Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Stewart Anstead Art: Excerpt from the interview with the Park Record newspaper

The following is an excerpt of a news interview with me last year by the folks at The Park Record:

Q. Everyone has a reason for doing what they do. Why do you create art?
A. I feel compelled to do it. That's kind of cliche, I know. I wish I had a better reason than that, but it's the same thing, like, why do people climb mountains? You know? Why do some people become accountants or
"Old Farm House" by Richard Schmid
own restaurants or invent things? I get a kick out of it. It's in my blood.

Q. Are you just a painter of landscapes? Trees?
A. No. Although it is a favorite theme, of course. You see a lot of them on my site, and it is a common theme, of course.
Q. So, what other things do you paint?
A. I love painting many themes … many subjects, and it covers a lot of stuff that grabs me. I've painted portraits, marketplace scenes, animals, motorcycles, sports scenes, theaters … I love painting the people and things that intrigue me. Oh! And I love doing abstract work, too. You hear about artists who sit there facing a blank canvas wondering what to paint … I don't have that problem! I won't ever have that problem!

Q. Artists build up a body of work over time and they develop what is called "a voice" in their art. How would you describe your voice?
A. I like that question because it makes you think about what you do with your work and if you're working to improve over time. I can't describe my work very well. Can you? When you look at the work of the great artists of history, you see their body of work as building a consistent look. You can see that you can often identify the artist just by the look. It's Degas; it's Surat, it's Monet … on and on. Have you seen the impressionistic work of Van Gogh? It's wonderful! He did the training on work of the time … work representing the movement of the times. And then, he broke from it and created his unique view of the world and established himself over time for his style. It was different than the impressionists. It was different from the realists. That's what made him an art master. He was unique. A fresh voice. I am not going to be arrogant enough to compare myself to the masters, but I can say that there is a certain similarity in my work over time. I hope that my work is getting better all the time. I would like to think that my best work is the work that's on my easel right now … (and the next, and the next.)

Q. Are you painting something and then looking for buyers? or are you painting things on commission?
A. The simple answer is "Yes"! I paint commission pieces because clients sometimes know what they are after and they want my take on it, like any artists that paints a commission piece. You have a good idea of outcomes so they have confidence in engaging the artist to do it. I also paint pieces because I love them and want to challenge myself. Some of them are pieces I might choose to keep, but I like painting for a living so I sell them, too.
Q. So, you want to keep work that you do? Do you find it hard to part from your work? Don't you see them as your creations and hate to part with them?
A. I don't have a problem selling them. I never have had a hard time doing that.
Q. Aren't they like your babies? After all, you made them from nothing, and now there's something!
A. I enjoy revisiting looking at the pictures that I've taken to catalog them to critique them with new eyes. And I'm the harshest critic of all my work. Lately, I've been less inclined to try and track previous work down and make alterations as I have had impulse to do in times past. Maybe that means I am maturing a little bit.

Q. Tell us about the artists that you like. Who do you admire most?
A. Oh, I like so many. I have written from time to time about those who I love. I really like the work of Richard Schmid—a great contemporary master out of Chicago. His work is so painterly and yet realistic at the same time. Truly stunning work. I love the work of John Singer Sargent, Monet is another, and I can't get enough of the painterly work of Minerva Teichert. There are amazing artisans out of various Asian schools who I greatly enjoy. And, how can you not like the work of Norman Rockwell? I also enjoy the work of other contemporary artists who handle things in a new way … my friend, Bill Carman, is one. He's an excellent fantasy artist with whom I used to go fishing. Very interesting voice. I love the work of Eyvind Earle who was the art director of Disney years ago. It's his work that you see in the movie Sleeping Beauty, but his work is so much more. Gosh, there are many more who were influential on me.

Archive of the printed article:

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