“I really like doing small paintings that I force myself to do in 2 hours. They are 7×9 or 8×10 portrait-like paintings. They stretch my abilities and force me to not get too tight or perfectionist.”
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Artist of the Month: Angela Bentley Fife
Constant Comparison (oil, 24×36) by Angela Bentley Fife was a finalist in The Artist’s Magazine‘s 26th Annual Art Competition. Fife is our May 2010 Artist of the Month.
Inspiration for this Painting: I think we, as women, often compare ourselves to others, but we’re comparing ourselves to our perception of others. Maybe their best parts against our worst parts. I was thinking of that as I put the woman shoulder-to-shoulder with an unrealistic expectation of a woman as a mannequin.
Her Painting Process: I would love to work from life all the time. Unfortunately it is not realistic since many of my painting hours are late at night. Ideally I start from life with a model, then work from photographs and drawings and then finish with the model. It usually doesn’t work out that ideally, but photographs that I take from the model are a great resource. I have been known to pose myself, or my children if I can’t seem to get it right or the lighting needs to change. I start with a pencil or oil paint loose drawing on the canvas and I glaze many times during the process.
Time Spent Painting: I really like doing small paintings that I force myself to do in 2 hours. They are 7×9 or 8×10 portrait-like paintings. They stretch my abilities and force me to not get too tight or perfectionist. I am not going for an exact likeness, but a quick study of the face and of color. They usually turn out to be pretty close, but I don’t focus on that. It is a great exercise and they sell well, too. This particular painting is 24×36 and I would say it took 4-5 sittings; approximately 8-12 hours.
Current Project: I have been working on building up my inventory for a new gallery in Texas (Wally Workman Gallery). It has taken me several months to get them 12 new paintings so they have a strong body of my work to start with. I have been putting together small triptychs and diptychs of children as well. I am excited about it because it allows me to paint the small works that are easy to paint from my imagination or at the kitchen table while my own kids are running around me. I then make them into a more formidable piece by combining them.
Why She Paints: I realized a long time ago that I need to create. It is in my blood. My mood suffers when I am not painting for an extended time. After I graduated from college I was so burned out I didn’t pick up a paintbrush for about 6 months. It was not a good 6 months, and I learned the hard way that if I am not painting, my happiness suffers. It sounds a little melodramatic, but that knowledge has gotten me through 3 children and a million other things I should be doing, because I make it a priority to paint. I am always amazed that I paint whatever is in my head and whatever I feel like painting, and that it speaks to people and they want to buy and live with my emotional expressions. I think it is therapy for me in a way. And when I think of it that way, I am honored that my clients take the paintings into their lives.