THIS WEEK WE SAT DOWN AND HAD A CONVERSATION WITH MANDY ROEING...
What are you currently working on?
I'm going to assume this means creating and not all of the other work an artist has to do, so... Paintings of a wave, a beach sunset, a wooded path, peonies, and two abstract pieces that I work on very occasionally as a break from my usual style. I also have 16 small pear paintings that are in progress. (I always paint a pear from life with my students in my Intro to Pastels class, but I never finish them to my desired degree of detail during the class.) I'm also in the planning stages for two commissioned pieces, one is a pet portrait and the other is a landscape.
Plein air painting at Friends Creek. I love to paint on location when possible!
Describe your studio space, what kind of environment do you make art in? music playing? silence? neat and organized? chaotic and messy?
I have two studio spaces, my main one at my studio gallery in Downtown Bloomington, and my home studio which is now mostly used for framing and office work. My studio gallery space I like to keep as neat and organized as possible, so the only messy area is around my easel where the surfaces are covered by the pastels that are being used for all paintings that are currently in progress. My home studio office goes through stages of being tidy to being in total disarray. Its level of neatness has an inverse correlation to how many other things are happening in my art business and family life. I always have music on in the studio gallery, and if I'm painting at home I add audio books and podcasts to the mix.
"Invigorating Surge," 16" x 20," soft pastel - One of many ocean waves I've painted
Where would you like to visit to make art or to inspire art?
France, Italy, and Ireland. And the California coast. Oooh, and a Caribbean art cruise. Pretty much anywhere with water, bonus if there are rocks involved too!
Do you have any teaching moments when you feel you really made a difference in somebody else's art making experience?
Those moments are definitely one of the most rewarding parts of teaching...I love seeing someone's eyes light up with an "aha" moment when I've shared a concept, technique, or way of looking at things that is new to them! My favorite thing is seeing people come into the studio with the stresses of life weighing on their mind and leaving at the end of class with their shoulders relaxed and a peaceful smile on their face. Sharing the joy of creating with others is amazing!
"Refrain of the Rocks," 12" x 16," soft pastel - Tom Branch Falls in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Dog or Cat or Both or Neither?
CatsWhat kind of art do you wish you could make if you're not already doing so?
I love making large hand-built ceramic vessels, but I haven't done anything like that since college.
"Winter Light and Shadow," 12" x 16," soft pastel - A creek in Downs, just a little ways down the road from my house. I love all the color that is in snow!These photos are a good representation of how I always seem to find water to paint, no matter if I am at the beach, in the mountains, or Central IL! There is just something about water that I am drawn to.
What's your philosophy on teaching?
I want to give people the knowledge and tools to grow and improve as artists in an encouraging atmosphere that builds camaraderie from the joy of creating together. I enjoy helping each individual create whatever is meaningful to them and doing mini demos for any topics/techniques that come up. That gives the whole class the benefit of learning not just what they need to know for their own piece, but also what they might want to know for a future painting of a different subject matter. I also believe that teaching techniques for how to fix an "oops" is as equally important as the techniques to put the paint on in the first place!
What was your first art job? first piece of art sold?
I started my art career by painting pet portraits while working at an animal hospital. I love being around animals, and pet portraits remain an enjoyable part of my art practice today!
Whats are your roadblocks or hurdles when making art?
Combatting my perfectionist tendencies.
What have you learned about your own work through being an instructor?
That I use purple for so many situations! I constantly found myself suggesting purple to my students as a solution for lots of different things. So you will frequently hear phrases like, "Purple makes everything better," or "When in doubt add purple" from students in my classroom!
Do you own a gallery?
Yes, I opened a studio gallery space at 105 W Monroe St in Downtown Bloomington this past November! It was a longtime goal of mine to find a space and join the downtown art scene, and it has been awesome to see that dream come to fruition! It functions as my personal studio space, gallery space for my work and occasional featured artists, and a teaching studio for my classes in pastel painting.
You can find Mandy teaching classes out of her gallery, Mandy Roeing Fine Art |Studio & Gallery in downtown Bloomington. Mandy has taught many pastel classes at the MCAC, and we always have open doors for her return!
Some student comments on Mandy's classes:
"Mandy was so knowledgeable and supportive."
"Mandy was very friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable - also, it was fun to learn a new medium."
"Can't think of anything she (Mandy) could have done better."
"The instructor (Mandy) was very good and helpful!"
"The instructor (Mandy) was very patient and wonderful about answering questions. I enjoyed being able to take a piece of art home."
"Mandy's teaching - she is so friendly and patient!"
*all photos courtesy of the Artist (Mandy Roeing)