Interview with Stephen Dinsmore


Neoteric Art: What does “painting” mean to you?

Stephen Dinsmore: Painting for me is the pursuit of translating or transforming something seen or felt into a piece of art that pleases and connects. Painting also honors the medium and its wonderful capabilities.

NA: Describe your work/thought processes when starting a new work.

SD: Often, I think the the toughest part of painting is to find the thing that excites. This involves delving and looking and luck and serendipity and a receptivity that comes and goes. It’s almost a state of grace, finding something that inspires one to paint. I thank the stars regularly.

shrouded_salmon_house.jpgNA: You have studios in Nebraska, Maine and Florida. Do these different environments affect your painting?

SD: Yes, these three environments definitely play a role in what gets painted. The weather; light; subject matter; atmospheric conditions; people and places; seasons; flora and fauna; sounds… All things come into play.

The fall in Nebraska is so beautiful and moving; the migration of birds, too.

In Maine, just about everywhere I turn things seem so wonderful. The smell of the salt air; the sea; the gulls and crows; the weathered buildings.

Florida is more of a work in progress for me. Certainly the water and the birds play a part in what draws me; being able to be outside so much is terrific. I find myself particularly drawn there to corners of town that are somewhat overgrown and hidden.

NA: Do you view painting as a “job” (set schedule, etc.) or do you work only when the moment strikes?

SD: I try to get some painting in most every day. I don’t usually keep a specific schedule but showing up at the studio is so important. Things accrue if I keep showing up.

s6303109.jpgNA: Who are some of your favorite painters?

SD: I admire many painters. Some of these are Henri Matisse, Richard Diebenkorn, Willem de Kooning, Fairfield Porter, Giorgio Morandi, Milton Avery, Edouard Vuillard, Pierre Bonnard…to name a few.

NA: Do you get out to the galleries and museums to see new work of other artist?

SD: I lived in New York nine years. One of the great joys of that time was being able to visit galleries and museums and studios of such high caliber and variety. The Met was my single favorite place to go and be due to its having things ancient and things modern. Plus you could get lunch there!

I certainly still visit galleries and museums wherever I may be. One never knows where the next inspiration will come from; the next urge to paint.

NA: What made you decide to move to (and eventually leave) New York and how was your experience?

SD: I moved to New York to see if I could find my way to becoming a painter. I was really pretty intimidated by the place but some fellow artists convinced me to jump in.

the_ballplayer.jpgIt was a tremendously exciting and inspiring place to be. I made great friends there. I saw such beauty in the bridges and waterfronts and magical light of the city itself.

I also was introduced to and fell in love with the North Fork of Long Island. There I began to paint the land in earnest.

So, eventually I made my way as a painter. Able to sell a bit more and then a bit more until I was able to paint full time and stop working as an art installer and gallery worker.

The access to so many working artists in New York was very helpful and inspiring. New York took the profession of an artist seriously.

But it is an exhausting place, too. I always used to say that it was like suddenly being plugged into AC power after having been living on DC before. The energy and nonstop movement are something. Much is difficult in New York: a frenetic pace; the expense; competition for most everything; masses of people, etc. I miss it very much but after nine years was pretty worn out.

Would love to find a connection there that would allow me to visit a couple weeks a couple times a year. Visit and paint.