Interview with the Artist
Q: Kazi... kazim... what?! How do you pronounce your name?|
A: Kaz-ih-meer-chick, accent on the 3rd syllable.
Q: Is that Polish or something?
Q: That name must take up a lot of space on your paintings.
A: I always sign my work 'Kaz'. That really helps since since I do a lot of small paintings.
Q: I was wondering, why do you paint so many small ones?
A: I paint landscapes, and I work a lot outdoors, en plein air. Painting small just works better for me. One of the main reasons is that I can carry all of my supplies including some 8x10" panels all in a small knapsack, and walk for miles to find my painting locations. Another big reason, which you probably don't realize until you try painting from nature, is that the light changes so quickly, you have less than 2 hours before it's a completely different scene. Working small allows me to capture enough of the scene on location, leaving only some minor work to finish it back in the studio.
Q: "En plein air"? What's that?
A: It just means painting outdoors on location, rather than working from references in the studio. But it sounds better, no?
Q: And you never paint larger en plein air?
A: I've painted canvases up to 18x24". My small 8x10 setup is great when I'm exploring, but once I'm familiar with a place and know where I want to paint, I can bring my larger setup. The larger canvas requires a larger easel, larger paint box, more paint, and it's too much to carry around in the field when I'm just exploring.
Q: Is that the only reason you don't work larger more often?
A: No. Besides the problem of carrying more equipment around, there are other challenges: larger canvases catch more wind and can easily blow away on you. Flying insects seem attracted to wet paint and stick to the painting when they land - bigger canvases catch more bugs. Carrying a wet, freshly painted oil painting back to the car without damaging the painting is not easy, and the bigger the canvas, the harder that is. I have wet canvas carriers, but it's still not so easy if it's a long walk back to the car. And of course it takes longer to paint larger so there's the problem of the light changing too much.
Q: But you do have some big paintings.
A: The bigger ones are mostly done in my studio. I use my small paintings and photographs for reference. Painting landscapes this way, you don't have the same inspiration as when working from nature, but having a lot of experience painting outdoors does help when painting inside. I try to capture that same feeling and spontaneity which comes naturally outdoors.
Q: So you work indoors only when necessary?
A: No, I wouldn't say that at all. I enjoy both. Painting outside on a beautiful spring day is a great experience, but painting in the studio gives me a chance to try things I can't do on location. Each way of painting strengthens the other.
Q: Indoors you work in oils and acrylics, outdoors you only use oils - why is that?
A: I like to work with both media - they each have very different handling characteristics and let me try different things. One of the big differences is that oil takes days to dry, acrylics can dry in minutes. Working outdoors with acrylics, the quick drying time is actually a problem, especially when the sun and wind can speed drying even more. Although I'd love to be able to carry a dry painting back to the car, the fast drying would interfere too much with the painting process so I only use oils outside.
Q: Did you know that interviewing yourself like this is not healthy?
A: I knew you were going to ask me that.
(Excerpts from an interview of Joe Kazimierczyk with himself.)