Home -> Interviews -> BTA in Fall by CJ Rider

Photographer CJ Rider

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Q: While this is a photograph, I love your paintings as well, which method do you prefer photography or painting?
My artwork is so intertwined that I find it difficult to choose one over the other. The thing is, if I am not painting in the field or from life, I use my photos to paint from.  I do love to paint and it has a high level of satisfaction, however there is also nothing like looking at a disk of photos for the first time after an outing!  When you comb through them and find that one little gem of a shot (well, hopefully it’s more than one) that you know has a special “wow” factor; – well, I think we all know how great that feels! Then there is Photoshop, which is a great vortex of time consuming fun too! One medium leads to the other for me which is why I enjoy them them fairly equally.  Through my work I find I bounce back and forth between the mediums and when I am drawn to a subject I become very focused on the one particular medium or blend of mediums that best suits it.

For instance, so far, I have painted this photograph of pistachio trees in Oils and in pastels and have a variety of photo renderings as well as works from the digital tablet.  Given the glowing aspects of the encaustic medium, I might give it a shot in encaustics too!  Love to paint, but there is also nothing like “getting the shot” as well!

Q: Have you ever considered combining the two methods to create exceptionally unique pieces of work?
Yes I actually have combined the two to create new works in a variety of ways. I have used a hand-transfer method to incorporate parts of my photos into my artwork. I have blown up portions of my photo, cut out elements and incorporated them into a piece in a collage type manner.  Loads of fun things to do when you combine mediums. I have actually started a painting from my photo, added transfers, then scaned all of that back into the computer and used photoshop to create a few other neat effects. I then print out the work on art paper and add more hand detailing if needed.  The results can be very intense with many layers. Lots of fun to do too!

Q: What is your favorite subject matter and why?
I do lean toward people portraits for the most part. There is nothing more satisfying than creating a portrait that captures the essence of the person, even more than the likeness. When a client views their completed painting or photo for the first time and their eyes mist with emotion because the piece has captured that special quality in the subject. That is the best for me. That said, I will frequently sidestep to create a string of florals, still-life, landscapes, animals, or low horizon cloud and sky pictures.   I think I take these side trips to refresh my minds eye.

Q: Over the past 5 years what has been the most important artistic lesson you have learned?
I have put together these thoughts from experiences throughout my life in the artworld and they have also held fairly true in the past 5 years:  Sometimes you can build creative blockades for yourself because of pre-conceived notions about life, art and the people in it.  Besides basic function, common sense and safety; Art and photography rules are meant to be used as jumping-off points to your own path, they are not necessarily the path itself.  No one person has the “one true method or way”. An artist takes the information and creates their own vision and path, shut out the noise and chatter, and allow the mind to accept and react to its own creative voice from within! So I guess to sum it all up into one lesson maybe I would say: “be true to your inner creative being”  An often over used saying, yet it’s “easier said than done”.

Q: What made it so valuable?
Being true to myself, not blindly buying into popular or pre-conceived notions or popular stereotypes has freed my own creative eye.  I am not afraid to create something that is not the “norm”.  I have had many art labels ascribed to me over the years as I splash and dabble along to my own tune, I have had to use these same art labels to describe my website, workshops or other public postings.   I just don’t let them box me in or stifle my curiosity, experimentation and eclectic nature.

Q: Looking ahead over the next 5 years what do you aspire to achieve artistically?
I would like to see my Budding Artist program grow. (BuddingArtist.Info)  It is an art workshop each week for “at risk” children. I would personally like to put some of my artistic ideas and “how to’s” in book form to give others the info that I wish I would have had when starting out. Much can be demystified for aspiring artists and photographers.

Q: What artistic method(s) are you looking to master in the future?
I would like to further perfect my skill in Encaustic painting, it is a fascinating medium. The technique is centuries old but continues to quietly draw people into its rich beeswax and vibrant colors.  Once you play in the wax you are hooked (it is very sticky)!   😉   I have dabbled in it for many years but am currently jumping back into it with both feet. Actually, a fairly new venture for me is working with YUPO paper, a plastic-like paper. I keep on working it and hope to stay in the saddle until I can make the paper respond more favorably to my brush!

Q: Is there an artist out there who’s work inspires you?
Lately I have run across so many inspirational artists on Fine Art America and other internet artist havens. It has really broadened who inspires me to a level where it is difficult to list them all off   If you would have asked me this question before the internet – I would have had a couple of very clear answers for you- because back-in-the-day “we” were all exposed to basically the same handful of artisans.  But now, there are so many to look up to and be inspired by.

Q: Is there a project or piece of work that you will be sharing with your fans in the near future?
Yes, I am working on a series of encaustic works that I will be sharing in the near future. The pieces will be from realistic and detailed to abstract and instinctual.  If what I have so far is any indication, it should prove interesting.

Q: What can you say about it to wet our appetites?
You will see rich colors, textures and translucency that only hot beeswax can produce!   You may even see bits of my photography involved!