Welcome to our Member Spotlight! We are delighted to present Ron L. Oliver from Cali, Valle del Cauca, Colombia.

Ron creates a variety of colorful art, such as abstracts and portraits. To see more of Ron's artwork, visit his gallery: http://community.art-is-fun.com/photo/photo/listForContributor?scre...

When you view his portfolio, be sure to click on the images to view them larger!

Please join us for this interview with Ron:

How would you describe your art?

Personally, I would call my work a collection of whimsies, many are abstracts but I keep coming back to nature for inspiration. That is, I try to have fun with what I am doing and find some balance, on the one hand, yet on the other hand I want some images to be more perturbing, more provocative… like knocking the canary off its roost. I think that many times people need to stop doing what they are mindlessly doing and simply ponder better answers to the questions of life. Ideally, I want to stop the viewer long enough for them to think things out.

How long have you been an artist and how did you become an artist?

I remember first doing portrait drawings in charcoal when I was about twelve. Then I was an art minor in college and had my first exhibition at age 27, which was only a tad successful, but then I worked for nearly a lifetime as a social worker and university professor of counseling, e.g. I researched bullying behaviors and wrote a number of journal articles and co-wrote two books on school bullying prevention (The Bullying Prevention Handbook I & II) and put ¨art¨ on a back burner. I would take it up as needed for both pleasure and emotional survival. Since retiring and for the past three years I have devoted myself to it on a full-time basis. This means I try to work each day at it. However, at first, I took classes in watercolors with Lilia Yepes, a professor at the Institute for Bellas Arts here in Cali, Colombia. I had had so little experience with watercolor and it had been of such long term interest to me that I simply had to learn more. More recently I have been working more with inks and acrylics.

What is your favorite medium and why?

Watercolors are still my favorite. With the addition of glycerine, I have learned that they can become much bolder. But they start out with such fine subtlety… they can be simply beautiful.

Pick one work of art from your Art Colony portfolio and tell us the story behind it. Why does this piece have meaning to you? What steps did you take to create the piece?

The work I called Desplazado, i.e. Spanish for Displaced Person, (shown above) is the most meaningful work I have done in the past year. It features a fellow that had both parents killed by the guerilla in an outlying area and he escaped to Cali for safety and survival. He has been homeless ever since and lives by his wits, i.e. he´s a street person. I also live in Cali, Colombia and have for the past eleven plus years. I ran across this fellow and he willingly posed for the watercolor portrait. As it was my first watercolor portrait I had much fear of messing it up. But, alas, I don´t think I did. It seems to show his personhood, his character. I guess I got lucky. I did a pencil drawing first, then came over in light colors and added the shading and green background as a final step.

Tell us about one medium, technique or style that you would like to try working with (that you have not tried before) and why you would like to try this.

I have some experience working with clay, doing small ceramic pieces, mainly pots, but I have never done figurative sculpture with it, i.e. large pieces. I would dearly love to attempt it, but it is also frightening.

Is there an element of making art that you enjoy the most, and why?

What I enjoy most is seeing how the work has dried the morning of the day after I did it. There is an element of surprise as to how it dried and how that changed the work that is much like a kid hurriedly opening presents under a Christmas tree. I love it.

If you could imagine the “perfect art day” for yourself, what would it be like?

The perfect art day is one where the breathing is easy… simply enjoying the creative process as it develops and ¨going with it¨ … going with the flow, looking for the flow and enjoying it.

If you could spend 24 hours with one artist, living or historical, who would you want to spend the day with and why? What would the two of you do?

There are two artists, both post-impressionists, Paul Gauguin and Vincent Van Gogh that I consider to be tops. They did their work from deep passion and did it all so well. I like the colors Gauguin balances and I like the intensity of Van Gogh´s work. I would spend the morning asking questions, trying to figure out how they think and feel about what they were doing, and spend the afternoon simply watching them work.

Do you have any tips or advice for aspiring artists?

Since I have few clues about the world of art, I have little advice to share. I guess I would tell someone aspiring to art to go to an art center, e.g. NYC, and embed themselves for the long haul toward self- discovery.

Anything else you'd like to mention that I didn't ask?

There needs to be a “How To” book on infiltrating the art world. For example, how does one get ¨found¨ or ¨recognized¨? Connect with galleries and professionals in the field?

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Replies to This Discussion

Congratulations Ron! Enjoyed your interview, and love your colorful art!

Thanks Mary! Much appreciated comments.

Congratulations on your fantastic art and being POTW this past week!! 

Thanks so much!  Glad to hear that you liked them.

Outstanding work and wonderful interview.  Congratulations!

I enjoy your work very much!!!  Love your colours ... vibrant!

Thanks so much!  Glad you like them and glad you let me know.... it made my day.

Marthie Scholer said:

I enjoy your work very much!!!  Love your colours ... vibrant!

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