Artist of the Month: Daryl Gortner

Stacked (oil, 42×24) by Daryl Gortner was a Still Life finalist in the 25th Annual Art Competition. Gortner is our January 2009 Artist of the Month.

Residence: Fullerton, California


Start in art: My painting career started only five years ago. Because my drawings at the time consisted mainly of stick figures, I enrolled in an art appreciation course at the college near my home, knowing it would require no drawing. But my professor told me that anyone can learn to draw; it’s a skill like anything else.

I enjoyed the drawing class I took and then began painting. I had never even held a brush or opened a tube of paint. With encouragement from my professor and mentor, I’ve entered my work into shows, exhibitions, competitions and galleries. I won first place in The Artist’s Magazine’s 2005 Student Competition and have been a finalist multiple times in the professional division. I never envisioned anything like this would happen!

Media and genres: My primary media is oil, but I also enjoy using colored pencils. My main genre is still life—I love capturing a moment in time.

Inspiration for this painting: I love color and shiny surfaces. Ordinary objects such as cups and saucers with beautiful, vibrant colors catch my attention. When I enlarge them, I’m able to see the minute details in the reflections of their surroundings and how they reflect their color onto one another. I find real beauty in these small details.

Her process: I start with the idea I’d like to convey. From there, I set up a still life and take many photographs at various angles. I arrange and rearrange the objects and try different lighting before making my choices. When I’ve decided on the best composition, I put the drawing on the canvas. I first paint the background and then move to the foreground; only then do I start on the objects. My typical color palette contains ultramarine blue, burnt umber, cadmium yellow, cadmium orange, cadmium red, alizarin crimson, viridian, violet and white.

A typical painting takes one to three months, depending on the amount of detail. I’ve learned to have patience and work through the hard parts because those are usually the most beautiful areas when I’m finished. Stacked took about two months, not counting the preparation and photographs.

Why she creates art: There are two reasons: I want people to take pleasure in viewing my art, and creating it energizes my mind and makes me challenge myself.

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