Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Interview with Heather Gleason - Dark Artist.

I recently signed up for a painting class at the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.  When I walked in I saw some pieces painted by the artist and teacher, Heather Gleason.  I realized that I had seen her work at the World Horror Convention this past June and had loved her whimsical style.  I didn't do any research before signing up for the class as to who Heather was, but I was SO excited that it was her.  And she was here!  And she was teaching the class!  It was such a fun experience and Heather was so patient and generous to share her painting tips.   When I asked Heather if she would participate in Halloween Hootenanny via an interview she graciously agreed.

Question:  How did you get started as an artist?  

Answer: I have been creating art since I was a little girl. Not always professionally of course ;) My mother got me into painting, which for many years I disliked until i actually tried it lol. Being a stubborn teenager not listening to your parents. I now look back and think UGHH I should have listened to my mother ;) 

Question: You mentioned you were self taught.  Can you elaborate? 

Answer:  I was used to pencils and ink, then thought i would expand my mediums.  So I bought the paint, something I was not used to and of course the wrong kind of brushes lol.  Made my first painting and it was horrible.  I had to do my own research on all types of brushes by buying them and figuring out what ones worked for me.  Eventually I found the right brushes while painting everyday. I had the help of my Friend Anna Weber who showed me some techniques with oil painting.  BUT while one technique may work for one person, it may not work for another and that is what happened with me. I was following her techniques step by step and they did not work for me.  So I let go and did what worked for me with the outcome being so much better for me as an artist in what i was trying to create. Practice, Practice, Practice. There is still way more for me to learn and as a painter the learning never ends and different techniques are always out there. 

Question:  You also said your mother is an artist.  Did she influence or encourage you?

Answer: Yes my mother since retiring LOVES to paint. She is a part of a few well known Artist Groups here in NY. She yelled at me to start painting so yes she plays a BIG part in me painting right now. We both have very different styles when it comes to painting, but we enjoy talking about classes she takes and the people she meets along the way.  Every time we have a visit we seem to chat about painting.  

Question:  Do you have a "style" and can you define it? 

Answer: STYLE...UGHH hahaha! I don't think i have a style.  It's weird to even describe my work as it's hard to even put it in a certain category since my mind is all over the place when i paint and the outcome is always different. 

Question: How do you come up with the subjects or concepts for your pieces? 

Answer:  I can be sitting eating dinner and have an idea pop in my mind. I will jot it down. Sometimes i will be in the middle of an email and an idea will pop in my head so i will email myself the idea so I don't forget it.  I always come back to the ideas that I jot down. They seem to haunt me until I paint them.  If I don't paint the ideas they never go away.  That's when I tend to go a little nutty. The hardest part is to actually get what I was thinking onto the canvas. If it does not come out right I am still haunted with that image.  It does not happen too often but it does happen.  Also my children play a very big part of me being the BIG kid I am and stir up fun emotions on a daily basis which in return come out in my characters i create. 

Question: What is your favorite Halloween/Horror subject to create? 

Answer:  I love making witches as they are everyday people. You can make so many different expressions on their face. They are always on the go and doing something. 

Question: Did any particular artist influence you? And/or can you name some of your favorite artists? 

Answer:  One of my biggest influences is Edward Gorey I would have to say. My mother was a HUGE fan of "Mystery" when i was a kid. I remember seeing the intro for the first time and being so mesmerized by the simplicity of it. It gave me an eerie feeling and took me to a different place. I never watched the shows with my mother but I would always be around for the intro. I made weird creepy stuff as a kid...my parents never understood it. Seeing Gorey's intro at a young age probably opened a new door for me.  As in favorite artists there are sooo many of them.  My favorite artist to date is Laurie Lipton. Its not paint but the subject matter is truly unique and straight from her mind. I LOVE IT! 

Question: Is there a favorite piece that you've done or has special meaning to you? 

Answer:  I have a few pieces that are in personal collection that I love and just cannot give up. One in particular is a painting of me. With 3 skeleton children playing around me. Two of them walking around me the other piggyback, lol.  I woke very early at three a.m. one morning around 2008-09.  I created the painting with acrylics in 4 hours. I don't know why I woke so early to paint it.  At the time i did not have 3 children but now i do!

Question: Why Halloween Art? Why does it appeal to you? Why do you think it appeals to others? 

Answer:  Halloween has always been a big deal to me.  It brings out that inner kid feeling. Being able to create it everyday i guess makes me a BIG kid.  The images I create are cute yet creepy. I try to just make straight up cute but it never comes out right until i add a little twist to it.  I think others have the same feeling i do when it comes to Halloween. There is an emotion attached to the Holiday. You want that emotion to come back and by doing so creating Halloween or collecting Halloween evokes that fun, happy feeling.  I love creating Halloween for that feeling. Sometimes I just can't help it.  Images just pop up in my mind. Its just so much fun to create no matter what time of year it is. 

Question: And since this is a book blog, can you tell me a few of your favorite Halloween/Horror books?  

Answer:  Stephen King's, IT,  Brian Keene's The Rising is really cool as well. Believe it or not R.L Stine's Goosebumps are great.  Alvin Schwartz, Scary Stories to Tell in The Dark. We have a large collection here at the house.  I rarely get to read as I am always painting.  

For more information about Heather and to purchase her artwork, please visit her website: http://myeclecticmind.com/

Connect with Heather on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/myeclecticmind


~I will be giving away one (1) copy of Heather's Book The Myserious Spooky Stories of My Eclectic Mind. 

~Leave your name (use what I can announce on the blog if you win) and e-mail address on the Rafflecopter form.
~Extra entries are optional.  

~Winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter.
~Sorry, this contest is for US only.  
~Please see my contest policy HERE.
~This contest ends on October 29, 2013 at 12:15am.
~If winner does not contact me within 72 hours (3 days) of my first e-mail, unfortunately another winner will be chosen
a Rafflecopter giveaway


luvhalloween365 said...

Love the interview! Heather is as awesome as her paintings!

Shadow said...

Fantastic interview! This looks spooky! I really love her paintings! Shes so good!

Aurian said...

That for this very interesting interview, I do like your witches a lot!

kipha said...

Awesome interview! I do hope we get to see some of your works too Midnyte!!! And being an artist myself, gosh I love how you use your colors Heather!

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