When did you first become interested in art?
I have been interested in art since I was a little girl sketching horses mostly. Eventually, my mother signed me up to take charcoal classes with a lady but that was the only time I studied art. My interest arose from the love of detail and contrasts in nature.
What style of art do you use most?
Mostly, I paint in expressionistic style. Sometimes, I will mix it up with some abstract in the backgrounds just for fun and, at times, will paint strictly traditional, especially when painting animal portraits.
Has your style changed from when you first began as an artist?
When I first started painting, I painted with acrylics and taught myself to paint wall murals for friends. I painted nature scenes and Disney characters for children but I didn’t just paint them individually, I wanted to always achieve a story and evoke an emotion.
What medium do you use?
I paint in watercolors…..they are my passion.
What made you choose that medium?
As I said, I began in acrylics and found them too easy. I wanted to challenge myself with the hardest paint I could think of because of the blending and transparency. However, my challenge became to use watercolors almost like acrylics in that I want to get every bit of color and contrast that’s humanly achievable with this medium.
Do your ideas come from life or imagination?
My ideas always come from imagination. They may begin with a photograph or something I’ve seen but my motto has always been “paint more than you see” so I mull over for days exactly how I want the painting to look, the textures I want, the colors I need to achieve the feel and emotions for which I strive. I’ve been known to wake up in the middle of the night, after days of thinking about this and suddenly know what I am going to do. At this point, I jump out of bed and start it so I won’t forget exactly and I mean exactly what my vision is.
How do you choose your images and colours?
I start with a basic idea of my palette and the vision I wish to accomplish. Normally, I want to pair some great bold either in dark or extremely intense colors and then I want to highlight that with something completely different so many times I decide according to which I paint first, the subject or the background. From there, my decisions are made.
Do you work in a studio?
I have a studio in one of the guest rooms of my house in Florida but in the mountains, I work on the huge granite slab in the middle of the kitchen where there is plenty of room to spread out. This is my favorite place to work!
Who is your favourite artist?
Van Gogh is definitely my favorite artist.
What is your favourite piece of work by yourself?
“Dogwood in Spring Colors” and I entered it in the Strawberry Festival in Florida this year. I won a Business Leader award, along with a great ribbon and money.
How much time (on average) does it take to complete a work?
It takes me two days once I have my vision and feel the passion.
How well do you take criticism?
I love criticism!! It makes me a better painter. I remember when I began, I would take my early works down to my husband to see what he thought and he’d get this look on his face like he didn’t want to hurt my feelings but with some prodding, he’d tell me what he didn’t like. This made me work harder and when I painted “Serenity”, he finally looked at it and said, “That looks like it should be hanging in a museum”. This is the point where I knew I was getting the hang of it.
What do you do to overcome a ‘block’?
When I am blocked, I have no passion. I’ve tried to paint when I’m like that and have always torn up the paintings. Over time, I’ve learned to just not paint. I have gone for weeks and didn’t even feel the urge. Then, miraculously, I’d see something or have an idea pop in my mind to where I couldn’t get to my paper fast enough to begin.
How do you know something is ‘finished’? Is it easy to walk away?
With my paintings, I’ve been known to tinker with them and add highlights, pull out color, add contrast, whatever. But, there is a point where it hits me that I’m done and I say, outloud usually, THAT’S IT!
Have you had exhibits in galleries?
I don’t pursue this unless I enter a painting in a contest once in a while. My goal is not to sell my originals. I purposely price them high because I want them to remain with my family and closest friends.
Have you any exhibits in galleries planned for the future?
No, and for the same reason as above.
What are you currently working on?
I am currently in the middle of painting a new portrait of Charlie, my Boykin Spaniel. He’s my most difficult subject to paint, probably because I love him so much but he’s got so many different colors of long wavy hair with dark brown, chocolate and blonde highlights, that’s it’s always a challenge. Oddly, he’s one of my biggest sellers.
What are your plans for the future?
My plans for the future are to continue to grow and experiment. I feel like my paintings are unique and people recognize them immediately but I feel I get better over time.
What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
I have to credit Terry Madden with this…….”You can do it”.
What advice would you give to new artists?
Find your own niche and experiment to do it. Try everything and find the different aspects which seem to signify your work, then try to combine them until you can say, THAT’s IT!
Have you done any courses to help you?
I went to a Terry Madden workshop about 3 years ago in Jacksonville. I loved it because he’s freehand and experimental like me.
What do you do to market your work?
I have my website attached to my email and always use word of mouth. Aside from that, I join many clubs on Fine Art America, enter contests and try to stay as active as I can. Plus I add many new paintings.
Do you use social networking in your day to day life?
No, I really don’t except for Facebook (as Elizabeth Taylor) and of course, http://lil-taylor.artistwebsites.com
Are you available for work (commissions)?
Yes, I paint commissions quite often and that is one exception where I will sell the originals.
Have you got hobbies?
I love to hike with my dogs both in Florida and in the NC mountains and spend lots of time with my friends and family.
Where are you based?
I am primarily based in Lithia, Florida where I’ve lived for about 16 years. I also have a house up in Sapphire, NC in the mountains. I spend quite a lot of time there off and on during the year.
© 2013, Isabella Francesca Abigail Shores. All rights reserved.