We are beginning a series of blog posts that will introduce each of our M & M Mixed Media Art Group members over the next several months. We’d like you to gain insight into their favorite studio practices, techniques and tools, as well as their artistic vision. The first to be introduced is Doug Tomlinson. Doug lives in Harrisburg PA and is an active member of the M & M’s. Doug is also a vital part of the webmaster team for this website. He is an excellent mixed media and encaustic artist and we are sure you will gain some insight by reading Doug’s interview:
Meet Doug Tomlinson
1) How do you describe yourself as an artist?
I am intrigued by abstract art and modern design. I think the most interesting thing about abstract art is how simplistic it can look on the surface, but how challenging it can be to create a wonderful piece. As an artist, I find that I am constantly looking to create something different. Once I find something I like and create a few pieces in that style, I am ready to move on. I think often times you can tell the artist as soon as you look at one of their paintings. When this happens, I think that the painting becomes less “abstract.” I enjoy the idea that someone looking at one of my pieces may not know the creator until they look at the name of the artist.
2) Where do you create your art?
I do a lot of painting in my home. Although, space is limited and the mess created by art supplies can be a challenge and frustration at times. I also enjoy taking various art classes to experiment with different mediums and learn from excellent artists. I find that classes help to keep me excited about art and always wanting me to create something new and interesting.
3) What is your favorite medium?
My favorite medium can change depending on whether I recently created something that I really like. I think encaustic is the most fun to work with, but it requires a higher level of ventilation than my existing art space can support. I’m looking forward to a cold wax class in a few weeks, so check back with me after that and my favorite medium may have changed.
4) What are your favorite tools?
The palette knife is my favorite tool. I love the way paint flows off of it, the lines you can create using it, and the ease of wiping it clean and quickly choosing another color. I recently began experimenting with objective abstract and doing an entire painting with a palette knife. I just enjoy the thought of completing a painting without the use of a brush.
5) What motivates you to be creative?
I think the best motivation for creativity is being around creative people. The M&M Group brings that to the highest level with the amount of talent I am surrounded by on a constant basis. Also, the emotion that you get from looking at amazing abstract art work in museums, on television, in a restaurant, or any place triggers the desire to be creative. I now find myself thinking about abstract pieces and wanting to find ways to turn the image in my head into reality so others can enjoy it as well.
6) Can you describe your medium and style?
As I previously mentioned, I like to think my style is ever changing. I’m an engineer by trade, so I’m always fighting the tendency to create with too much structure. My favorite pieces always seem to be the ones I create without a preconceived notion of the final product. I like to try different mediums and paint on different surfaces to add elements that change the game and help me to create something unique each time.
7) Describe your dream studio or creative space:
The space itself would be modern and interesting in design. It would be large enough that I could have multiple pieces underway at the same time. Some pieces would be horizontal on tables; others would be vertical on easels. I would be able to move around between them and let the creativity from one spark ideas for the others. The space would have an indoor/outdoor feeling with trees and sunlight, and have a nice breeze flowing through it. One side would have a view of the ocean. The other side a view of the mountains. The walls would be filled with creative inspiration and amazing art work. Everything would be designed in a way that opens the senses and makes it easy to be creative.
8) Do you have a favorite technique that you use a lot in your work?
I like to start paintings by scrapping paint across the surface with a palette knife. You can get some really amazing color blends and it gives you an excellent starting base. For this technique, I prefer materials like Yupo or wood which have a smooth surface as compared to canvas. I just really enjoy watching the painting come to life as the paint glides across the once blank surface.
9) How did you get into this type of art?
I’ve always loved abstract. So, a few years ago I decided it was time to stop looking at it and start creating it. I began with a class to learn some of the basics and off I went. Since then, I’ve never stopped talking classes. I think it’s a good idea to take one every few months to learn something new and to gain a new perspective.
10) What are your favorite things about your work?
I love the variation in my work. I also love it when I create a piece that I like enough to hang in my own house and look at every day. I tend to be very critical about art and design, so creating a piece that I really enjoy makes it twice as exciting.
11) What artists do you relate to?
I love being around passionate people. It doesn’t matter if they are passionate about painting, photography, music, or something as simple as striving to make the perfect pizza. Passionate artists tend to be excited to talk about their work, exchange ideas, and ignite the creative vibe. I try to be an individual with my art so I want to learn techniques wherever I can. Another great thing about the M&M Group is the diversity of art styles and types. And, the one thing all the artists have in common is passion.
12) What are your goals for the future of your art?
I see art work from artists that I consider to be amazing. I look at the techniques they use, the depth of composition in the painting, and the level of creativity that went into making the piece. When I see this, it makes me want to improve. So, possibly one day, other artists can look at my work and think the same thing.
You can view more art by Doug Tomlinson on his page by clicking here. Doug actively exhibits with the M & M Mixed Media Art Group.