What motivates you to paint?

What motivates me to paint is the search and use of design principles.  It can be light falling on form, color – such as harmony of a subject or of the light, edges, shapes, composition, etc.  When I see it and can identify what is going on it motivates me to communicate it.

How do you balance family life and art?

This is the most difficult part for me as an artist because I have a hard time ‘turning off’ the creative part of my mind and be in a state of ‘non-art’.  I have to consciously sever the inspirational drive and focus on my family when with them.  It helps when I schedule my time but it can be difficult because when inspiration hits it is hard to halt.  I have a young family so time is full of activities and growth which takes precedence.  There is great advice in the idea that ‘no success can compensate for failure in the home.’
Who influences your work?

It is hard to pin down a single ‘who’ because there are so many great contemporary and historical artist – each with their own twist on picture making.  Each are masters of craftsmanship and design.  Past artists that come immediately to mind are; Anders Zorn, John Singer Sargent, Joaquin Sorolla, Frank Brangwyn, Dean Cornwell, Nicolai Fechin, and Edward Seago.  Contemporaries that inspire me are Quang Ho, George Carlson, Len Chmiel, Matt Smith and those that I have studied with – Ralph Barksdale, Richard Schmid, Carolyn Anderson, and more.  There is a thread of understanding and beauty that runs through all of their work that humbles and inspires me.

What’s one painting tool you can’t live without?

The one painting tool that would be most difficult to go without would be the brush.  Only because it is the universal way of applying and identifying paint.  It is the artists’ calligraphy or signature that makes them individual.

imageWhat do you want to instill in your students?

What I strive to instill in my students is learning to ‘see’ and then using the tools of design to find their own visual voice.  There are a lot of ‘look alike’ artists out there, which is quite sad because they are not using their God given talent to share their personal vision with the world.  I spent years exploring my vision and paint application to separate myself from those I have studied with as well as those that inspire me.  It may be flattery to paint like someone but it isn’t you.  I am still changing and pushing for something different because I don’t want be visually stuck or reach an application plateau.  I want to grow and find other ways of visual communication through design and hope to instill that in my students.


What would you like the viewers of your video to know?

The intent of this particular video was to share the concept of reflective and ambient light.  I hope to instill the idea that light bounces off of form which affects the surrounding shadows and forms.  That reflective light has color and therefore influences the hue of the surrounding objects and area.  A color is only a color based on both the light and what it is surrounded by.  With careful observation this principle will enhance the students ability to see and interpret the harmony in their subject and painting.
Learn more about what inspires Mitch Baird as an artist.