ask the artist: jan perkins {answers}

flower still life by jan perkins {currently showing at the Kimball Art Center member’s pin-up}

Where do you you find your inspiration?

I find my inspiration from my emotions to a scene or from my ‘total being’ response to something I see or interactions with life in general. Or…I get my inspiration from my drawings, doodles, and thumbnail sketches. Thumbnails are a great way to generate good ideas for art.

How long have you been painting?

There have been a lot of start and stops along the way and frustrating times for me in trying to find my own path as an artist. But basically, I’ve been in business roughly 25 years and I’ve been much more consistent and committed in the last 7 years.

Where did you go to school? What did you study? Art?

I have a B.S. in Painting from Utah State University but my focus was on illustration, and drawing and not on painting for some reason. I really didn’t start painting seriously until I got out of school and discovered that I am much more suited to painting than illustration.

What advice would you give art collectors and/or aspiring artists?

To Collectors: Number one, collect what you love! Collect art that speaks to something inside of you. It’s also good to learn the basics of what good design is and good drawing, good use of color, so you can also make quality choices. But above all, a piece of art should speak to you on some level–you should love it.

To Aspiring Artists: Study, study, study what you love, what you respond to. Learn what makes great art; the learning never stops, by the way. Learn to create great design and composition, learn how to draw well, learn how to use the three primary colors (& black & white)–start there. Forget about the other colors they’re good for making mud and confusion, especially when you’re just learning. Learn about light source too and how it turns a form. Keep your light source consistent throughout the piece. Stick with the basics–master the basics. Also, if you are a painter: lay your colors out on your palette in a logical way to YOU, and then lay them out exactly the same way — every time. Take workshops only from artists who’s work inspires you.

Do you have an embarrassing story associated with art that you’d be willing to share?

Nope, not one! 🙂

How many different mediums have you seriously worked with?

I love to draw with charcoal, conte crayon, and graphite pencil. I haven’t been doing enough of it lately so I’m now carrying a sketchbook everywhere again. I seriously worked in acrylics about 24 years ago but since then I usually only use oils. There are occasional experiences in watercolor, which I love, but they don’t happen very often because I love oil paint even more.


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  • kent winterton

  • marilynn z. nielson

  • jan perkins

  • robert j. johnson

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