Profile of the Week: John Andreou (posted March 26, 2012)

Welcome to Portfolio of the Week. We are delighted to present John Andreou, from Torfaen, United Kingdom. An artist with a terrific talent for capturing character, John's fun sense of humour often shines through in his work or in his wacky artwork titles.

Please visit John's page to see more of his artwork. When you view John's portfolio, be sure to click "View Full Size" below each piece or artwork to see it larger! http://community.art-is-fun.com/photo/photo/listForContributor?scre...

Join us now for this fascintating interview with John:

How would you describe your art?

This is a difficult one straight away. I am just a hobby artist and until the past year I have been very hit and miss.  I always had a bit of a knack for drawing, but I always wanted to learn to paint.  I went to art classes for two years, about ten years ago, but felt I was never going to be able to paint well at all.  

I got depressed with it and packed it up for quite a few years until I saw the art instruction program on the Painting & Drawing Channel. I bought a few DVDs and books and learned more that way than I did by going to classes. I enjoyed the humour of the art classes but I felt very inferior as an artist while I was attending.

How long have you been an artist?

I still don't really consider myself to be an artist. I stopped and started so many times, and except for a bit of a talent for drawing, I wasn't very good at it at all.

Back last April I joined an art site on-line similar to this one. I posted a few paintings and had quite a lot of support and encouragement from so many of the members. It quickly built up to many valued friendships. One particular artist produced some beautiful graphite drawings and he inspired me to pick up the pencils again, but now I am worried about losing my ability to paint. I just wish I had more time. Although I have enjoyed drawing ever since I was a child, it is only in the last year that I have really stuck at it with art.

What is your favorite medium and why?

I always wanted to be able to paint well with watercolours. I found it difficult and actually got depressed while attending the classes. I still am not able to really get into it as I would like. But since going back to graphite drawing over about the last 8–9 months, I have had my interest stimulated like never before. I started doing a few portraits and was able to get a reasonable likeness to the people I drew, and that encouraged me like never before. It is also much quicker and easier to set up, and put away drawing materials than painting materials as I do my artwork in my living room.

What are some of the challenges in working in your preferred medium?

Fine detail and tones are the things I find most difficult. I also have problems getting eyes and hair to look right too. I have found that drawing eyes as they really are from photos isn't always the best thing to do. They may not both be open as wide as each other on the photo, which doesn't look right in a drawing. But I am learning as I go along and at last I feel I am starting to get somewhere with my drawing. 

How did you learn to draw/paint?

As I said already, I went to art classes to learn to paint for a couple of years but I didn't get much benefit from it. I found that DVDs were a great help and watching artists like Geoff Kersey, Terry Harrison and Kieth Fenwick helped me enormously. I am completely self taught with graphite drawing, but I am very grateful to a few artists on one of the other sites I am a member of, for the great tips and advice they have given me.

Who or what has influenced your art?

I don't think anyone has really influenced my art as I draw whatever I feel like drawing at the time from a wide range of subjects. One particular member of another site inspired me to draw again but his work is mainly drawing horses. So I don't think he has influenced me.

What inspires you?

Again - anything that takes my fancy at the time. While searching for subjects to draw I found a lot of pictures of coal-mining. I live in Wales so naturally I felt moved by some of the photos and decided to draw them. I have never felt such deep feelings and emotions while drawing as I did while drawing some of these photos. I felt an affinity with the miners and wanted to pay a tribute to them.

How do you make time for art?

I had to finish work long before I planned to owing to severe back problems. I don't get the acute and chronic pain I used to experience, but I am no longer able to work.  

We have just experienced a miserable winter and I didn't go out a lot, so found plenty of time to draw. Now that spring is here I will be away from April to the end of October quite a lot, so I won't be so prolific with my artwork then. There are too many fish to catch and places to visit. 

What is your favorite subject matter and why?

I have always had a great love for nature - particularly for birds. I don't draw them as well as I would like - I find portraits easier, but I think birds are my favourite subject really.

What's the best art advice anyone has ever given you?

This is a hard one to answer.  I have been given many tips and helps that have helped me to improve but I can't think of any one particular thing.  

There is one thing I would like to point out to members though. It is only through the encouraging comments I received on another site, that I have maintained my interest and stuck at it this time with my art. I have packed it up through discouragement so many times before. So I would encourage members to pass comments on other members work. They may be looking for encouragement, and by not commenting it could cause them to think their work is not worthwhile and they could lose interest. We are all hoping to learn and improve, so be kind enough to comment on other people's work if you like it.

Do you have any tips or advice for your fellow artists?

Stick at it. I am speaking from experience - don't be discouraged - if drawing or painting is in your heart just keep going. There are many mediums and many styles and disciplines - one of them at least will suit you for sure. Encourage others and be kind and I am sure that they will respond in a similar way.

Make sure you check out John's gallery pages for more or his wonderful artworks at: http://community.art-is-fun.com/photo/photo/listForContributor?scre...

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Great interview John!! And you hit it right on the nose. The comments i get here keep me going! I dont mind any criticism at all. If your sensitive about that then i feel you cant improve. Ive only been at it 6 months but every night i come in here and the first place i go is the gallery. I get excited to try something new. I figure something will be right for me!! For example i love the Zentangles, who would of thought because i dont care for abstract at all. Anything "busy and confusing" turns me off. So when i instantly picked up on those i was shocked. Best of luck to you in the future and do us all a big big favor...NEVER PUT YOUR BRUSHES/PENCILS DOWN!!

Very nice interview, John. And what a nice thought about encouraging others!

John, I love your sense of humor in your art, it warm up my heart, my soul.... thank you so much for it, you make people happier and it is something absolutely fantastic!!!!!

Thank you SO MUCH!!!

It has been really nice John reading all about your art. I agree so much with your thought about encouraging others by leaving  comments on their art. The comments that I have received have really made my day !!  I love to look at your new art  & your great sense of humour certainly brightens up my day. I'm sure I'm not alone in saying that we shall miss you when you are off caravanning !! LOL Lyn x

I really enjoyed your interview John. I have followed you and believe you have the talent and ability to be very successful. I know you know that the success is your own personal satisfaction with your work but also the advancements you make as you progress. And John my friend, your are progressing. Keep it up, your are doing great and getting better. 

John - I love hearing about your history, and adore your drawings.  Your good nature and humor come through your work - especially in the animals.  Many mornings when I've logged on, you've posted a new funny face, and made me smile.  I also agree with others, that the encouragement from others is so very valuable.  We who create tend to carry our tools around with us for years. .. even if we don't use them.  I'm very glad that you've had the time to make us all smile with your talent and imagination. Keep it up. .  . even on the boat, waiting for a bite!  Blessings. . . Sherril

John thank you so much for sharing your true struggles with creating, I believe this helps to develop artists more than showing your fabulous work does! When people see that even an artist with your level of skill has doubts and struggles with creating, they can be encouraged to move forward in their own development knowing they are not alone.

To share this honestly is a true gift. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for telling it like it is! Your work is amazing. I hope you take your pencils and watercolors along when you go off fishing. You might need to take a break and what would be more enjoyable that creating some art while you are out in the natural world. ; >

I wholeheartedly agree that it is worthwhile to hang on to new work for a while. But rather than hang mine in a prominent place, I tend to put mine away. I find that if I don't look at a piece for a while and then come back to it with "fresh eyes" I see the whole piece very differently.

I love that for each artist there is a process that works...and they are as unique as we are!

Enjoy your summer away from the PC. What could be better for you and your art?!

John Andreou said:

Thanks Suzanne for your kind comments.  Getting into art really has been a struggle for me, and believe it or not, but I have suffered with a lack of confidence for years.  I am also my own worst critic especially with my paintings. 

When I do a watercolour, I usually don't like them very much. I have to put it in a prominent place and look at it for quite a few days and then it will start to grow on me.  I have often been about to throw a painting away but decided not to after looking at it for a few days.  By studying them for a few days I see mistakes that can be made right, or sometimes think of ways that things could have been done better, so it is never a waste of time to hang on to them for a while.

I will take my paints with me when I go away.  I do most of my paintings in the caravan or sitting outside in the sun.  I can't get online when I am up there so I don't spend hours and hours every day at my pc. 

Thanks for your interest and God bless you pal. John xx

Suzanne Vadnais Monson said:

John thank you so much for sharing your true struggles with creating, I believe this helps to develop artists more than showing your fabulous work does! When people see that even an artist with your level of skill has doubts and struggles with creating, they can be encouraged to move forward in their own development knowing they are not alone.

To share this honestly is a true gift. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for telling it like it is! Your work is amazing. I hope you take your pencils and watercolors along when you go off fishing. You might need to take a break and what would be more enjoyable that creating some art while you are out in the natural world. ; >

Dear John, It's great to see you highlighted this week.You are a great energy here at "TAC".Your wonderful art and sense of humor always brightens the day! Thanks for sharing your personal journey,I struggle all the time with my art, always thinking I should give up I'm not good enough, but art has pulled at me all through my life. To hear that you too struggle at times (and I think you are such a great talent) helps me feel that is just the normal part of the process. I love your animal drawings,the details and expression are  outstanding.I think your Alpaca is my favorite.My favorite painting is "Roadside tree". Enjoy the fishing and the good weather! I'm sure you'll find lots of inspiration!

John, thank you so much for so candidly sharing your thoughts and feelings about your art.  What you've said about people seeking encouragement is so true and it's good that you've reminded us all to give feedback to our fellow Colonists.  Just a word or two can mean so much sometimes!

As for your talent and abilities, I hope that you never again doubt them because you are such a gifted artist.  Your story isn't all that different than mine and knowing that gives me hope that maybe someday I can learn to paint as well. 

The world would be a better place, John, if more people shared your philosophy.  :)

John Andreou said:


Bless you Donna and thanks so much for you comments and for agreeing with me about giving others a blessing by commenting on their work.

I think it's important to encourage each other and I would rather be remembered for liking a laugh and for trying to help build someone up, than just being a name on a list.

God bless you pal and keep at it. xxx

 

Donna Duquette said:

John, thank you so much for so candidly sharing your thoughts and feelings about your art.  What you've said about people seeking encouragement is so true and it's good that you've reminded us all to give feedback to our fellow Colonists.  Just a word or two can mean so much sometimes!

As for your talent and abilities, I hope that you never again doubt them because you are such a gifted artist.  Your story isn't all that different than mine and knowing that gives me hope that maybe someday I can learn to paint as well. 

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