Dar Streedbeck

Member since: 2017


What is your earliest childhood memory of creating art?
I had crayons to draw on cheap white paper, (probably the back of junk mail). I treasured the white cardboard my mom would give me when she got a new pair of nylons.

What did you create?
I drew a lot of horses, with varying degrees of success, but mostly just houses, trees, and flowers. When I was six, I won a contest at KELO for drawing a Christmas picture of a Nativity-themed stained-glass window.

How did you start watercolor painting?
We seldom had art classes in school. I took a community ed acrylic class for a few sessions in high school. As an adult, I tried watercolor once, several years ago, at an Active Generations afternoon “exploration” class. I was so disappointed with what I’d created, I shoved my paintings, new paints, and palette in a cupboard, where it stayed for probably 3-4 years. When I noticed the “open studio” time at AG, I pulled them back out, and sheepishly traipsed into the room. That group of painters, especially Deloras Korgel, encouraged me to keep coming back.

Why do you create art?
It’s so satisfying to create something concrete, that others appreciate. I got hooked on trying to make a realistic picture, although I’d like to be a bit more impressionistic.

What is your most important artist tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?
My computer screen and my light box. I usually struggle so much with proportions when I freehand draw, so I enlarge and trace my own photos, or those pet owners send me to paint.

Is there an element of art you enjoy working with most? Why?
I seem to have the most enthusiasm and passion for painting animals or people in watercolor, and occasionally flowers. I lose interest so quickly when I try to paint landscapes or still life’s. GPWCS paint-ins are good for me to experiment with new subjects and techniques, (even though I feel so out-of-my-element doing them), instead of just plodding along in my usual furrow.

What inspires you?
Capturing “life” on paper, especially if I can incorporate some humor into it. The challenge of painting with watercolor.

How do you know when a work is finished?
When my own eyes can’t see anything to improve, or dislike what I see, I ask for critiques. I’ll tweak any of the issues which I now see, then call it done. Usually. Or start over. Or put it away and try something else.

Is there an artwork you are most proud of? Why?
“All in the Family” (four baby owls). It was a companion piece to a prior owl picture I’d done for my owl-loving daughter. Each owl in this painting is a caricature — the bully, the grump, the poor little runt, and the chill one. I’m submitting it to Dakota Master Works this year.

How do you overcome creative blocks?
I look through pictures I have on my phone, then email them to my desk computer to upload. I also keep a thick paper file of reference photos for potential inspiration. Or I’ll look on Pinterest to get fired up about a style or subject matter. After doing some plein air this summer, and attempting more landscapes these last few months, I felt like I’d lost my mojo.

Then an acquaintance asked me to paint her guy friend’s dog for a gift. Boom! I’m back! I just needed a new animal subject.

What is your dream project?
So far, “All in the Family” (the four baby owls): Assembling reference pictures to compose a unique picture of a loved one’s favorite animal(s) … then drawing it free-hand (something I rarely do – but owls are easier), and striving to execute it successfully, especially when I can give it some humor.

Name three artists you admire.
Angela Fehr, Andrew Geeson, Deloras Korg