Welcome to Profile of the Week! We are delighted to present Steven Shipley from Toledo, OH, USA.

Steven creates watercolor portraits and landscapes, pen and ink comics, and more.  To see more of Steven'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 Steven:

How would you describe your art?

Hard to categorize. I would say I’m a Pop artists/cartoonist with a flair for romance and adventure. Is there a name for that? I rarely paint or draw what I see with my eyes, but what I see in my mind. When I illustrate a scene or a person, I imagine what they could  be, rather than what they are. If I wanted a picture of what is, I’d use a camera and not a brush!

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

I became an artist the day I discovered crayons. No turning back after that. Comic books was an early influence. I began making my own comics in my teens. I’ve worked for several independent comic book companies and sold hundreds of cartoons to trade journals, magazines and supermarket tabloids.  I have published my own comic books over the years but that was never a mone-making venture. So most of my life, I rendered my art with pen and ink… until recently.  It was my lovely wife, Hattie, that urged me into painting. She was trying art for the first time in her life and painting with acrylics, so in August of 2014 I took the plunge into watercolor. I never had any formal training. I just grab a brush and try it. I won’t say that watercolor hasn’t been a challenge, but it has been an adventure so far.

What is your favorite medium and why?

My favorite right now is watercolor. Because I am new at it, every painting is fresh and I learn each time I put brush to paper. Also, you never really know what is going to happen. I have always been a control freak with pen and ink, but I have to learn to be free and loose with watercolor paint. It’s all so exciting!

Pick one work of art from your Art Colony portfolio and tell us the story behind it.

My favorite subject is women. Mostly because I’m good at portraying beauty and they are the fairer sex. If you learn to draw the eyes, the rest is easy. I especially like painting and drawing strong women, like jungle women, or super heroines. This piece, Jungle Woman (shown above), with a bow and arrow epitomizes what I like in a finished work of art. The strength and the softness of a female. I was very happy with the end result.This piece started with an attitude I wanted to convey and that is the most important element of my art. The rest is just slapping paint on paper.

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

My favorite part of art is the last brushstroke. The entire process is most enjoyable, but there is a certain satisfaction on completion.

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

The perfect art day follows a night full of awesome dreams. What I dream about often makes its way into my artwork. Also, a distraction-free day would be perfect for art. Work, bills, lawn work and such get in the way of creativity. Some of my best work was born out of snow days.

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?

My favorite artist is Wally Wood. He was a comic book artist from the 40’s thru the 70’s. His work inspired me as a lad and still has an impact on me today. If I could spend one day with him, it of course would involve lots of drawing and art discussion… and pizza… lots of pizza.

Do you have any tips or advice for aspiring artists?

Practice, practice, practice! But don’t just keep doing the same thing over and over. Stretch yourself. Try new things and push the envelope. Take risks. Some artists only paint landscapes because that is within their comfort zone. But we need to step out of our comfort zone and do something new and fresh. It keeps the excitement going. It keeps us from going stale. Try a new medium or a new subject. If you always work indoors, go outdoors. Use a brush you don’t like using. Or switch to pastels or markers. Set goals for yourself.  Discipline goes hand in hand with creativity. Finally, don’t judge your work by what others have done. Judge it by what you have done. Is what you are doing today an improvement over what you did last month or last year? If not, re-evaluate and take steps to improve.

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

I do not have natural talent. But I do have a desire to make art. When I first started drawing, I was told to find another interest, that I wasn’t cut out to be an artist. These negative comments only fueled the fire within me to persevere. Everything I know now and every painting or drawing I produce comes from sweat and toil, not from natural talent. I believe that anyone can achieve anything if they want it bad enough and work hard enough. If no one ever saw my work, I would still produce art. I’ve made money with my art, but if I never made a dime, I would still make art. That’s what makes me an artist. That’s who I am!

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Congratulations Steven! I enjoy the variety of your pieces!

Very nice! I love your work!

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