Welcome to Profile of the Week! We are delighted to present Delmus Phelps from Lynchburg, VA, USA.

Delmus creates beautifully realistic oil paintings of flowers, still lifes and landscapes.  To see more of Delmus' 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 Delmus:

 

How would you describe your art?

My present work involves large flower paintings of a close up view of the flower blossom.  I also enjoy creating still life work of heirloom pieces, flowers and memorabilia of yesteryear.  The work is more to the romantic and the classical side as opposed to a photorealistic work.  Occasionally, I'll put together a landscape that is more impressionistic in flavor than in any of my other pieces. 

My enthusiasm for flowers has evolved over time.  Flowers have such a hold on us in our daily lives, so much so, we use them to speak for us!  We use flowers to express love, friendship, sympathy and a full range of emotions.  It also reminds us of how fragile our own lives can be, and how fleeting our moment in time actually is.

The flower is so short lived.  And in this bitter sweet beauty that fades so quickly, my heart attempts to capture that moment before it's too late.  To capture the glory of the flower, so that it might last forever in our minds and hearts.

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

It started very early for me.

At 6 years old, my friend (Daniel D.) had extraordinary art skills.  Coming from a famous artistic family, he had a great deal of positive reinforcement to produce art.  I remember the beautiful beach scene he made for us in school with crayons.  Blue skies, crashing waves, sea gulls in the air...

I remember Daniel, tongue extended to the corner of his mouth, crayon pushed to the limit, extracting every ounce of color onto the paper as he mashed the wax down with each scrumble.

He had a vision and needed no preliminary outlines.  Sometimes crayons broke, but at the end of the day, he was a 6 year old wonder.

He was my inspiration...

Every time I pick up and smell a box of crayons, I'm rushed back to that day!  I wanted to learn how to do that! 

So I did.  Everything I could about art, or the process of making art.  Especially painting.

After High School, I dreamed of being an illustrator in the Air Force but the AF had me fixing radios for my time spent there.  After the Air Force I took a job in industry, but I continued to follow my passion in art.

I worked in the factory and painted at night.

Like most artists, I am better communicating visually (through my paintings ) than words.  But I'll try to give you a little insight into what drives me.

Things of beauty.  It's just that simple.

What is your favorite medium and why?

Oils.  I've tried other mediums, and those other mediums each have some very strong pluses.  If I had more training in some of them, I'm sure I'd use them, (acrylic, watercolor, gouche in particular).  My first exposure to realistic large format flowers were of watercolors, and that memory sticks with me to this day.   (A local art show in which these Florals appeared to be photographs from a distance, then as I approached closer, paint strokes were evident.)  It would be years later when exposed to very large format florals that this genre of art would impact my own painting.

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

Mainly keeping in mind that solvents and handling oil paint can be detrimental to your health, so the necessary precautions are taken.  Good ventilation in the studio, no eating or drinking while painting.  Which is really hard, as the coffee cup is permanently attached to my left hand.

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?

I've always enjoyed a challenge.  The dahlia is such a complex flower and I've hesitated in the past to do one.  Especially a multicolored one.  I also enjoy learning about new techniques or variations on the techniques I presently use.  In this piece (shown right), each layer was allowed to dry and a retouch varnish was laid in between.  This allows for a stain glass effect in the colors, and in this case, the reds really pop.  I filmed part of the process for those interested. 

It differed from my usual brown and gray under-paintings prior to laying in color layers. 

It was a huge piece that made my shoulder ache.  I thought I was getting a real issue with it until I figured out it was the reach required to work this painting.  My wife laughed at me and ask why I just didn't take the painting off the table.  Sometimes, you just can't see the forest because of all the trees.

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.

That's an easy one.  Abstract!  Actually, I am researching and am planning to put together several abstracts.   Right now, I'm enjoying the research and the many techniques people use today to produce this style of art.  Most seem to be done in acrylic, but I'm going to attempt it in oils.

How do you make time for art?

When I worked full time in the factory, I would schedule it in like any other activity.  I learned as many shortcuts as possible in order to produce more work in a given time.  Having a setup space was invaluable.

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

See below

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 several artists that I would love to spend time with, but I'll narrow it down to 2.  Ken Davies, or Alexie Antonov, or maybe even David Gray.  Well, that's 3, but all are realistic oil painters that have some amazing art. 

I would start my day with a mini cam attached to my glasses, and hopefully catch the artist in the studio.  To see how they mix paint, apply the paint to the canvas, using which brushes, which mediums and understand the why of their decisions.  Then at lunch to discuss the vision they are attempting to convey and capture on canvas.  How they address lighting of their studio, their subject matter, composition.  After lunch, attempt my hand at a small painting and receive direct feedback and instruction throughout this process.  There are certain things with oil paint that I have not yet figured out and these artists hold the key to answering some of these questions for me as evidenced in their work.

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It was a delight to read Delmus. Your work is beautiful.

Incredible work, Delmus !!!

well done Delmus for being artist of the week a wonderful interview, I love your beautiful paintings !! Lyn x

very nice paintings!  great interview!

Really beautiful. Well done.
Delmus, amazing art, very interesting to read, I think you have caught the beauty of those flowers so well

Gorgeous work!  So inspiring!

Delmus, I think you're work is phenomenal !  How long did it take to paint the POTW ?  Are there tricks to making your paintings look so real?  Thanks for your talent.

Hi Eva, 

Because I work in layers, I have several paintings within my studio at one time.  I really don't keep track on the time for completing a work any more.  I have become a bit faster at pushing them out the door however.  And I have been known to rework a canvas once it returns to me from a gallery.  The perfectionist in me never allows a painting to be complete.  I have just learned to relinquish it when I don't feel there is any thing left to do to improve the work.  And yes, I have burned a few when things just don't seem to click.

Eva Maria Vokac said:

Delmus, I think you're work is phenomenal !  How long did it take to paint the POTW ?  Are there tricks to making your paintings look so real?  Thanks for your talent.

Thanks Pat for the kind words!
Pat said:

It was a delight to read Delmus. Your work is beautiful.

truly a dedicated artist... i enjoyed reading your interview and your paintings are second to none! i absolutely love your still lifes and flowers in that classical style! just beautiful! :o)

Delmus, I just read your interview, very interesting, I enjoy hearing about REAL artists, and you are for sure a true artist, your work is just breathtaking, stunningly beautiful, your are so gifted, just no words, you have inspired me to keep taking tiny baby steps.  I am 69 and started a watercolor class last year , my very first art class ever, I wish I had started at 6. Thanks for sharing your talent with us

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