generally have a pose in mind and as I browse the website I look for similar poses that will fit into my composition. 

Just don’t” by Leslie A. Brown inspired by posespace model. Mixed media, acrylic, spray paint on canvas 36 x 42 (image shared by artist)

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

Since I have entered my cronedom, I hope I am beginning to find my wisdom. In my youth, in the “Peace and Love Generation”, I believed my opinions and activism could change the world. I now know that change only comes from within and an enlightened consciousness, and that changing yourself is the only means to change the world. So, unless you are being paid to give your opinions, no one cares or wants to hear them, nor will they be swayed from their own. 

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Hence the state of the present!

“An eye for an eye” by Leslie A. Brown

Interview by Andrea Miliani

Leslie A. Brown’s website:  www.leslieabrown.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/labart123/

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

PoseSpace’s page:  https://www.posespace.com/artists/?ai=551

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