RMMW: Have you ever been creatively blocked? If yes, how did you overcome it?
SS: It’s rare that I ever have creative block… in my opinion it’s the same as being bored and that literally never happens to me. I am never bored. I spend a lot of time looking at other people’s artwork and I have a huge collection of drawing ideas that I started in high school and add to on almost a daily basis. It consists of magazine clippings of images that inspired me or photos and/or screenshots of inspirational things that I see when I’m out or online.
For fun, I sometimes like “draw this in your style” challenges on Instagram. That takes the pressure off the composition part of a piece on days I just feel like throwing something together quick.
My brain is overflowing with ideas but, if hypothetically I did have creative block, I would just start drawing whatever is around me and within a short time I would have an idea of a composition.
RMMW: We all must contend with an inner critic, how do deal with yours?
SS: I learned a while ago that being hard on myself doesn’t serve me… above everything, I draw and paint because it makes me happy and some people are going to like my work and some people aren’t. As long as I like what I have done, then great! Everyone is different and that’s they way it should be. I believe there is a place for me and for what I do here. If I start comparing myself to the millions of incredible artists out there it will start robbing me of the joy it brings me. I don’t want to feel that way, so I admire their work and then move on to my own. I know that every year my skills do improve… when I start to get hard on myself, I look at what I have accomplished and its motivating for me.
RMMW: Do you have any artist rituals before starting a new piece?
SS: If using the bathroom before sitting down to work can be called a ritual haha.. otherwise no.
RMMW: What is your favourite artist\’s tool? And why?
SS: My water brush! Before I discovered this handy tool I did the typical dip my brush in water and then the Watercolours but with the water brush I can control how much water goes into the pigment and I swear it saves time. Also, its so much cleaner and handier! I don’t have to bring out a cup of water whenever I want to paint, so in airplanes or at the beach, I can just paint without making a mess. Brilliant!
SS: Usually with an idea or a mood. If I’m in a good mood I ooze happiness and then want to draw something happy, and when I’m depressed then that will show in my work too. The idea will often times be from prompt words I give myself or find online. For a couple years I would make myself 52 week drawing prompts lists and draw according to the list each week. One word each week for a year …Then for example this month is May so I’m following a #mermay2020 prompt list that I found. Sometimes it’s an image of a person that catches my eye and I’m like “I love her face, I want to draw her” so I set her face into a scene of some kind.
RMMW: Do you make your own stretched canvas frames or purchase the premade ones?
SS: I have never stretched a canvas in my life and unless I start doing really big pieces, I will probably buy them. I haven’t painted on canvas for a very long time. I usually use water colour paper and most of my pieces are no bigger than 11 x 15”. I like to keep my pieces small because of my busy schedule I often bring my work home and I will work on the same piece for a week whenever or wherever I can. So sometimes I’m working on it when I’m at the bike park with my kids or at the beach or at lunch or in my bed… I like having the transportability of my sketchbook and water paints and water-brush …then I can work whenever I can and want to. Canvas painting would limit me to my studio.
RMMW: At what age did you start painting? What was the catalyst?
SS: I started drawing when I was 2 or 3…I loved watching my mom draw and paint. But then in high school I started using acrylics and loved the way they felt. I used acrylics for along time then went into coloured pencil because it was easier to transport, then watercolour has stolen the show in my world over the last few years. They are fast, portable and I love how relaxing they are to play with.
RMMW: I\’ve been scrolling through your Instagram for like the last 15 minutes. All of your paintings pop with colour & delicious details — how do you select your colour palette for a piece?
SS: Colour is important to me… when I get to a part of the picture where I’m questioning what colour to make it, I literally go through the colours of the rainbow in order in my head… ”red, orange, yellow, green …” …so lets say it’s a dress that needs a colour…if the painting already has a lot of red or it doesn’t have the contrast of the neighbouring colours enough or just doesn’t feel right, then I scratch red and move onto orange , if that doesn’t feel right then I go to yellow and so on until I decide on the colour to use. I pretty much use that method every time.
RMMW: Do you have a favourite piece that you\’ve painted that you would deem to be your favourite?
SS: Hmmm I don’t think that I do… each time I start a new piece I declare to myself, “this is going to be the best one I ever made!” Ha-ha…then either it is or I do something that I don’t like and then I declare it of the next one. I do think that I have a top 5-10 though for different reasons. Some of my favourites are
Playing Koi, Euphorically Deserted, Good Hair Daze, Autumn, Family and Getting Ready… (those are all on my website). I can’t wait to see what my new favourites will be as this year goes on.
I’m surprised at how each one turns out because they rarely go as planned and most don’t even really have a plan.
SS: Ha-ha I detest oil painting though I might take it up sometime when I have more patience. I only used it briefly in college and quickly decided it wasn’t for me.
I use water-colour mostly and I sometimes use acrylic on top of dried watercolour if I need solid colour somewhere. I often use acrylic white at the end to make things pop or posca paint pens (pretty sure those are acrylic). Koi Watercolours and Prisma colour coloured pencils are my favourite combination. The pencil on top of the dry paint works nice for shading.
RMMW: If you had your choice of Art Gallery to display your art where would be your dream place to showcase an exhibit of your pieces?
SS: I have no idea! But I do have a fantasy of having work in New York somewhere so that I can take a trip to New York. Honestly, I would just be honoured to have my work put up in a gallery period! Ha!
RMMW: What emotions does painting or drawing bring out in your while you create?
Absolute peace and bliss! There is nothing, other than exercise that makes me feel more calm and grounded. When I get into my zone, its instant happy. I suppose that’s a sign that its what I was meant to do. I don’t find it challenging and I feel completely in sink with what is right in the world when I’m creating. My family can attest that when I don’t create for a number of days, I am much more edgy and its time for mom to go draw.
RMMW: If you had a superpower what would it be?
SS: If I had a superpower it would be teleportation. I adore travelling, and its something I can never get enough of. To pop myself into any environment whenever I felt like it would be the ultimate!