INTERVIEW with LORI MCNEE
LOCATION: Sun Valley, Idaho
CAREER: Artist, Art Blogger, Social Media Influencer
HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE OF PAINTING?
My broad spectrum of work includes still life, landscape, and plein air oil painting. Most of my still life arrangements usually include birds or butterflies and are inspired by the Dutch Master techniques. My landscape paintings range from plein air paintings to studio works reminiscent of the Hudson River School, and Luminist painters. Recently, I have even added encaustic wax paintings to my repertoire. This medium is harder to control, so the paintings are more abstract in nature. I am enjoying the challenge!
WHEN DID YOU DECIDE PAINTING WAS GOING TO BE AN INTEGRAL PART OF YOUR LIFE?
My parents said I was born with a paint brush in my hand. I have always loved to draw and paint. It all started when I was a little girl, I would save injured birds and nurse them back to health. Sometimes, I would try to catch the birds that flocked to our yard. Out of frustration, I finally decided to capture the birds on paper with a pencil. I have been drawing and painting birds and nature ever since! In fact, today you can see birds in most of my still life and nature paintings.
Although I majored in Art is college, I still consider myself self-taught. I learned how to draw very well from my high school teacher, but in college, the curriculum was geared toward abstract art. As an aspiring realistic painter, I felt very frustrated with this and almost abandoned art as a career. It wasn’t until I was married with children that I decided to try my hand at art again. I started painting during their naptimes. My art gave me back a piece of myself that was lost. From then, I went on to apprentice with Master artists: Robert Bateman, John Seerey-Lester, Carl Brenders, Guy Coheleach, Scott Christensen and Jo Anna Arnett to name a few.
HOW HAS YOUR WORK EVOLVED OVER THE YEARS?
I first began my professional art career as a wildlife artist and illustrator. During this time I painted and illustrated for Ducks Unlimited, The Nature Conservancy, The Wolf Education Research Center, various duck and trout stamps and a few books. From there I began painting still life and landscape paintings. I am always stretching myself and experimenting with new techniques and mediums, therefore my work is always evolving.
DO YOU FIND MOST PAINTERS STRUGGLING WITH ANY ONE SPECIFIC PROBLEM? IF SO, WHAT IS IT AND WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO OVERCOME IT?
I work with a lot of amateur artists, and I do see a few common ‘problems’ among them. Poor drawing skills top the list of problems. These well-meaning painters should spend more time with a pencil than a brush. Poor color mixing is another common problem. These painters get so excited about all the colors, they often end up making mud, or else they use the paint directly out of the tube. I suggest keeping to a limited palette until color mixing is proficient. With all that said, I believe ‘patience’ is the biggest problem for struggling painters – “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. ;)
CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR VERY POPULAR 'FINE ART TIPS' BLOG?
Besides being a painter, I am also an art blogger. I began blogging in 2009 as a way for me to share my artistic knowledge with others. I wanted to ‘give’ something back to my art community, and blogging was the perfect opportunity.
During this time, I joined Twitter and Facebook where I began to share my blog posts. I had no idea just how popular FineArtTips.com would become, and at the same time I have become a social media influencer – and became one of the Top 100 Women on Twitter! This has all happened by accident! I am an artist who blogs, and I have to be mindful not to become a blogger who paints!
Blogging and social media have literally changed my life. I have built real, valuable relationships with people from all over the world inside and out of the art industry – I even went to Hollywood and tweeted at the Emmy’s this year! In fact, the boys at New Wave asked to interview me here today because of our authentic friendship made through FineArtTips.com – and for that I am truly honored.
FineArtTips.com has grown into a semi-collaborative blog where I also share interesting tips and articles by guest artists.http://www.finearttips.com/contact-me/submit-your-guest-article/
DO YOU HAVE ANY EXCITING NEW PROJECTS OR UPCOMING SHOWS?
I have a very busy year ahead of me. Right now I am painting for my February show at Kneeland Gallery in Sun Valley. I will be showcasing my new series of encaustic wax bird paintings alongside the amazing sculptures by Greg Woodard, and paintings by Steven Lee Adams and Shanna Kunz. Later in February, I’ll be heading up to Montana for the Russell show with Dana Gallery. I have a few more shows later in 2014.
As an ambassador artist for Royal Talens, I will be traveling and demonstrating with Cobra oil paints. I am demonstrating and speaking at the 2014 Plein Air Convention in Monterey, and also at the Oil Painters of America National Exhibition in Vermont. I'll be teaching a few workshops in 2014, and I am writing a book with F & W Media/North Light Books that should be out in 2015! WE HAVE TO ASK... WHAT IS YOUR NEW WAVE PALETTE OF CHOICE?
I love the handcrafted quality of the Grand View Confident
. The mid-size Grand View Confidant is perfect for my 5′ 5″ frame. It is comfortable, has a functional design for numerous styles of painting, and has plenty of mixing room. But while working with encaustics, the Grey Pad
disposable palettes are extra handy. Now, I don’t have to worry about the wax ruining my beautiful wooden palette.