Q & A: Dawn Winter
Updated: Jan 22
Mark your calendars!
On January 23rd from 6-9pm, we are hosting a "Discover Your Creative Side", workshop at my studio!
This workshop is designed to help students let go of the stresses that obstruct our ability to create freely. Click here to sign up for her class.
Get some more insight on Dawn's creative process through our Q & A with her.
What does your typical process look like from start to finish when you
create a painting?
Generally speaking, I have an image in my mind that is based on my current
temperament, images/recollections of nature, or random influences. These influences may be as simple as color combinations I see while out for a walk, while shopping, etc.…truly random! Upon setting out all my supplies and with some planning (but not a lot), I begin by painting my first layer. From that point forward, my approach to the painting can be fairly random. I truly enjoy the intuitive process and letting the painting determine its outcome. I keep in mind my original image, yet I prefer a free-flowing process.
The sensation of using the palette knife and it’s effects with the acrylic paint is satisfying…I
would even say addictive! When I’m struggling with a painting, I’ve learned to step away, let
it rest and return later when I’m less frustrated. Since I paint on a horizontal surface, I will
eventually hang the painting on my studio wall in order for me to observe as this can make
a huge difference! When I feel that the painting is complete, I will paint the edges, varnish
and add my signature.
I read that you didn’t get into abstract painting until your early 40’s. How
were you able to break into the art industry?
When I was in my early 40’s, I painted as a hobby for a short while. It was a trip to
Santa Fe, NM that had inspired me to pursue this hobby. I noticed art in places such
as coffee shops and began asking if I could do the same. That experience turned into further
conversations with other artists. I was encouraged to enter a juried contest and did that on a
whim. I placed in the contest which led to selling my paintings with the Austin Art Garage.
Then…truly, through meeting other artists and learning from their experiences, submitting
my work to art shows, perseverance, and the enjoyment from trying out this new career,
one thing led to another! I found it took that perseverance and stepping out of my comfort
zone, which ultimately, is a good thing for anyone to do!
What did it feel like to sell your first piece?
It was both thrilling and confidence-building. At the time, I was showing my work with
the Quacks Bakery. I was also going through a significant life transition (divorce) and the
fact that a collector reached out to purchase a painting truly meant the world to me. I used
that experience as encouragement to continue seeking other locations to display my work.
What has been your greatest achievement in your artistic career?
There have been several opportunities in which I would have never dreamed of such
as my artwork being displayed on several HGTV shows and several prints available with
Anthropologie. Incredible! Only a few years earlier, I’d been experimenting with paints,
mediums and figuring out where to purchase supplies!
What has been your biggest challenge?
As thrilling as having artwork available as shared above, the biggest challenge for
myself is pushing through my self-doubts to continue seeking additional opportunities. This
does not happen naturally for me and let’s just say it’s been an opportunity for personal
growth! I’ve met that challenge by setting goals and avoiding comparing myself to others.
What drives you to keep creating?
It’s too satisfying to consider NOT painting. I love the feeling of the palette knife
moving back and forth against the canvas. It’s quite satisfying. I know I’m in my “zone” when
I’m painting and not thinking about the process but just letting the process take care of itself.
Life is full of so many tedious details and painting temporarily takes me away from life’s
responsibilities. Occasionally, life events take precedence or I take a break from painting.
However, soon enough, I find myself back in my studio playing with my paints.
Which of your paintings gives you the most pride/satisfaction and why?
There are times when paintings come together without too much effort as I must
have been in the right frame of mind while painting. Others require more effort and also
more letting go of the thinking process. Ultimately, these are my favorite paintings as they
serve as a reminder to an important life lesson: don’t overthink everything. “Fire and Ice” is a
favorite painting of mine that was initially frustrating to me. I let it hang on a wall for several
months trying to think what it needed. Then I spontaneously decided to paint streaks and
texture across the middle of the painting and within 15 minutes I knew it was finished. For
this reason (and I love the colors, texture and movement within the painting!), “Fire and Ice”
remains one of my favorites.
Do you think that creativity is innate or learned? Explain.
I think we all have the ability to create. I think creativity looks different with each
person. For some people, it may be writing code to create a website or otherwise. For
others, it’s a way in which someone expresses themselves through music, words, poetry,
etc. For others, creativity can manifest itself through problem-solving such as repairing a
broken down appliance. Creativity, to me, involves some sort of process to get from point A
to point B. So, if it’s solving a mechanical issue or creating a painting, creative methods can
be applied. However, that being said, I feel as if creativity can be discovered and/or
enhanced through exposure to new information, new techniques and an openness to
What do you hope to achieve through your workshop?
I remember my experiences when I began painting. It was thrilling and I was excited
to act on a “nudge” that had continued with me after my trip to Santa Fe, NM. I also felt
overwhelmed with all of the available art supplies, etc., etc. It was partly energizing and
partly overwhelming. I am hoping to share that excitement of embracing something new
with others. And, to encourage others to experiment, to remain open to new ideas and for
others to encourage themselves to persevere and see what happens with their own
individual creative explorations. I also want to share some helpful tips about the many art
supplies that are available…this is important...and so is the pure glee from listening to one’s
own “nudge” and seeing where that path leads.
Love Dawn just as much as we do? Click the photo below for more details on her workshop this January 23rd from 6-9p.m.