Artist Dan Knepper reached out some time ago offering to share his thoughts on art. He's a professional artist and skilled landscape painter.
Q: Did you have any formal training in art? Or are you mostly self-taught?
I’ll apologize in advance for the long answer. I was a glassblower in college and learned nothing about painting. As an art teacher (1-12 for 26 years,) I realized I wanted my skills to dramatically improve and started hosting workshops with nationally known artists, and I’ve traveled to workshops with artists like Mary Whyte, and Peter Fiore. Good friend and mentor Steven Walker has helped tremendously.
Q: What subject inspires you most?
I love to paint. Light on a tractor is as interesting to me as light on a figure or a landscape. I suppose if I could only paint one thing it would be illuminated clouds.
Q: How would you describe your style?
Realism with funny titles.
Q: Which artists inspire you (living and passed)?
Too long of a list! N.C. Wyeth, the Hudson River School, Bougereau, Vermeer... but I think we have some of the greatest artists ever painting now, Clyde Aspevig, Peter Nisbett’s ‘Colossus’ got me interested in painting clouds, I can stand in front of a Dave Santillanes or a Brent Cotton and study for a long time.
Q: If you were to start learning art all over again, where would you start?
I wish I studied with Richard Schmid, but there are some great teachers now, Mark Boedges, Casey Bough, etc. I’d spend some intense study with as many as I could. (I continue to seek out great teachers.)
Q: What is your preferred medium and why?
I love watercolor, but for me oils sell. I always felt like watercolors were speaking English and oils were a foreign language I was trying to learn.
Q: Do you remember your first painting and do you still have it?
I have the first ‘professional’ painting. It won Best of Show in the first competition I entered. I still have it.
Q: What is your favorite painting? (That you have done).
Usually the next one. I always try to make the next one better than the last. I do have some favorites. One is ’Transcendence, (My Toes Are Cold,)’ It’s from my Montana series. I think it turned out well and reminds me of our trip to Glacier. The water was so clear and has this amazing color that I’ve never seen anywhere else.
Q: What are your favorite art books?
Also a long list, but Art Journey America, Landscapes get thumbed through often.
Q: What avenues have been most successful in selling your art? (Galleries, online, blogging, email newsletter, etc).
I seem to do well at Art at the Mill. I’m in some great galleries across the country. Howard Mandville in the Seattle area does especially well for me. I’m always trying to improve my online sales.
Q: For traditional artists looking to break into the fine art world, do you recommend they seek gallery representation or focus on building their own audience through Youtube, blogs, social media, etc?
Good friends Chris Leeper and Steven Walker are having success with YouTube. I think entering national shows is a good way to initially get your work noticed. And social media is a must these days.
Q: Any tips for aspiring artists?
Study with the greats. And try and get a good mentor.
Q: Where can we find your work?
- Howard/Mandville Gallery
- Going to the Sun Gallery
- Mary Williams Fine Art
- Haley Gallery
- Vision Gallery
- Art at the Mill