CH.89: If you were to categorize or describe the style of your artwork, what would it be and why?
DC: “Landscape Expressionism.” In my paintings, I merge traditional representational imagery with passages of abstraction (and sometimes text) to create unique, deeply personal visual expressions of the landscape.
CH.89: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
DC: My love for and experiences in the outdoors, in the land.
CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about what your creative thought process is like when starting a new project/piece of artwork?
DC: I often start by layering collage — pages of printed text (transcribed from my journals). On top of the collage, I add and subtract layers of paint. As I work I pay attention to the “push-pull” and interactions of colors and shapes and expand and develop those areas that start to look interesting. It’s an intuitive, dance-like process.
CH.89: Is there anything in particular that you would want people to take from your artwork?
DC: Joy in and reverence for the landscape.
CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about your lifestyle as an artist and what that is like?
DC: Someone recently told me I “live an artist’s life.” I’m not entirely sure what she meant but was kind of honored by the description. I know that I’m constantly looking for/seeing/noticing color everywhere; that I take time to pause and appreciate the “small beauties” and then share these in my weekly email to subscribers. I never travel without the means to make art somehow — be it with a sketchbook, paint, camera, or collage. While I may not pick up a paintbrush and actively make art every day, I do something related to my art/creativity every day.
CH.89: When starting out an artistic task, do you think it is better to have a particular direction/set plan guiding your way? Or, is it better to act on impulse and go from there?
DC: Totally depends on the day and projects at hand. Generally, though I like to work in series and set parameters for myself. For instance, I might decide something like “Over the next several months I’m going to create 12 paintings in mixed media on 24” x 24” panels that celebrate the New Mexico sky.” Some days I begin each studio session with a warm-up exercise — say a quick watercolor abstraction, just to shake up the Muse. (I did this a lot esp. in the couple of months of Covid lockdowns in ’20.)
CH.89: What is one major lesson you’ve learned as an artist thus far?
DC: When I’m working on a piece and really love a section of it to the point that it’s becoming precious, that’s a sign that I need to destroy it. Inevitably once I’ve destroyed it, something even better and wholly unexpected emerges. In the words of Stephen King, “Kill your darlings, kill your darlings….kill your darlings.”
CH.89: What do you consider to be the hardest thing about being an artist?
DC: Putting aside ego.
CH.89: What is one thing you love about being an artist?
DC: That I get to spend my days immersed in “work” that I love, and bring joy to others through my creativity.
CH.89: Is there anyone in particular, any artists that inspire you in any way?
DC: Too many to list. But I can tell you that I nearly fell to my knees and wept in awe and appreciation when I stepped into the Women of Abstract Expressionism exhibit at the Denver Art Museum a few years ago.
CH.89: What do you think of technology in terms of being a useful tool for artists today?
DC: If, by technology you mean computers and screens, it’s a blessing and a curse. Incredibly useful and helpful in countless ways, but also a damning source of egregious distraction. As Kevin Kelly (co-founder of WIRED magazine) said, “Every new technology will bite back. The more powerful its gifts, the more powerfully it can be abused.” It’s for exactly this reason that I killed all of my social media accounts two years ago — they were too damn distracting, sucking my energy and focus away from my real work of painting, and messed with my ego. Yet I embrace other uses of the web with a robust website, two blogs, an Etsy shop, and weekly emails.
CH.89: Do you think being an artist allows you to view the world differently from those who don’t follow creative paths?
DC: Impossible to say. I do think, though, that as a painter I am attuned to and appreciate the color and the play of light more than most “non-artists” I know.
CH.89: Do you enjoy traveling? If so, do you have a favorite city?
DC: Yes I enjoy traveling, though in recent years I’ve been drawn more to mountain trails rather than city streets.
DC: Among my favorite cities are NYC; Philadelphia; Portland, OR; Denver; Edinburgh; Rome.
CH.89: Do you have a favorite author or book?
DC: Here again, impossible to say. [One of my great sources of pride is that since the age of 14 I’ve kept a list of every book I’ve ever read.] The most interesting “art” book I’ve read recently is The Paper Garden: An Artist Begins Her Life’s Work at 72, by Mary Peacock.
DC: And three books that I have read multiple times and which have had a huge impact on me are Manage Your Day to Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus & Sharpen Your Creative Mind, Edited by Jocelyn Glei; Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport; and Atomic Habits by James Clear.
CH.89: Any future goals or plans for your artwork?
DC: Finish the stacks of unfinished paintings and make use of all of the paints and panels I’ve accumulated before buying any more!
CH.89: What does being an artist mean to you?
DC: Living and creating by my own terms.
CH.89: What’s the last song you listened to?
DC: The Pill performed by Loretta Lynn (c.1974)
CH.89: Any last words on the aesthetic of your artwork?
DC: Not on the aesthetic, but just that I’m deeply grateful to my family, friends, and collectors who have encouraged and supported me in living my ‘artist’s life’; I wouldn’t be here without them.