Editor’s Letter | The Interview Issue

Artists in their own words

By Kristin Hoerth

Zinnia Bouquet by Daniel Keys.

Zinnia Bouquet by Daniel Keys.

This story was featured in the March 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  March 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

Several years ago, I did a series of on-stage interviews with painters who had been named Distinguished Artists at the annual Oil Painters of America national exhibitions. Sherrie McGraw, Alan Wolton, and Daniel Greene were among the notable artists I talked to about their creative processes, career trajectories, and much more. Despite my general reluctance to be on a stage with a microphone in front of a large group, I loved doing these interviews because I got to know the person behind the paintings a little bit, and our conversation gave me more insight into their work.

In this month’s issue, we’re trying to re-create that experience for you as much as possible. Although we can’t put you face-to-face with each featured artist (wouldn’t it be great if we could!), we’ve included interviews in which the artists speak directly to our questions about some of their most significant recent works. You’ll be listening to each person in his or her own words. That means you’ll be able to hear—in an unfiltered way—what really matters to them, what challenged them, and what they hope you, the viewer, will take away from each painting.

In these interviews you’ll learn, for example, that wildlife painter Bonnie Marris felt like she “broke a rule” by putting one of the wolves upside down in her painting SOCIAL VIEWPOINTS (the wolf is lying on his back with all four paws in the air). “I wanted to see if it would work, and I think it did. I wanted to show that silly, fun side of an individual,” she says. You’ll also learn why cadmium red is so important in RYAN’S BREAKFAST by Daniel Keys, a very personal painting. Keys also notes that he “carefully placed everything to maximize the sense that this was a naturally occurring scene. It was arranged to look like it had just happened.” And you’ll find out what made Curt Walters take his fateful first trip to the Grand Canyon many years ago, and how he felt when he attempted to paint it. “There are simple rules for painting everything,” Walters says, “except the Grand Canyon.”

We hope that listening to the artists in their own words gives you a good sense of what they’re all about, and what their artwork is all about. Since most of us can’t attend every show and auction in the West, we think it’s the next best thing to being there.

This story was featured in the March 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  March 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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