*Devynn Interviews *AmandaDrage:
Bio: written by *Devynn
Amanda Drage was born and lives in Northamptonshire, England. Amanda began her art career as an equine artist, drawing horses from a very young age. She has been on deviantART for eight years in which she rose to prominance among the equine art community, her attention for detail, varied mediums, and intimate style catching attention with every piece she posted. In recent years, she began to branch out from equine art, trying her hand at wildlife art, where she excelled. Today, she continues to balance work and the art that she loves, creating art that is purely breathtaking.
How did you become an artist?
I don't know, it depends what the definition is! If an artist is someone who enjoys drawing and painting, then I didn't become one - I always was one. I have drawn horses since I was little (like a lot of equine artists). So there was never a point where it began, as such. I don't yet make a living off my art, so I can't answer the question "how did art become your job" sadly!
How long have you been into art?
I've been into drawing horses since I was able to draw. I started to take it more seriously in the last few years.
How did you learn? Classes or self taught?
I did as far as A-level (up until 17/18). I never went to college or studied art at all. Everything I know is from my own work - practice, and trial and error. I've also made use of the internet and books to teach myself more about painting in oils.
Tell me about your work? What are you currently working on? How is it different from past projects?
I definitely go in cycles. Right now, I am rediscovering pastel, and exploring its potential used in conjunction with soft colourpencil on various surfaces. Last year, I was all about practicing my oil paint technique. In recent years I've also begun to explore other (animal) subjects, but I will always come back to horses, and my primary aim will always be realism, regardless of technique and media used.
Unfortunately I have a bad habit of project-hopping, so doubtless I'll return to one of my previous projects, or start a new one, before I'm done with my planned pastel/CP drawings!
How would you describe your style?
Hopefully, realistic. Eyecatching. Sometimes loose and free, sometimes tighter, but always with the same passion showing through. Am I being too optimistic? Lol!
What was the best advice given to you as a traditional artist?
Value your work, and paint for yourself.
Many artists struggle to find ways to sell their art. How do you sell your work? How do you market yourself?
To answer those two questions: With difficulty, and badly! Haha. No, in all seriousness, I am not a great businesswoman by any means. I am finding Facebook to be quite useful, as much as I say I dislike Facebook, it has its upsides if you want to promote something! I currently have profiles on deviantART and Facebook, an art blog, and a website. Of those, deviantART has been the most profitable avenue so far, but only because I have been on here for 8 years. Now that I am wanting to sell more than character commissions for $25 a go, I am finding dA is starting to close as a profitable avenue, but it's still a fantastic resource for many reasons, and having a following doesn't hurt - even if they can't afford your work.
I always recommend having a blog, Facebook page, or tumblr account - somewhere you can document your progress whilst keeping those who are interested in your art informed about what you are working on, instead of only showing finished works. Everyone likes to see artists' works in progress, and it helps generate interest.
What other artists do you look up to?
Too many to name! My very favourites would have to be Marjolein Kruijt, Carolle Beaudry, Magali Laurent, Judi Kent Pyrah, Robert Bateman, Paschalis Dougalis, and a couple here from dA: Lesley Thiel (~seed-of-beauty), and John Larriva (*VampireHungerStrike).
If I were to follow you around England to see art, where would you go? What would we see?
I actually don't get around to see much art!! Shameful, I know. We would go to the Marwell International Wildlife Art Society annual exhibition, National Exhibition of Wildlife Art, and the Society of Equestrian Artists show at the Mall Galleries, London. But we'd have to mooch lifts from someone, or go halves on the train fare.
How do you balance your art with your other responsibilities and interests in life?
I have no children or pets and my only other hobbies are photography and plushie-making, which really are only hobbies and will always take second place to my art. I'm also lucky that my partner is an artist too, so he understands the need to singlemindedly work on something! The biggest hindrance to my art is my day job; I thankfully only work four hours a day most days, and finish before midday. Even though this means I have a lot of afternoons to work on art, in reality early starts do take their toll, and so I usually have to wait until evenings to be refreshed enough to work on art. I somehow find a way to balance art, me-time, and time with friends. Some weeks one of those will take precedence over the others - that's perhaps the healthiest way to do it!
What do you see for yourself and your art in the future?
With any luck, I'll be fortunate enough to be in the position to be able to sell my work and make a comfortable wage from it, to enable me to get away from the drudgery of my current day job. That's all I ask for, I am not looking to be famous or be able to own three houses. Every year I am making more steps towards what I'm aiming for. Some days, that is what I see. On negative days, I see that I will be working on these things for the rest of my life and it never being more than a hobby. Let's hope for the first one!
You can learn more about Amanda Drage and her art by visiting Amanda's dA profile *AmandaDrage, her Webpage amandadrageart.com, or her Facebook page Amanda Drage Equine and Wildlife Artist.
=jane-beata's Workspace Feature
here is the second of our new "Workspace feature" series, in which we are talking to different artists about their working habits, tools and of course workspace, peeking into their studios where all the magic happens, asking them a few questions. We hope that you will find the reading inspiring
This article's featured artist is ~PoupeedeChair (France). Her portraits, mostly done in dry pastel and chalk, possess quite a few context layers, often contain a "black" particle but remain rather charming than scary.
#Traditionalists: Dear Pauline, thank you for taking the time to answer some of our questions. For starters, tell us something about a place where you work.
I work at home in a dedicated place – a veranda actually. This place tends to be freezing cold in winter and a cauldron in summertime.
#Traditionalists: A lot of artists work with easel, but some prefer table (especially watercolorists) or ground if the painting is too big. What's your choice?
Table worked well for me so far, love its stable and comfortable feel but I’m starting to use easel and it’s really cool to keep an accurate eye on your work, as you keep more distance from the image you create: it’s different when you’re facing it instead of plunging into it.
#Traditionalists: How about the atmosphere around you while working, do you listen to music or keep it quiet? Does it impact your finished piece?
Until recently I couldn’t imagine working without music: atmospheric music like Archive’s (especially Controlling Crowds) tends to make me envision symbolism and create it, while energetic music like Eminem’s (Recovery) makes me cover up big surfaces like backgrounds in no time I always feel like I have my soul moments and my body moments when I create a piece; my energy is quite disparate in general…
But lately I started working without music: this is the case for the almost entirety of my last piece, "Kate Moss-Dissected" and "Sugarcoated". For this one I changed my technique: I renounced to my usual blending and layers superimposing and used a more impressionistic method with a juxtaposition of spots of different colors with almost no blending. I noticed this was quite demanding as it is mimetic to the conditions of vision itself and it was not natural for me to exercise my eyes this way, it implied an intellectual effort.
And when it becomes intellectual – not spiritual or physical – it’s better without music.
Oh gosh, I’m aging…
#Traditionalists: What about your chair, do you sit down while working?
I prefer working on a chair but I stand up and walk a bit during my painting sessions (this is part of the bizarre routines mentioned above ^^). For whatever reason I’m very physical when it comes to my art and I am very often stiff after a day spent working.
#Traditionalists: Your favorite tools?
My pastel chalks and pencils - my right index finger.
#Traditionalists: Tools that you keep around but never use them?
A pencil sharpener (sigh) - a blending tissue (nothing compares to my right index finger, it can crack bricks by now).
Some works from ~PoupeedeChair's gallery:
*RubisFirenos' Artists Features
Some Traditional Works
Medium of the Month : Pencil/Graphite
Special Traditional Artists : Ballpoint
Previous #Traditionalists Articles:
Traditionalists 01 /
We'd like to give a special thank you to our contributors of this article, *Devynn, =jane-beata, and *RubisFirenos for all of their hard work and dedication!
We hope everyone enjoyed this article, it was a blast to put together and we hope to put out many more like this. As always if anyone is interested in contributing to a future article please check out our group #Traditionalists on how to get involved. -Your friendly Trad Art CV Team