Featured Artist on Poets & Artist Magazine

 

I have a deep affinity for cinema, film noir and movie posters from the mid 20th Century. My heroes range from Akira Kurosawa, Alfred Hitchcock to John Singer Sargent, and Edward Hopper. The list of artists that inspire me is long & lengthy, but from them I draw inspiration to try and paint cinematically. I want my paintings to be freeze frames of a film. There is something fascinating about a heroine who takes charge of her fate in the balance between danger and death. The fleeting seconds of an impacting car crash or a chance encounter with evil, all of that and more is what inspires me to paint my subjects in peril. I refer to my genre of painting, for the most part, as “graphic pulp fiction.” The implication of a plot within the scenery of my work is very gratifying.

There is more to painting than just a genre although, that is why I feel that I must study the human figure, landscape and light to be able to become a great painter.”

DOUG CLARKE

Q&A

 Who is you favorite model for your work and do you work live or from photographs?

My favorite model is my wife. I work from both live and from various photos and research. I truly believe that one has to learn to draw well from life and have a strong drawing foundation. I belong to the Norfolk Figure Drawing Group, which meets once a week for figure drawing. Moleskines are also something I think every artist should have, especially when sketching everyday life. Life drawing is like working out and keeping in shape.

What do you hope art historians will say about your work 300 years from now?

Honestly, I don’t care about 300 years from now. What matters to me is what people think about my work now. Who wants to be the famous after they died artist? I’d rather be the successful living artist.

How has technology influenced your work?

It too many ways to count. It has it’s place. But, traditional media is just as relevant as it ever was.

Do you have a ritual you follow before each new work is started?

No, that would be predictable. Which would make me complacent. I try to learn something for each painting I do, even if it is something small to put me out of my comfort zone.

Have any of your mistakes become a success?

Every painting is a mistake or a collection of mistakes. That’s what makes painting so hard and yet so rewarding. It’s not easy as a beginner, and it remains tough as a skilled painter. I don’t want painting to be easy, it should be difficult, otherwise I’m not pushing myself as an artist. Growth without struggle is impossible.

Do you find yourself visualizing everything as someday becoming a painting?

No. I do find myself observing color and light more and more. When the light in the late afternoon hits the highway, or shadows or skies have a great spectrum of color, I ask myself, “What colors am I really looking at and how can I paint them?”

How do you know when a work is done?

I don’t most of the time. That’s why I like to let it sit with me awhile in the studio. To me, I feel that every painting I finish has room for improvement. Sometimes though, you have to cut your loses and move on. If you have the time, letting a painting sit around for a week or so can be good to really take in all of the composition.

What has been your biggest challenge?

My biggest challenge was a commissioned landscape that was huge and I put way too much pressure on myself to get it right, when I had no idea what right really was. But I learned a lot from it and began to learn how to appreciate landscape paintings more than I used to.

What are you working on next?

My goal for this coming year is to get enough work together to have a showing or event on the west coast. I love film noir and pulp fiction. It is my favorite subject to paint. Especially making a painting that looks like a cinematic screen shot.

What is your hidden talent?

I like to write and to my surprise, sometimes a story or two turns out half way decent. But I’m a long way from being a Jack Kerouac. Long ways away.

 

 

Comment