As we approach our Star Studded Art Extravaganza in just under two weeks, we thought it would be fun to interview our participating artists, and share with you some of their thoughts about their work.
Our first artist is Lynn Sanguedolce. Her thoughtful answers are fascinating and insightful.
Most of your work is figurative, how did that come about?
In my early childhood, I learned that drawing was a form of play and something to enjoy. When we were very young children, my mother frequently handed my sister and me a set of pencils and paper so that we could entertain ourselves. In those days, I drew many pictures of my family members and friends and I enjoyed projects such as writing and illustrating stories about people. Since my father was a professional artist and my mother and sister both enjoyed doing artwork, I had wonderful art teachers to guide me. It was through my mother, who studied fashion illustration, and my older sister Lorry, that I focused on the gesture of poses, rhythm and learned the beauty of line. I was especially lucky in that I had access to really great supplies in my dad’s studio—special papers, paints, pastel pencils, pen and ink, and all kinds of pencils and erasers. As a young girl, my parents shared their anatomy book, by George Bridgman, with me and I enjoyed copying the drawings. In those days when I drew faces, what was more apparent on the drawings then the actual features, were the structural lines indicating where the centerline of the face was, or marking the proportions of the head. (I deliberately left these in my finished drawings using very bold, crude lines thinking I was doing a very good job.) I clearly remember my grammar school classmates being puzzled about the “grids” on the faces I drew and asking me why they were there. But this was what was “normal” for me. Later on, in Junior High School, I had fun drawing my girlfriends and classmates, sometimes at their request, portraying how I imagined they would look when they grew up. I was surprised to learn recently, that some of my friends have saved those early drawings.
From the beginning, the challenge of drawing and painting figures was “play” in my mind, yet it created a life long interest in trying to understand and depict human structure. As I grew into adulthood, I maintained studying figurative art through life drawing, art classes, workshops, and private instruction. It’s a never-ending journey and I continue learning and exploring my love for painting and drawing figures today. I find it to be the ultimate challenge, and it is an area in which every one of my skills as an artist is brought to bear, and it is ultimately the most rewarding to me as well.
Who has had the most influence on your career and why?
There are many people who were important to my career…so this is a very difficult question to answer. With regard to being an artist, John Phillip Osborne has had the greatest influence on me. In terms of important emotional support and career guidance, my husband, Joe, has had the greatest influence. Both are necessary.
I have had many wonderful teachers and mentors over the past 35 years, but John Osborne is an artist who made such a deep impression on me. He taught crucial painting principles, was a role model for artistic integrity, and added greatly to this sense of wonder I feel for nature. In short, he inspired me to be better and delve deeper. To this day, I keep a picture of him at his easel with the words “Paint The Truth” over it, in my studio. It reminds me of what is important to keep in your heart, where true inspiration lies and exactly what it means to be an artist.
My husband Joe, with his background in Electrical Engineering, and careers in working for scientific instrumentation companies, might sound like an unlikely influence on my ART career, but he has been a major force propelling me forward and encouraging me to take risks that didn’t come naturally to me. It has been though his love, optimism and belief in me that I have taken great strides. He is the “behind the scenes” guy who has stretched miles and miles of canvas, dragged large and cumbersome paintings to photography studios, accompanied me to countless art exhibits, art museums and galleries, and patiently listened to me talk about every new, exciting art revelation I discovered (even when he was tired.). He has been “the wind beneath my wings”, sharing this amazing art journey with me, for nearly 25 years.
How does your work reflect your personality?
My paintings express my personality by reflecting my introspective nature and my sensitivity to my surroundings. The subjects are often quiet and deep in thought, reading or daydreaming. Places give me feelings, so I pay careful attention to the background and lighting and environment or landscape that surrounds a figure.
I have an interest in both classic and romantic art, so my work hopefully shows a mix of careful observation, appreciation for the beauty of nature and passion for experiencing life fully. I love both feeling and evoking a sense of freedom and mystery in my paintings. By using gestural brushstrokes and leaving some areas of the painting left to the viewer’s imagination, I think I am revealing those aspects of my temperament as well.
How do you select models – do you let the subject determine the concept of the work, or is the concept determined before the model is selected?
I enjoy both ways of working. For portraiture, the subject determines the concept as I try to best express that person’s character through clothing choices, background, lighting, etc… However in other figurative work, the idea for the painting precedes finding the model and developing the work.
In addition, I find there are certain models that I just have a special rapport with. I tend to use certain models repeatedly as they are able to express my ideas, in poses and movement, so well. Sometimes there are elements to their personalities that resonate with me.
What is your major consideration when composing a painting?
My major consideration when composing a painting is in asking myself: What am I trying to say and Why am I drawn to this particular subject? I then can move on to thinking about how to compose the painting with mood, light effects, designing shapes, paint technique, etc…
Describe your process a bit.
I usually begin with the idea, develop thumbnail sketches in pencil, paint the subject from life, take photo reference and draw additional sketches (in pencil or charcoal) for the purpose of designing the composition and to better understand the physical structure, complete a small value study and then start the finished piece. Many times when I begin the finished painting, I start with an under painting.
What colors are most often found on your palette?
The colors I most often use are: Titanium White, Cad Yellow Light or Cad Lemon, Cad Yellow Medium, Cad Orange, Cad Red, Terra Rosa, Transparent Oxide Red, Alizarin Crimson or Madder Lake, Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Viridian and Ivory Black. In addition to those, I might add: Lead White, Naples Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Mars Brown, Vermillion and Green Umber.
(I should add that I like to experiment and have fun trying new colors all the time.)
What is your definition of art?
I like the definition of art in Harold Speed’s book, “The Practice & Science of Drawing”. He defines art as: “The rhythmic expression of feeling”.
If you could spend the day with any three artists, who would they be and why?
The artists that I would choose to spend a day with would be: John Singer Sargent (because he is a man of mystery to me and I never lose my complete and utter fascination with him!), Robert Henri (because of his deep spiritual wisdom for artists) and Cecilia Beaux (because I admire her work tremendously and would love to hear all she might have to tell me about her experiences as an artist).