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INTERVIEW - SALLY SHISLER

How long have you been pochade painting?

I started in 2004, but didnít really get rolling until late in 2006.


What 1st got you into pochade painting?

I had been active in a weekly evening model session where I was encouraged by another artist to give plein air painting a try. I was after spontaneity and freshness and thought ďwhat better way to get it than to impose a deadline on yourself with the passing of the day and the shift in lightĒ.

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What has been your best pochade place to paint or still life?

Always outside. I love big skies with lots of clouds. The best clouds are here in Florida. Summertime thunder clouds!


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What time of the year do you prefer to paint in terms of temperature and light?

Here in Florida, there really isnít a bad time of year. I donít really lean one way or the other with a preference in color temp. Iím exploring a lot right now with how color temperature works to lead the eye around the painting. Itís more easily done with value changes, but when itís done correctly with color, itís a wonderful thing.


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What time of the day is your favourite?

Again, I donít think thereís a bad time of day for painting. Of course, light shifts most swiftly in the early morning and the evening. If Iím feeling like a challenge, Iíll do either. Paintings are always very spontaneous this way. It forces you to get your method down pretty tight.


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What pochade boxes do you use?

Iíve only had two. Theyíre both Mabef full box French easels.


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What do you keep in your pochade box colours, brushes etc?

Nothing at all. Itís already heavy enough. Iím supply intense, and have oodles of paint that has to go with me. Iím still working on system organization, but am starting to believe Iíll never settle on a good one. I typically work quite in a hurry and throw all carefulness aside when Iím trying to get something elusive down. It takes me longer to set up and clean up than it does to actually paint!


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What do you prefer to paint on, canvas board, primed millboard?

I almost always use canvas board, Raymar to be exact.


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Who would you say is your favourite painter?

John Singer Sargent is my all time favorite. In general, Iíve always loved the Pennsylvania Impressionists who were active back in the early 1900s. Daniel Garber was one incredible painter. I started painting in Lambertville, New Jersey (actually my very first ďpochadeĒ session was there) which is where this colony of artists lived and did a good majority of their work. The area is just gorgeous and if youíve ever been there, itís very identifiable in a painting. The Lambertville art scene is still alive and thriving today. A note of interestÖWashington Crossing, New Jersey (an actual town) is just south of Lambertville. Itís where George Washington crossed the Delaware River during the Revolutionary War.


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What do you look at in a good painting more than anything?

3 things. Strong design/composition, color harmony and freshness.


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What is your favourite size to work on (box size)?

I like to paint large in order to keep it free and loose, and thatís why I have a full easel. Though I do paint smaller pieces too. Sometimes the small ones take longer than the large ones. In fact, I believe itís much harder to accomplish anything in a small format than it is when you have plenty of room to move around. Itís more like a dance when working large format.


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Have you exhibited any pochades? If so where, gallery/sites/shows?

Many. I have had 2 solo shows here in Orlando, Florida. The most notable gallery is Gallery at Avalon Island. Iíve been part of many more group shows around the country as well. Couldnít name them all easily. A recent honor was being invited to the 2008/2009 Nomadas del Arte Paintout and Exhibit. It takes place in the western states. We have 6 states to choose from (Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, UtahÖ), and all of 2008 to do it. There are 200 artists who will each hang 2 paintings for the 2009 show in Texas. Iíll be travelling for that one. Another exciting aside; Iíll be teaching a workshop at Valencia Island in Ireland next summer. There will be a show at the end of the week long session. So after that I can say that Iíve exhibited in Europe!


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If you can sum up the pochade box and what it brings to you in one sentence what would that be?

Itís opened up my world and has brought me to a place where my spirit is meant to be.

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