It’s been some time since an artist feature on the [starpower]* blog. We’re going to shake things up a bit and start featuring artists involved in the upcoming group show, tentatively titled ‘overflow’ at The phoenix Gallery August 25th. (More on that later)
Gretchen Stabile is a local female figurative painter living in the QCA. Her paintings are provocative and emotive, with powerful female figures that demand attention from their viewers. Join us in picking gretchen’s brain a bit.
[SP]*: How long have you been an artist?
I have been interested in art and design since I was a little girl. I have been painting and drawing the female figure as my focus since junior high school.
[SP]*:Tell us what your work deals with thematically.
Currently my work is exploring classic female anxieties such as body image and how societal pressures affect women. I am interested in how women alter their appearances to appease the male or female gaze. Typically the subjects in my paintings are rather provocative, and are asserting some sort of ownership over their bodies and sexuality.
[SP]*:What challenges do you find in your work?
Since I am dealing primarily with the figure, I am always working on proportions and fleshtones. I typically work from photographs, which is very necessary for me since my style is semi-realistic. My biggest technical challenge is getting the pose or gesture to my liking so I am conveying some sort of cohesive theme in my paintings. Many of my paintings are provocative in nature; I am always dealing with many different types of criticisms. I need to make sure that I am getting the right ideas across without seeming disrespectful to fellow women.
[SP]*: What has been your most exciting moment as an artist?
In terms of public recognition, I was accepted to a national publication called Studio Visit. This is sent to hundreds of galleries across the country, which hopefully will allow me some new opportunities to show my work. It’s also exciting when a painting starts to take a direction I never intended, but ends up surpassing my expectations. This doesn’t happen all of the time; but for me it’s a great internal triumph.
[SP]*: Most terrifying?
My most terrifying moment as an artist was right after I graduated college with my BA and had no clue what path I should follow in terms of continuing to paint while attempting to make a living. There was a period of time when I simply was not painting for many reasons. Many fellow painting majors in college simply did not keep up with painting and I think it’s sad to let it go to waste.
[SP]*: Tell me about your work space and your creative process.
I have my painting studio set up in my basement. Typically I look for a photograph (or have someone pose for one) of a women in a pose that appeals to me. I might modify this pose depending on what I want to do with the work. I use a lot of fashion and interior design magazines to get color inspiration and go from there. I usually start with a rough under painting and keep working thicker and more gestural strokes as I go along, and a background or environment will typically morph itself in at some point. For one painting I’m typically working from several photos containing poses, patterns, lighting, or anything that is inspirational to me at that time.
[SP]*: What’s one item you couldn’t live without?
Since I don’t paint abstractly, I would say my photographs and references. When it comes to understanding the female anatomy, being a female myself helps out a bit.
[SP]*: What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
Paint even when you don’t feel like it.