IDENTITY Method: Degrees of Separation- Judy Nimtz

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IDENTITY Method: Degrees of Separation
Darlene Campbell, Kenny Harris, F. Scott Hess, Ira Korman, Judy Nimtz, Sarah Perry, Robert Schultz & Peter Zokosky

July 7 – August 27, 2016
Opening Reception: July 7, 2016: 6 – 8 pm

Method: Degrees of Separation, the second of three IDENTITY exhibitions, highlights the art process with a special appreciation of historical methods within a voice of haptic ways of seeing. The featured artists come from various points of view—conceptually, pictorially, and aesthetically—yet collectively they share a deep dedication to creating artwork by way of a traditional method. In curator Eleana Del Rio’s words “Tradition by way of ‘method’ – stated loosely – is the exhibition’s topic.”

Artist interview #47: Judy Nimtz- Part 2

JpaintingForIdentity

1. What is your ideal working environment? – space, music, lighting, etc.
I work best in a clean, organized studio.  I prefer natural, indirect light but I don’t only work during the day so I’ve figured out how to position my studio lighting to augment and replicate natural light enough for me to work when it’s dark.  Unless I’m painting plein-air I almost always have music playing — it serves two purposes and is very important – 1) if there is a certain mood I’m trying to convey or that I want to be in while I’m working I’ll make sure I listen to the appropriate music or audio books, and 2) when it’s silent my mind wanders too much to things not pertaining to art such as paying bills.

2. Is there a specific motivator in getting you into the studio? – after morning news? coffee? after family is asleep at night?
I’m most productive in the mornings and daytime.  I try to end my painting work day by dinner, but when necessary I’ll paint anytime really.  Whenever I do a new photo shoot I’m reinvigorated and can’t wait to get into the studio.

3. What is your preferred medium?  Do you work on one project at a time or several?
I primarily work in oils.  I’m usually working on more than one painting at a time and also smaller studies in preparation for future paintings.  Because of this I make extensive notes on each painting to help me keep track of what I’m doing on the different paintings.

4. Is there anything you would like to share as personal interests outside of the studio – outdoor activity, cooking, reading, museum/gallery hopping?
Spend time with my husband, who is also an artist.  Physical fitness and health is important to me in general and painting can be fairly physical at times so I try to keep myself strong.  I love watching movies and discussing them, reading, cooking, having a glass of wine with friends, spending time in the yard.  My husband and I travel quite a bit, usually turning each trip into a painting adventure!

5. In what way is your work a reflection of “tradition by way of ‘method’”?
I consider myself a fairly traditional oil painter and my methods traditional too.  I’ve actively sought out historical pigments (lead tin yellow, vermillion, lead white) but am also not a slave to the idea of using only them — one of the main pigments for my figures is cobalt violet.  I build up my flesh colors in indirect, transparent layers, which is a method used for centuries.

6. With the examples of your work represented in IDENTITY Method- Degrees of Separation, are there any anecdotal notes that may give insight into your artist vision to a new viewer?
As I’m answering this question I’m thinking about through lines connecting early influences with my current work.  I’m a hapa haole (half Asian and half Caucasian) raised in Hawai’i by my Chinese mother.  I am of two cultures—I grew up with Chinese art at home and fell in love with Victorian literature.  I find there is a similarity between the sacrifices in Chinese heroic stories and the sacrifices of the social norms of Victorian society. The stories of Jane Austen and Emily Brontë influenced me as a youth, evoking the windy, stormy, grey moors of England.  I’m drawn to these themes of heart-crushing personal sacrifice and loss–quiet, unseen strength–in all art forms: music, literature, film, art.

Though my work is not narrative, these underlying ideas of contemplative resilience swirl around me as I work.  I let them infuse my mindset while composing and executing my paintings.

I do my photo shoots on bright sunny days, with my figures on lava rock in Hawai’i or on rocks here in Southern California.  The nature of Hawaiian lava rock, which is both very hard and a viscous liquid, parallels how I think of the figures in my paintings.  Often dancers, they are graceful and fleshy but also strong and marblesque.  Above all else, I love painting the figure.  I love the feeling of my brush sculpting the forms on the panel, the drag of the paint revealing the muscles and flesh.

Compositionally the environments have been stripped down to simply a figure on bare rock.  This distils the image to the essentials of the moment.  I now see the early influence of the Chinese calligraphy and landscapes scrolls in my childhood house.  These spare compositions meld with my love of the tight vertical framing of Byzantine altarpieces and the 19th century Victorian painters such as Albert Moore.

“Observing Observing (a white cup): Judy Nimtz”

With each exhibition, we will post interviews with the participating artists along with a photo of said artists in their studios and images of their work. In the future, we will post videos of artist interviews.

“Observing Observing (a white cup)” opens September 12th and continues through October 31, 2015

Curated by Eric Elliott, Michael Howard & Norman Lundin. More than twenty artists (both gallery artists and not) accepted the invitation to submit work.

Reception for the artists, Sept. 12, 2 – 4 pm

Artist Interview #18: Judy Nimtz

BioPic

1. How did you respond to the idea of the white cup?

I was excited about the challenge. How do I make the white cup personal and interesting to me? At first I had some pretty complex ideas but in the end chose a cup that I wanted to spend time with – my husband’s favorite coffee mug, which has a glaze finish I love. It’s organic and uneven; you can see the terra cotta clay showing through in areas. Painting the mug, mentally caressing it, ‘feeling’ the undulations was similar to painting one of my figures.

2. Are you a full time artist, if not how do you support your art?

I am a full time artist. Over the years I have supplemented my art income with various project-based jobs.

3. When did you consider yourself an artist?

I’ve always considered myself an artist but as an adult wasn’t comfortable saying it to others until my first solo exhibition.

4. What are your influences?

19th century academic artists, Pre-Raphaelites, artists of the Renaissance period, various fantasy artists, books, music, travel, being out in nature – in particular I get inspired by rainy, grey, stormy weather, and large rocks.

5. How big is your studio, what kind of lighting?

My studio is in our garage, approximately 250 sq ft. I prefer natural light and have a diffused skylight, but I also have various spot and fluorescent lights that allow me to paint at night or control the light as needed.

6. What is a typical day in the studio like for you? Do you listen to music, radio or tv in your studio?

I try to get into the studio early, I feel I’m most productive in the mornings and daytime, but I’ll paint anytime really. I typically paint for about 5 hours, and will also work in my office on my computer figuring out compositions and doing Photoshop manipulation. I listen to a combination of NPR, music, and audio books. What I listen to is pretty important, if there is a certain mood I’m trying to convey or that I want to be in while I’m working I’ll make sure I listen to the appropriate music or audio books. I almost never work in silence; my mind wanders too much to things not pertaining to art if I do.

7. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?

I primarily work in oils. I’m usually working on more than one painting at a time and also smaller studies in preparation for future paintings. Because of this I make extensive notes on each painting to help me keep track of what I’m doing on the different paintings.

8. Do you have any special or unique tools, devices or process that you use in your art making?

Reference photo shoot

For my figure paintings I work from photo references I’ve taken. I’m not interested in copying the photo and will do a bit of Photoshop manipulation to them before moving on to making the studies. I often paint from a black and white image because I’m more interested in values than the color information in the photos. For about 10 years now I’ve been using a computer monitor for my references instead of printing the image. This allows me to zoom in or out as needed as well as enables me to manipulate an image while I’m painting. I like to think I’m saving a few trees in the process.

9. What do you do outside the studio, aside from a job?

Spend time with my husband, who is also an artist. Physical fitness and health is important to me in general and painting can be fairly physical at times so I try to keep myself strong. Recently I’ve begun swimming laps, and getting in the water a few times a week also helps ease my homesickness a little (I’m from Hawai’i). I love watching movies and discussing them, reading, cooking, having a glass of wine with friends, spending time in the yard. My husband and I travel quite a bit, usually turning each trip into a painting adventure!

"Caffè", 2015, oil on panel, 9 3/8 x 7"

“Caffè”, 2015, oil on panel, 9 3/8 x 7″