Congratulations to our April Artist of the Month, Sandra Kuck! She was a finalist in The Artist’s Magazine‘s Annual Art Competition. Her painting Yvonne (If by RK) is below. Keep scrolling to see what Kuck has to say about her process, her family and what she’s learned throughout her career!
Boca Raton, FL www.lookinggoodlicensing.com/lgl/SKuck_Bio.html
I’m mostly self-taught, but from 1970-1973, I attended workshops at The Art Students’ League, where I studied anatomy and portraiture. I made my first oil painting when I was 16-years-old and it was a portrait of Napoleon.
My professional career has spanned nearly five decades. I have been fortunate to have my artwork reproduced into multiple products and businesses. I published my own prints for galleries throughout the US and Canada for 25 years. Last year, I received the Award of Excellence from the Portrait Society of America.
My inspiration for this painting was my granddaughter, Yvonne. I wanted to portray her not being burdened by contemporary fashion, furnishings or gadgets. Instead, I sent her back in time with different distractions, like the menacing group of dragons surrounding her. Yet, her stoic presence remains strong and her confidence shines through.
My process was very old world for this painting. I first created a thumbnail sketch from my mind’s eye and had Yvonne sit for me in a costume I designed. I did a series of sketches in different poses for the proper composition. She posed in natural, morning light. Title was painted from a combination of life and photo references. I try to use every color in almost every painting. My palette is burnt sienna, permanent red, perylene red, cadmium red dark, cadmium red medium, scarlet, cadmium orange, indian yellow, cadmium yellow, cadmium yellow medium, cadmium yellow light, raw sienna, cadmium green, viridian, phalo green, phalo turquoise, cerulean blue, cobalt blue, ultramarine blue, quinacridone magenta, dioxavine purple, cremitz white and titanium white.
The dragons were harder than I anticipated. I made sure Yvonne remained the focal point by keeping her porcelain skin tone different from anything else in the painting. Her eyes had to engage the viewer as well. I’m either a slow painter or the details in the paintings slow me down. I paint 40 to 60 hours a week and my oils take two to three months, but Yvonne required five months. It was a true labor of love.
I would like to thank my business manager, my husband, John. He brought paintings to galleries when I was too shy to go myself. He always has believed in me and my work. I love him so.
I entered The Artist’s Magazine’s Competition for the first time because of the competitiveness and prestige of the awards. There are so many great artists and to be recognized among them is amazing. It isn’t about winning or losing. It’s about improving and getting to a higher level. For me, this recognition encourages me to compete again this year.