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's INTERVIEW WITH Lisa M. Rourke - LMRourke Why would you say you are an artist? Does your art have any specific meaning for you (ie, why do you create)?
Wow...you start off with a tough one! Why would I say I'm an artist. Ironically, it's taken me until recently to consider myself one. An artist to my mind was one who had formal training and who made his/her living creating art and as I did neither, it was hard to think of myself as a true artist. But now I would say I'm an artist because I'm the happiess when I'm creating. It gives me a real sense of joy and satisfaction like no other "job" I've had. Your gallery has strong emphasis on the medium of graphite. Is there any reason you have chosen this medium as favorite means of artistic communication for your talents?
I think I originally chose graphite when I took up portraiture because it seemed the least complicated-(easier to handle and easier to erase your mistakes!) Some graphite artists use a grid when creating portraits, others prefer a more freehand style. Is there any specific method you use when drawing portraits, and why?
I've always done a freehand style-no grids. Although I've been sorely tempted many times when I've wasted countless hours trying to get the angle or shape of a head right. When I start a drawing, I usually look for a line or shape that strikes me as a good vantage point and go from there. Sometimes it's the eyes, sometimes the curve of a cheek or the neck or shoulders. Have you had any formal art training? Do you feel it is necessary or important for an artist to have formal training?
No real formal training although I do have a BA in Studio Art (pottery). When I was in college, the last thing I wanted to do was draw. I knew I could copy but I didn't consider it a talent so I didn't persue it other than to take the one or two required basic drawing classes. I don't think it's nescessary for an artist to have formal training (I've seen some pretty outstanding self-taught ones) but I do feel for me, personally, that I would have liked to have had some formal training. It might have given me more confindence to persue drawing and illustration sooner plus it would have exposed me to different mediums and styles. We noticed some gorgeous colored pencil pieces in your gallery. A lot of artists find this medium challenging. How would you encourage a graphite artist who would like to rise to the colored pencil challenge?
I think color pencils are a logical media step for a graphite artist although they do take some getting used to. With graphite you can shade and blend and erase easily- it's much, much more forgiving. With color pencil, you have to build up layers of color in order to get the same texture and depth. I don't know if I'd recommend this but, when I started out using color pencils I would take one of my completed pencil drawings and erase most of the shading. Then I would attempt to color and shade the drawing like the original. Somtimes it worked out ok but somethimes the pencil that remained would make it greyish and muddy looking. I would suggest starting with a picture that your not attached to
But keep trying! I found that the more I used them, the more comfortable I became with them. Please tell us about the materials you use to accomplish your art work. Are there any specific brands of graphite and paper you would reccommend, and why?
I mostly use 2b pencils to draw the basic portrait and then add 3,4,5 and 6b for depth and shading. Not particular brand (I've been known to use my children's school pencils in a pinch). I prefer Strathmore 70lb heavy weight drawing paper and occasionally smooth Bristol Board. As for color pencils I use Prismacolor. We notice the majority of your gallery subjects are portraits of people. Is there any specific reason this subject inspires you?
Well, I wouldn't have taken up portraiture if it weren't for the Harry Potter books
I was just so inspired by JKR's books that I knew I wanted to draw her characters. It's opened up a whole new world of art for me. I really enjoy drawing people now, not just fictitious ones but family, friends, and members of my favorite singing group too! You obviously enjoy creating fan art. We've noticed that some Deviants have a negtive opinion of this artform. Have you ever had a negative response to your gallery, or do you mostly experience postive reaction? What are your personal feelings as to why you prefer to create this lovely fanwork?
I've been very fortunate and have pretty much only gotten positive responses to my fan art even from people who don't know who the characters are. I just feel compeled to draw them-it gives me a lot of joy. A great deal of your fanart portraits seem to come from your imagination. Do you use photo references, or do you prefer making up your own interprtations of the certain characters faces?
Almost all of my portraits are based on some sort of reference or model. Since I had no formal training, I didn't have the skills to create realistic portrayals on my own. My portraits are part imagination and part reality. What is the hardest thing for you to draw?
I never would have thought it but- babies. We noticed a commission in your gallery. Which inspires you more: commisions, or creating for your own enjoyment? How would you encourage fellow artists to obtain commissions of their own?
For my own enjoyment, definitely. I'm currently doing an illustration commission and I can't wait until it's over and I have free time to create what I want to create.
Several of my commissions were from co-workers. They were familiar with my work from the artwork I've done for the store. Word of mouth is always good. Are there any artists or other sources of inspiration that you feel directly contribute to your creativity?
I've always loved the Dutch Masters and the Renaissance artists-their realism and beauty is something that really speaks to me. I'm also fond of Waterhouse and Rockwell. Sometimes artists suffer from "artist's block." If you feel your desire to create waning, what do you do to resinspire yourself and restore those creative juices?
Check out all the wonderful galleries here on da, read, talk to my daughter who is also an artist. As you look ahead, in what direction are you aspiring to take your art? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?
Besides being really, really old....I hope to be doing some more professional work. Maybe some more illustration and trying and hopefully mastering new mediums.
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