Artspan sits down with water color artists Louise De Masi.
Your work seems more defined than many watercolors—with more detail and harder edges. How do you achieve this effect?
I am a lover of detail. I seek order and I like everything to be neat and tidy. I suppose my art reflects that part of my personality. It’s difficult for me to be loose and free. I worked for a long time in acrylic paint and I produced highly detailed paintings. Watercolor is a new medium for me. I have only been using it for a few years.
To achieve a more defined look I prefer to use Hot pressed paper. It’s smoother and allows me to add lots of layers to achieve greater detail. I use a larger brush to paint the initial washes but then I switch to smaller, finer brushes to achieve the detail that I am after.
I’ve decided that one of the five questions will always be from the Proust Questionnaire, and here is yours…Who are Your favorite heroines in real life?
My favorite heroine is Dr. Jane Goodall. I admire her for all of her work on conservation and animal welfare. She works tirelessly to protect chimpanzees and their habitats. She campaigns against the use of animals in medical research, factory farming and sport. Her compassion for animals and respect for the environment is to be greatly admired and she is a lady I would love to meet.
You have a big Facebook following for your art. Do you use Facebook as a marketing tool? Any tips on how to make it work for other artists?
I use Facebook to promote my latest work. I post a lot of photos of works in progress so that my followers can see my process. A lot of people enjoy seeing how the painting unfolds. I enjoy reading the comments people write about my paintings and sometimes, after an unfruitful day, when I am feeling a little down, someone will write a beautiful comment that picks me back up again. It’s motivating to know I have an audience who enjoy looking at my art.
I believe it’s important to sell yourself not your artwork. I like to connect with my followers. I like to share painting tips with them, to talk to them, ask them questions and respond to their comments and questions. I want them to get to know me, the artist, as a person. It’s social media so I use it to be social as much as possible.
Your work includes quite a few exotic animals and plants. It makes me want to travel! Do you travel frequently, and if not, what do you use as source material for your work?
Oh how I wish! No I haven’t travelled a lot. I have a trip to Africa on my bucket list though. I take a lot of my own photographs. I go to zoos and wildlife sanctuaries as often as I can. I also take my camera to parks where there are water features so I can photograph the birds there. I am also very lucky to have met some wildlife photographers online from all around the world. If I see a photo I love I contact the photographer and ask for their permission to paint it. I always credit the photographer if I publish the painting online. There are also some wonderful sites that I use where I can pay for a subscription to download photos and use them in my work.
What sort of conditions do you like to work in? Do you listen to music? Do you have a studio? Do you set aside certain times to work?
I have a beautiful big, light filled studio space in my home in Coffs Harbour, but at the moment I am living in a small apartment in Sydney. My husband and I made a temporary move to Sydney for work. I have my painting table crammed into a tiny little space in the apartment. I have paintings leaning up against walls and paints in cardboard boxes on the floor. It’s not ideal but at least I have somewhere to paint.
I need to listen to music when I paint. It takes me to a place in my head where it’s just me, the music and the paint. I love to listen to Tony Oconnor, an Australian instrumental musician. I paint almost every day. Sometimes you will find me at my painting table at 7.00 in the morning. I usually paint until about 8.00 at night or at least until my eyes can take no more. I have regular breaks through the day. Painting is tiring and I often need to get away from it for a few hours and do some work on the computer instead.