Could you tell me more about how you began painting and why—where you found the courage to pursue a career as an artist?
“I discovered drawing as most kids do, anyone who was good wanted to work for Walt Disney. My parents were really encouraging and wanted me to try painting, and they must have assumed it was more serious. I really didn’t like it at first but kept trying and was familiar enough with the medium to keep going… the decision to be an artist happened when I was about 15…When I was about 20 or 21, I started getting really serious.”
“Interestingly enough, I like to explain to people that my choice for painting what I paint is genuine interest. My first passion was flowers, not painting. I often ask people, What did you love as a child? You were making those decisions innocently and purely, you were genuinely attracted to what you were attracted to. Some of my earliest memories are being completely fascinated by roses. When I look at a flower, I don’t question what or why, I just appreciate it. I am such a plant nerd—I know way too much about them. When other kids were reading comic books I was reading plant encyclopedias…
I love little tiny flowers in fields. It is amazing to me the resilience of these tiny little…organic matter. They have no regard for the time, they just grow, they have always existed and will continue to do so as far as we know. My friends can tell you when we drive by little flowers I scream! Whether anyone sees them or not, they just bloom.”
Could you tell me more about your passion for teaching and the Palette project?
“I have taught for the last ten years in a workshop at the Scottsdale artist school. I wanted to do something for younger people who are outside of the usual demographic represented at these workshops. I presented it to the director to offer a free workshop for high school to college age kids. The kids that apply must write why they want to be an artist, and we select 20 of them, making everything free for them to participate. High quality art companies provide materials for free, so the kids pay for nothing. I have done this for 8 years now. It is remarkable what the kids go on to do—one of the participants in The Rose Show in Montana is a former Palette Project student. This is my favorite class to teach.”
Find more info about Daniel’s Palette Project here.
Do you have any personal reflection you would like to share about life in “quarantine,” or how you have experienced recent times as a creative person?
“I’m of course not making light of the hardships many have had to endure. However, for myself, personally, I have thoroughly enjoyed this time. I have travelled for the last decade and this was the first bit of time at home that was this long. I loved this excuse for staying home. It has really changed my outlook and I have enjoyed setting down some roots moving into a new house. From now on, I am probably going to do a lot less travel. It has been so rewarding to focus teaching online and locally. I feel that it is just as effective and even more when people can watch demonstrations at their own pace.”
To see Daniel’s work in While We Were Still…Flowers Bloomed, click here.