Andy Smith, watercolor artist [andysmith]
What do you do? How do you define yourself as an artist?
I feel truly blessed with a gift, a talent to interpret what I see through watercolor paintings. My artistic journey has already surpassed my wildest dreams, and my journey continues as I paint daily. The creation of my daily blog has provided me with an opportunity to experiment with new subjects and to grow creatively. The added bonus has has been a huge boost to my skill level above my expectations. I am not ready to call myself a master of watercolor because I realize the constant potential of growth. I believe it is all in the journey...
What is your message?
My goal is to create paintings that capture subjects which other people overlook. I love working with light, the use of light and dark and playing with shadows. My paintings are realistic with an underlying subtle abstract use of the brush.
Your biography in four lines.
Born January 1, 1953
Full-time, Self-taught artist, painting professionally since 1980
Joined "A Painting A Day Blog" in January 2007
Do you upload your work to the web? If so, where could we see it?
How is an idea born? For you, what is inspiration?
I travel and include a lot of historical sightseeing. I take lots of photos and take them back to my studio to use as reference. I am able to paint a broad variety of subjects to keep me interested.
What role does technology play in your creative process?
None in my creative process or my painting other than a cheep camera for reference material. All my work is hand drawn and painted. It does play an important role in the promotion end, websites, blogs etc.
What is art?
Art is using the gifts we were blessed with to interpret what we see and feel. Using the medium of our choice, for me it is watercolor.
When do you get your best ideas?
Since I am a realist I am surrounded by subject matter. I am inspired constantly and find I have more inspiration than time to paint them.
How do you evaluate whether an idea is good or not?
I bounce ideas off my family members. However I can usually "see" the finished subject in my mind and can tell how it will turn out.
Three creative ideas that you would have liked to have created?
I am very prolific. I paint daily, most days, all day. So there is nothing I am saving, I simply paint.
When and how did you begin to see yourself as an artist?
At a young age I realized I saw thing differently than others. I could always draw and was interested in art and illustration. After bouncing around a bit I settled on becoming a working artist in my 20's.
Why do so many artists and creators have such volatile personalities?
I think artists tend to be nonconformists however that is not my case. I wanted to be an artist bad enough I was willing to work at it. I have a strong foundation in God and I think that helps with my personal stability.
Do you consider yourself postmodern?
No! I consider myself a realist.
How should a work of art be evaluated?
I paint first to please myself. I try to combine technique and color and texture and composition into my painting. I let my work speak for itself and somehow it finds the collector that falls in love with it. I am not to concerned about the opinion of judges or other artist.
Must an artist reinvent him/herself everyday?
Personally I want to grow. As a man, as a husband and as an artist. I want my work to be fresh, to be interesting. I joined a daily painters group and found the discipline made huge improvements in my skill level. I grew. Reinvent sound more like coming up with a whole new you, I do not feel the need to do that. I am happy in my skin.
Which artists do you admire and how do they influence your work?
There are so many.
Andrew Wyeth for his simplicity and texture and use of everyday subject matter.
Winslow Homer for his mastery of watercolor technique.
John Singer Sargent for his use of strong light in his portraits.
Edward Hopper for his staging of his compositions.
What do you think about public funding for the arts?
No, who decides, it is a grey area thing, not black and white. I think an artist can make it without the funding.
Is art necessary?
YES! Certainly necessary for me, it is all I know.
It would be a sad world without it.
Does it pain you to let go of a piece you have sold?
When I was a new artist and was afraid the next painting would not be as good as the one I just finished I was afraid my best work was going out the door. 30 years later I am comfortable in my talent and know there will be another great painting tomorrow. I am also very blessed with collectors that simply fall in love with the work. It speaks to them so it is going to a good home and most times I am invited to visit the work! The sale of that piece enables me to continue my life as a full time artist, so I take my collectors very seriously.
Is a work of art purchased, or is it better said, that it is the artist who is bought?
A painting I created has my talent and skill. It is a part of how I see my world. A collector is buying what I paint. But I am also defined by other things. I have strong values so I am not selling myself as anything but an artist creating work. I am more defined by the measure of a man I am. So you are buying a painting I happened to paint.
What role have the figures of art dealer, gallery owners, representatives, and intermediaries in general played in your career?
With the help of my wife I have always carved out my own path. I want the clients to be mine not a gallerys. I am social so it works for me to be my own representative. I have worked with a few galleries over the years but find I do a better job.
What types of jobs do you usually do?
I worked in my fathers body shop in my early years but when I married my wife encouraged me to paint full-time. So this is it for 25 years...feast or famine!
Which of your jobs or tasks do you most enjoy?
I love painting. Simply sitting at my desk painting watercolors.
Do you personally collect any items?
My wife is in charge of that!
We collect antiques and artists craftwork. But I think only my paintings are in my house. My wife claims one or two of my paintings every year for herself!
What advice would you give to those just beginning?
Paint, paint, paint. Work at it every day. Set goals. Work at not getting discouraged. Take advice from someone close to you that has a good eye.
Earning a living is still a business. Conduct yourself with integrity.
Andy Smith, watercolor artist