Art by Derek McCrea - Whimsical Impressionist [derekmccrea]
What do you do? How do you define yourself as an artist?
My qualifications is I am an impressionist with a great ability to paint commissions of landscapes, seascapes, florals, lighthouses, old country barns, and wildlife. I am mostly self taught, but have 25 years of experience backed by traveling worldwide in the military to places I have networked with other artists, learned from masters and learned along the way.
What is your message?
Art is my balance to a hectic, stressful life in the US Army Infantry. You must paint for the right reasons, because it is what you enjoy. If you do not enjoy art, you will give up, have fun with your art, and take criticism in a positive way to become better. Artists should work together and communicate professionally and personally; you never know how things may turn out.
Your biography in four lines.
I was first introduced to painting in 1984 by my mother and a well known artist Jimmy Petersen. I joined the US Army and continued self-study for over 20 years in the United States and Europe. Art has always been my passion and adds a balance to my life. I have painted consistently for over 24 years now.
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 am inspired both by beauty and by life itself. If I am having a bad day, or week I do not paint. I only paint when I am in a great mood. Sometimes I may go a month without painting. I will have dream about an image, or see something I think would look great painted and I get excited and feel an urge to capture the image in a painting.
What is art?
Sel expression displayed through creation and self discovery.
When do you get your best ideas?
I feel self satisfaction and one with nature and the work I am completing. I enjoy painting places I have been and painted en plein air at locations in France, Germany, Austria, and all over the United States. I love to paint outside and capture the moment of my life experiences in beautiful places. Subjects I mostly paint en plein air include landscapes, seascapes, lighthouses, florals, and southwestern scenes. When I am not painting en plein air, I am painting from photographs I have taken on vacation.
How do you evaluate whether an idea is good or not?
My ability and self confidence in the completed vision.
Three creative ideas that you would have liked to have created?
abstract expressionism, cubism, watercolor medium
When and how did you begin to see yourself as an artist?
When I started painting in 1984 I did not know at first that I would always paint until my third or fourth painting when I started to get better and gain more confidence. Once I painted a painting I was proud of I knew I would always paint because I loved the way it made me feel. Painting leaves me with a sense of accomplishment that will carry on after I am gone.
Why do so many artists and creators have such volatile personalities?
The artist is their own hardest critic and artists show their feelings and personality as they discover themselves more.
Do you consider yourself postmodern?
Definitely not, I am more traditional impressionism.
How should a work of art be evaluated?
By the uniqueness and effort to create the work and the way the work makes the viewer feel.
Which artists do you admire and how do they influence your work?
My favorite artist is my mother. She just has the natural ability to capture the beauty of the southern USA. I would not normally say that talent comes naturally but with her it just does. I have learned more over the years about painting, but still look back on one of her oils from 1986 that I still cannot match. Also Jimmy Petersen. I can type his name in on Google and come up with nothing, although his works are spectacular. There are many artists whom before digital photography and the internet do not have images of their works, sold to customers years ago.
What do you think about public funding for the arts?
It is a great idea. Competition in the arts is very tough. The public support in arts keeps some of the best artists painting and helps in times of need for artists to continue to work.
Does it pain you to let go of a piece you have sold?
Yes, yes yes
In art, there is no guide. How do you know what the next step is?
I generally work from far to near and light to dark until I feel the work is complete.
How do you feel about the fact that the pieces exhibited in contemporary art museums are often of artists already deceased?
Everyones art can not be in museums and it is an honor for those who died and gave their lives to the arts to be the main subjects of museums. Museums are about history, and young artists or even mid career artists have not fully contributed to art history.
What types of jobs do you usually do?
Commission work of landscapes, seascapes, florals, barns, old houses, and lighthouses.
Which of your jobs or tasks do you most enjoy?
Do you personally collect any items?
yes, stamps and coins.
Which websites do you frequently visit?
What advice would you give to those just beginning?
Work outside of the box and paint because you enjoy it. The art world of today is not what it was 20 years ago. Take guitarists for example. In 1988 there were not that many teens growing up with the dream of being rock stars in comparison to now. Society has changed with production and the Internet. The art world is not that much different. If I were to guess I would say there are more artists now than there were 20 years ago. If this is not the case, it may seem to be as the media for spreading the word about art have increased. You only have to go on the Internet to see the massive competition. You have a better chance of being successful from my experience by working outside of the traditional box. Identify your market and attempt to promote your work through the various media of today, magazines, books, Internet, and traditional galleries. Be careful what you pay for. Lately I have seen a large amount of galleries charging a fee for placement of works. In some galleries this may be productive for the artists, but there are also those galleries who make their profit off of the artists almost solely. Observe a gallery before making a decision to place art in it. You may pay 200 per month and pay 30% commission upon the sale for example. If you sell one art in 6 months you will lose money. Art galleries are a lot like real estate, location, location, and location. Most of all, paint because you enjoy it. If you do not enjoy painting you will give up. You may give up on art but art will not give up on you!
Art by Derek McCrea - Whimsical Impressionist
Columbus, GA, USA