Oh la la, this week’s Artist in Focus is the crème de la crème. Faye Vander Veer has been with UGallery for quite sometime. She plays to the classic lover in all of us. Her romantic scenes of cultured denizens traversing their cities are reminiscent of John Singer Sargent and the French Impressionists. She says, “the simplest act can become the most compelling painting.” Her paintings prove that our daily lives are fascinating events worthy of being painted. Here she discusses her inspiration and her paintings.
What is your earliest art memory?
When I was six years old I won the first place ribbon for a painting I did of the mice in the story Cinderella. The show was sponsored by the local Woman’s Club. I was so excited.
Paris or San Francisco?
Wow, that’s a toss-up. Both are extraordinary cities with such identifiable landmarks. I have actually painted more scenes of Paris, so I guess I’d have to go with that one - for today!
In one word, how would you describe your art?
What’s your favorite John Singer Sargent piece? Why?
Hands down, “The Sulfur Match.” It is so evocative. The composition is stunning, the brushwork masterful, and the subject matter is mesmerizing! I love the tilt of the chair and how the gypsy woman appears to be “undone”, you can feel the weight of her skirt. I could go on and on. The man dressed in dark clothing is so mysterious and of course, then there’s “The Sulfur Match” he is holding. - there is so much tension created here - Oh my, it takes my breath away.
What’s your favorite piece from your own UGallery portfolio? Why?
I’d have to say my latest addition - “Before Dinner.” My favorite piece is usually “the one I’m working on” and that happens to be the most recent one. I particularly like the brushwork and colors. It was very spontaneous and seemed to almost “paint itself.”
Do you have any advice for other artists?
Always paint what you love. Don’t fall prey to painting what other people tell you to paint! If your heart’s not in it, it will show in your work. Never, never compromise your integrity. Paint what interests you and the person who is supposed to have it will show up! I love this quote from Robert Henri - “Think of yourself a Master, expect from yourself a Masterpiece!”
Do you have anything you’d like to share about your art? What do you want people to know?
I am a constant observer of people and light. Whenever I travel, or even venture out locally, I have my camera with me. I look for scenes I find interesting, usually people in the act of living their day-to-day lives and imagine that scene as a painting. Because I like to “capture that moment”, painting the scene in Plein Air is not feasible since “people move”, so I take the photos and use them as reference for “what I want to say” about what I observed. I guess you could say, I’m always on a treasure hunt, looking for the next painting. The world is full of so many unexpected surprises, there’s a painting just about everywhere you look. When I actually put brush to canvas, I create my own story about the subject and let my imagination run wild! My paintings always find their rightful owner. Because the art world has been so good to me, I decided I wanted to “give back.” Two years ago I started giving away a painting at every art show. I pick out the painting ahead of time, hang it with all of the others, put a price on it, etc., and the first person who comes up and expresses an interest in that particular painting, I take it off the wall and give it to them. That has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life and I have stories to tell that are unbelievable. It all works for the good!
For fun, would you rather paint a scene from the opening night at an opera or a busy street corner?
Hmmmm, these questions are tough! One of my favorite paintings was one I did of New York City on the opening night of a Broadway Play. I sold it and it is one I wish I kept for my private collection. Busy street corners are fun too, but I guess I’ll pick the “opening night” one.