Don Bishop is an impressionist painter living in Portland, Oregon, who draws inspiration for his artwork from the magical scenery of the Pacific Northwest. The majority of his work is in oils, but Don also paints in acrylics from time to time. As his work evolves, Don sees his paintings becoming a hybrid of tonalist, impressionist, and Hudson River School influences. His goal is to follow in the footsteps of the early masters, creating paintings that capture the qualities of light and color of the early impressionist movement.
We sat down with Don (virtually) to learn more about his creative process. Read on to check out the interview.
Walk us through creating a piece. Your reference material, tools you use, how long it takes?
Most of my work is landscape based and for me that means painting outside plein air whenever I can. Often I will do the majority of the painting plein air and finish the final details and touches back in the studio working from a reference photo. I use traditional brushes and palette knives for my paintings and lately have been using non-traditional tools as well. Anything that creates interesting paint textures can be found in my painting tools, including drywall scrappers and kitchen tools.
How has your style changed over the years?
Over the years my style has become much more loose and now I am pushing my direction towards a more abstract look.
What is the most challenging part about being an artist and how do you overcome it?
The most challenging part is keeping your creativity flowing.Those times when it is not happening are tough, but over time I have learned that it is all peaks and valleys. If I am not creating well at some point, I know it will come back so I am not as worried if I am having an off day as I used to be. It’s just a time to recharge!
What is your studio like?
My studio is anywhere I setup to paint! I do have a real studio though. It’s in an old brick warehouse with many other artists, photographers and other creative types. I have a nice corner studio on the third floor with large windows on two of the walls. It’s like a classic artist studio with high ceilings, brick walls (mine are painted white) and old wood floors. I open the windows most of the time and its like a giant sun room. I love it for painting!