An Interview with Paula Visnoski in Middletown, Rhode Island

Almost one year ago I featured a painting by Paula Visnoski in my gallery titled Fisherman III. It is a gorgeous piece and truly showcases the mastery that Paula has with her medium. I simply can’t get over the smoke wafting in front of the fisherman’s slicker suit. Too cool.

Looking through her portfolio you can see that her talents are useful in a wide variety of subjects including animals, people, and still life. This is why I asked Paula to answer a few questions for us in this artist interview.

How did you get started with art and, in particular, watercolor?

I started drawing & painting when I was five. I did my first watercolor painting at age nine. I watched some painter on black and white TV at my grandparents home one afternoon and ran home to my new set of watercolor paints my father bought me and recreated what I thought was a master piece! I took private art lessons with my sister for about three years once a week. It was there that I discovered my love for watercolor painting. I was always known throughout my school days as “that artist“ with the “Most Artistic“ title in my high school yearbook.

How have your tools tools changed from the beginning until now and what are your favorites?

I learned in the beginning that you have to use the best, no cutting corners when it comes to brushes, paint and particularly paper, for quality watercolor work. So I started out with Winsor Newton paints and brushes and Arches watercolor paper. I never could really afford the best brushes (kolinsky sable) but now I have a few of those brushes. I still mostly use W&N artist paint but have since discovered the M. Graham and Daniel Smith brands that I use as well and my paper still is Arches that I buy by the roll 140# coldpress. Most recently I have been doing very large commissions on Fredrix stretched watercolor canvases that I gallery wrap and stretch myself. I buy it by the roll. These paintings are sometimes as big as 5 feet by 6 feet. I only do these as commissioned or consignment because of my storage room limitations in my studio.

Last April I featured Fisherman III. Can you tell us the story behind this piece?

In 2013 I began the “Fisherman Series”. This series was inspired by my summers up in Maine growing up, where I spent many hours in the town of York Beach. There was an older artist who painted outside his gallery on the sidewalk. He would paint scenes of the ocean and many portraits of old fishermen. I would just stand behind him and watch for hours with very little exchange of words. I was so inspired by him and vowed to my young self that one day I would do this type of art. So here I am, decades later, trying to capture that same feeling in a series of watercolors. This is an on-going series and so far I have six in the series. The fishermen are not of the real world, they are no one in particular.

Which artists have been the most influential to you and have you stumbled across anyone new lately that you’d like to share?

I have always been fascinated with the work of many artists of the past. van Gogh, Dali, O‘Keeffe, Homer, John Singer Sargent, Wyeth (the whole family!), Norman Rockwell and the list goes on and on. A far as new influences Steve Hanks, Howard Terpning, Mary White and Keiko Tanabe come to mind. 5. Aside from watercolor and art, what other hobbies do you have? Well I am quite a “techie“ as my wife would say. I enjoy networking my art online and keeping up on the latest software for anything to do with design, photography and art in general. I enjoy pampering my dog, “Billie Bumble Holiday“ he‘s like our child, a little black shih tzu. But I guess most of all taking photographs. Although I really don‘t consider it a “hobby“, I‘ve been doing it as long as I have been painting. I use my images for painting inspiration a lot, but I have picked up a few awards through the years with my work.

Paula mentioned Steve Hanks and Keiko Tanabe as artists that she admires. Both of which have paintings featured here in the gallery. From Hanks you can find There Are Places To Go and from Tanabe we have Café des Arts II. I’m looking forward to publishing an interview with Tanabe in the near future.

Thanks so much to Paula for taking the time to answer a few questions. If you enjoy her work be sure to look her up on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.