Interview with Eve Plumb


Neoteric Art: You are a self taught artist. In your opinion, what is the difference between a self taught artist and an artist with training and/or a degree?

Eve Plumb: The difference may be confidence. I often feel like I’m trying to re-invent the wheel, and if I’d had training it wouldn’t take me as long to discover a technique or a medium. I’ve done lots of experimenting, though, and that always teaches me a direction. There seem to be two schools of thought, or at least reactions I’ve gotten when people learn I’m self taught. One is surprise that it can be done, the other, an attitude that schooling is best.

When I say that I’m self taught, it doesn’t mean that I haven’t learned from other artists. I always ask questions about technique or business when I meet an artist I admire, and for the most part they are generous with information. I’ve studied books and magazines and in museums. No one works in a vacuum, and everyone builds on or uses ideas from others. I’ve chosen two fields where it can be tough to make a living, and I am appreciative that it is my acting that often creates interest for my painting. That’s fine with me.

table-for-two-for-web.jpgNA: You sometimes describe your work as “spontaneous still life”. Elaborate…also, why are you drawn to still life painting?

EP: The spontaneous still life phrase came from my deciding to paint moments from my life, which taught me to be on the lookout for interesting light and composition. I chose still life to have a focus, since I was trying many subjects. I needed to restrict the subject matter to better learn how to paint.

NA: Have you ever worked with the figure or abstractly?

EP: I have worked with the figure off and on throughout the years. I ‘ve done paintings of family photos. Lately I’ve been working on two very different series, from movies, both 1950’s westerns and 1940’s-50’s noir. They both involve the figure and faces, which are a challenge! I’m not trying to do portraiture, however, so the faces won’t be recognizable as famous. I’ve tried working in the abstract but just don’t understand it.

NA: Describe your overall painting philosophy.

EP: My philosophy of painting is…I have to think about that. It comes from a willingness to get past the hard parts to the win, which is personal, my own opinion of when the painting is right.

NA: When you say “a willingness to get past the hard parts to the win, which is personal, my own opinion of when the painting is right”…is that a battle concerning technique only or do you battle with the painting from an emotional factor too?

EP: I’d have to say the battle is technique, which creates an emotional situation. When what I’m doing isn’t working, I have to make myself get in there and try again. Sometimes I know that a painting isn’t working and can’t be saved, so I’ll try a completely different technique or color to see what happens. I can’t say that it results in a fabulous painting, but I’ve learned something. Sometimes I go back and do something that does work, and make it better. It’s risky to do this, since sometimes it looks “almost”…but that isn’t right and you have to try to make it the best you know how.

cherries-in-red-bowl-web.jpgNA: You live and work in Laguna Beach. Talk about the Laguna Beach art scene.

EP: Laguna Beach has some good galleries and some bad ones…I know a few artists in town, but don’t work or hang out with any of them. There are a lot of good painters in town, and we have the festivals to support them.

NA: If you had to pick just one of your favorite painters who would that be and why?

EP: I can’t say I have a favorite painter any more than I have a favorite color. I’d have to say I like realism and Impressionism as painting styles, and the past and current artists that work that way.

NA: Do you feel the same creative satisfaction between acting and painting?

EP: I’d have to say that acting and painting are very different creatively and I enjoy doing both. Acting and painting are very different in that painting is all my choice, until they go to the gallery. With acting I have to wait and hope that someone will call. Painting is available all the time.