Questions for Interview Assignment
- Tell me what influenced you to choose your profession.
I’ve always loved drawing and painting. I was one of those kids that just never stopped making art. After working as a secretary for a lawyer, I knew that wasn’t the career for me. Deciding to go to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts was the perfect decision. Some of my favorite artist’s have studied at the Academy, so it was the obvious choice.
- Has it been what you expected so far? If not, explain.
On the one hand being a full time artist has been harder than I ever thought it would be and on the other hand it’s been an amazing joy filled life. You have to hang in there with the lows and keep on working and evolving your skills and vision. I didn’t realize early on just how much work is involved with creating the paintings, promoting yourself through social media, framing the working, delivering the work and actually selling the work would be. It can be a rollercoaster of highs and lows. I’ve received many awards that have led to travel throughout Europe and visiting some of the worlds best museums, from the Prado in Madrid to the Louvre in Paris. I’ve also attended residencies at the Margo Kelb Dune Shack in Provincetown, MA and at Villa Arrigo in Florence Italy.
- Where do you think your profession is heading? Do you view yourself as influencing your profession?
I see myself exhibiting and getting into better museums and galleries in the future. Yes I do realize that some people in the art world have been watching my evolution as an artist. I feel more committed and confident in my work and am really excited about my new paintings. I’ve pushed my vision onto the next level and have gotten some great feed back from my peers.
|"Earth Energy with Box Turtle" Oil on Canvas 44"x47" Lauren Litwa|
- Is there a philosophy, theory, or framework which guides your practice? Please describe it for me and explain how you use it to guide practice.
Spending consistent time in the studio and working has to be the priority. And when I’m not in my studio, I’m always thinking of solving drawing or color problems in my head. Even in my sleep I come up with new imagery for the next painting. The painting I’m currently working on “Earth Energy with Brook Trout” was directly influenced by a dream. So it’s very interesting to be working through design/layout problems in your head before you even pick up a brush or pencil.
- Tell me about any conflicts between your personal philosophy and the philosophy you use at work.
I have no conflicts between what I’m painting and my personal philosophy. My work is very heart based and personal and reflects my interest in the health of our environment and my love for the outdoors.
- In what ways do you use research in your position? Are you comfortable reading research articles?
My research is looking at the world’s greatest artists and also new younger artists. I never get tired of looking at new artists work or getting inches away from the surface of a Carravaggio or a Wyeth painting to see how they layered on brushstrokes. My research is reading biographies of great artists like Jackson Pollack and Michelangelo. Reading of the struggles and hardships that other artists have experienced helps to put things in perspective. In the end the paintings take on a life of their own. The work should speak for itself.
|"Water Poem I" oil on birch panel 20"x20" Lauren Litwa|
- Tell me about someone who has been (or currently is) a role model for you. How did you find this person? How does this individual help/guide you? Is this person aware that you view him/her as a role model?
My role models were two of my professors at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Will Barnet and Louis Sloan.
Louis Sloan was a wonderful landscape painter and colorist. His paintings of the mountains and skies are truly beautiful. He always shared excellent advice on compositions and color and was truly a great person. He loved going out in nature with his easel and paints and working “pleinair”. He devoted his life to his art and his students. I will always treasure the painting he gave me when he was teaching outdoors at Saunders Woods Preserve in Gladwyne, PA.
Will Barnet spent his entire life painting, he worked every day and lived to be 101. His paintings are elegant and sublime. President Barack Obama awarded him the National Medal of the Arts. He once said “The old masters are still alive after 400 years, and that's what I want to be”. He encouraged me to paint what I see. I admired his work, his kindness and his humility as an exceptional painter and professor.
This is a quote from Will about my paintings. “There is a quality of lyricism in the paintings of Lauren Litwa. She approaches the landscape with a poetic expression and captures a fine sense of light and a dreamlike feel. She uses the sky as a format for her paintings and a sense of spirituality comes through in her new work.”
|"Many New Moons" Oil on Canvas 42"x44" Lauren Litwa|
- How do you use information technology in your work? How has this changed since you entered your profession?
I use the internet to research some of my subject matter. If I want to paint a brook trout and I need to get tiny details of that fish, I can find tons of information to help me out. Early on I didn’t have that option. So in many ways it’s become easier to research. I use creative imagination, dreams, reality and reference materials to create my paintings.
Social media has been a huge asset to getting my work out to a larger audience. It’s great to get feed back on your latest painting. One of the hardest parts of being an artist is that it can be very isolating.
- When you first entered your profession, did you feel welcomed and supported as a novice in the field? How do you view your role with novices currently?
I had some great experiences with people supporting me and my work. I had a fellowship at the Center for Creative Artists in Philadelphia with a wonderful woman named Bebe Benoliel. She supported and promoted young artists and exposed us to collectors who purchased our work. At the time Jamie Wyeth, Will Barnet and Louis Sloan where all on the board of artistic advisors. It led to sales of my work and exhibitions throughout the region. Some of those same collectors have gone on to buy my work throughout my career.
I have had young artists visit my studio, which has led to some great experiences. I love hearing comments from kids at art openings. They really connect to some of my work. I hope I can be a role model for younger artists by consistently painting and exhibiting my own personal point of view. I would advise young people to follow your passion. Be prepared to put the time and energy into your vision. When you’re following your passion you’re truly living. It can take you places you never thought possible.
- Do safety, security, quality, and confidentiality play any role(s) in your current position? Explain.
Using quality materials is important to creating a painting that holds up to the test of time. Pure pigment paints, arches watercolor paper, linen and canvas are used in my work. I want my collectors to know that the best materials were used in creating their painting and hopefully it will last throughout the generations.
|"Shadrach Sky" oil on panel 9"x12" Lauren Litwa|