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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Mark Mehaffey. Interview

Nationally recognized artist Mark E. Mehaffey is a signature member of the National Watercolor Society, the American Watercolor Society; DF, Transparent Watercolor Society of America; Signature Life member-Master Status, Watercolor West and the Rocky Mountain Watermedia Society, and Louisiana Watercolor Society Signature Life Member.

Fist question is about your relationship with the watercolor medium. How important is it for you?
My first love was watercolor and even though I now work in mixed water media and acrylic I continue to do most work in transparent watercolor. I started painting when I was a child of 10 and have never stopped. I will die with a brush in my hand.

Mark Mehaffey. Taos Shadows II, 21x29"

What is your source of inspiration?
One painting precipitates another. The act of painting, the process always leads to another idea and that leads to another. I could live three life times and never get all the painting I have in my head done.

Mark Mehaffey. Contemplation. 21x25"

Do you make a sketch before you start painting?
If I am doing representational work then I always arrange shapes, assign value based on a center of interest as a small compositional study done in graphite in my sketchbook. I then paint from my sketch.

Mark Mehaffey. Museum Morning. 30x22"

Do you have a complete plan of all the stages of your work in advance?
When working in a realist fashion I do have a vision of the completed painting in my head before begin. I follow my plan but do not feel so locked into my plan that I cant go where the painting needs to go.

Mark Mehaffey. Construction on 48th

Do you work with reference photos or more based on life impressions?
Both...if I have time I draw on site or work from a model. If I dont have time, like a lot of Artists I work from reference photos. I take thousands and have become a decent photographer....but a photograph lacks life and it is the Artists job to bring that reference to life so that there is a connection with the viewer.

Mark Mehaffey. Sky Jack. 21x29"

Your paintings are quite saturated. Do you use some media or you have the whole process in your mind?
Saturated color is played off neutralized color and neutrals. If I need an area to be dark or very intense I am not afraid to use very saturated color.

Mark Mehaffey. Waiting. 21x29"

The details of your painting are quite selective. According to which criteria do you drop details in your painting?
How much can you leave out and still tell the visual story? Lots...and I always think less is more. Give the viewer something to do...dont give them all the information.

Mark Mehaffey. Taos Shadows I. 21x21"

Do you use some color theory?
I use a split primary palette, a warm and a cool of each a few favorites. With these few colors I can make all the specific hues I might need.

Mark Mehaffey

What is more important for you: the contrast in values or the contrast in colors?
When I work in a realist mode then value is of most important...when I am working in a non objective/abstract fashion then I use color contrast more often.

Mark Mehaffey. Shanghai Allee.

Which attitude is closer to you – reflection or interpretation?
Id like to say reflection...but it really is interpretation. I see, assess, internalize then the best of my ability.

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