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Doris H David

Artist's Interview

How long have you been creating?
I believe somehow that I have been creating all of my life...even before I could set my ideas down on my first brown paper grocery bag, I was seeing, planning, organizing, and mentally creating. I don't think that I ever took my art very seriously until recently, when having retired from teaching, I have had more time to indulge my need to create.
What is your medium of choice?
This is really a very difficult question for me as I often create in various media including clay and photography. At this moment in time, my darkroom is not set up and I have no quick access to a kiln. Therefore, I imagine that if pressed, I would probably say paint. Oils, watercolors and acrylics are all comfortable for me and, depending on how I feel at the time, will choose one or the other.
What are your motivations for creating?
I have never thought too much about this before, but I do know that I must create and I need to set aside time in my life to do so. It seems that the more I do it, the more I miss it when I don't. It's addictive and satisfying and the place I find myself in when I am doing it is like no other place in the world. Selfishly, I do it for me. Secondarily, I believe I create in order to leave something of my life for my husband, children and grandchildren. I used to spend a lot of time with my grandparents and my grandmother used to draw flowers for me...especially pansies. I still have some of those sketches and they bring her very close to me. ... and I suppose I would need to say that somehow, I do it to leave something of me to the larger community. I remember a Philosophy of Art professor once telling us, that art was not art unless someone else sees it. So, I suppose, I want to be remembered as an artist, as well.
What other artists and movements inform your work?
When I graduated from college and was a young wife and mother I was so smitten with Amedeo Modigliani, his art, and his life story that I collected every book and set of prints that I could get my hands on. I pleaded for a framed print of his "Girl With Braids" for my birthday, and attended a presentation of a French movie about his life (and my expertise in the language was limited, to be sure). As I matured, I studied the deeply emotional life and work of Vincent Van Gogh, admired his facility for deftly capturing the essence of the subject he was painting, and his brushwork, and especially his extraordinary use of color and attended both Van Gogh exhibitions at the Metropolitan in New York and also saw his work alongside that of Gaugin's at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. After I became an art teacher, I found Roy LIchtenstein. I had gone to Chicago in April 1991 to attend a convention with my husband and visited the Art Institute of Chicago where the current exhibit, "High and Low: Modern Art and Popular Culture" was dedicated to Pop Art. Whether it was because I was an avid comic book devotee in my childhood, or because I was totally stricken by the power of the work itself, I decided that I would teach my children in school, all about Lichtenstein, never realizing that I would also be teaching myself and in the process, adopting a new style of painting. I am also a great devotee of Edward Hopper and have plans for some future pieces which will most probably thematically follow along the line of some of his work; most especially his city paintings.
What do you find stimulating right now? How does this influence your creative process?
Sometimes, a line I am doodling around with on the back of an envelope at the kitchen table. At other times, it might be based on colors or shapes I have seen somewhere or an event in my life, or even a song, poem, a book I am reading, looking out the window at the landscape which surrounds the house, something on tv...pretty much everything. Barry Manilow has an album about an old apartment motel he used to live at in Brooklyn, called the Mayflower and in each song he paints a lyrical picture of a particular occupant of the building. It has sparked my imagination and provided me with an idea for some future (Hopper-like), work.
Read anything good lately?
"Arthur Schwartz's New York City Food" which contains stories, historical insights and delicious recipes. "Art & Fear", Observations on the Perils and Rewards of Artmaking, by David Bayles and Ted Orland. And, I am rereading "Depths of Glory", a biographical novel of Camille Pissarro by Irving Stone. I am a biographical and also a historical novel freak!
What has teaching taught you about yourself and your own art?
When teaching, I was able to inspire the students to make art with innovative projects I created that helped them mature in their facility with various media. I found this ability to muster my imaginative resources to provide fresh challenges to keep the students interested, helped me grow personally in the creation of my own work. Teaching taught me to be free of convention, to reach for new horizons, to extend myself beyond what I already know and to always keep on learning, challenging myself, and experimenting. Teaching taught me to be more spontaneous in my own art.
What would you like your fellow EBSQ artists and collectors to know about you and or your work?
I would like them to know that I was the winner of the Celebration of Excellence Award from the State of Connecticut for an innovative project which I designed to paint an actual full-sized billboard with my fourth and fifth grade students as a tribute to Youth Art Month. The completed billboard was installed on site on a highway in Trumbull, CT. Several articles that I wrote about original projects I designed for teaching art in the classroom were published in "School Arts" Magazine which has nationwide circulation. I recently found reference to one of the articles on Google. It points to a school system in Washington state which adopted one of my projects for inclusion in their art and language arts curriculum. I would also like them all to know how much I treasure my membership in EBSQ and the opportunity it has afforded me to become one of a talented and especially caring community of artists. I have learned so much from them and continue to grow from the experience.

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