Creator Spotlight with Fine Artist Danielle Eubank

Danielle Eubank Painting in Antarctica

Photo Credit: Natalie Patura

This week we’d like to introduce you to Fine Artist Danielle Eubank.

What was the inspiration behind becoming a creator? What do you enjoy most about the creative process?

The most fun part about creating is coming up with the creative idea. There are fulfilling, surprising, inevitable and sometimes frustrating changes between the initial idea and the final product. However, the most exciting part of creation is that first spark. This is when the whole world lays before you. I love that feeling of solving a creative problem. It might be something like, ‘how do I make that kind of texture?’ or it might be more challenging like, ‘how do I express that emotion in an original way?’

Can you talk through your creative process? How long does it take? Does everything you produce make money?

My creative process always starts with an idea of how to express an emotion. My typical means of expression is via oil painting, on linen canvas. For example, I might be thinking about what emotions are evoked by a diagonal dark blue shape with blurred edges on a yellow-peach-white. This is hard to put into words, which is the whole reason for creating art to express it. The arts can express a whole range of emotions that regular prose cannot.

I use the shapes found in water as a means of expression. The next step in my creation process is to find photographs that I have taken of water from oceans, seas and rivers around the world. I find ‘pieces’ of water that help me create, like in the blue shape example mentioned above. Once I find something that might serve this purpose, I manipulate it using a computer. I often need to repeat this process many times in order to find something that will express what I am looking for.

Next, I tape a linen canvas to a large board. I rub a color, like orange or yellow or pink, all over the canvas with a rag to create an interesting ground—something that will really ‘zing’ with my intended ultimate colors on top. Then I sketch the water shape on the canvas, usually using charcoal or oil paint. This step often takes about a week, depending on how intricate the shapes are. I modify as I go, moving lines and shapes until I get it the way I want it.

I spend the next several weeks (or months, if the canvas is large) using brushes and oil paint to make textures on the canvas. Color depth is very important to me. For example, ‘black’ is never ‘black’ straight out of a tube. It is always a combination of other colors to create the appearance of black. Finally, I stretch the linen canvas around stretchers. My paintings range from 6×6 inches to 72×116 inches.

I have been fortunate in that almost everything I make sells. When I’m creating, however, my focus is on the ideas, not about selling the work.

What do you think is the biggest misconception about your line of work?

I think that the biggest misconception about fine art is that artists only practice it when the ‘muse’ strikes them, akin to a hobby. When people ask me what I do for a living and I tell them I’m a fine artist, they sometimes say, “Oh, and what is your job?” Or, “And do you make a living from that?” I can imagine how humorous it would be if I asked them the same thing about their line of work!

In reality, creative people are problem solvers. All people who consider themselves problem solvers are creatives. Whether they are in engineering, medicine, banking, mathematics or any other field. All new concepts and objects are a result of the creative process. If you and your team are designing a bridge, it’s a problem-solving creative endeavor. If you are coming up with new financial products to sell to your clients, it’s a problem-solving creative endeavor. If you’re building an extension to someone’s house, it’s a problem-solving creative endeavor.

When did you first become aware of copyright, and why?

Fortunately, at university my professors talked about copyright and helped us to understand about reproduction rights, which stipulate that no one other than the copyright owner may make any reproductions or copies of a work.

Have you experienced copyright infringement and, if so, how has it affected you personally and financially?

There have been instances of people using images of my artwork without permission. While it is flattering that someone would like to use my images, they do need to gain my permission.

What is the best piece of advice that you would give other creators in your field about copyright and how to protect themselves?

In visual arts, it is important to remember that no one can make a copy of your copyrighted works without your permission. Also, if your work involves using other people’s photos or other images, you need to have their consent to use the images.

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