Interview: Linda Dumont

Linda Dumont

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Describe the time you first realized that creating was something you absolutely had to do? How old were you? Who or what inspired you at the beginning of your art life? 

My story will unfold.  When I was in grade school I would trace the Sunday newspaper fashion drawings lingering over details for hours. Arrange my dollhouse, constantly designing and changing the space. I had been iceskating since five years old in Pittsburgh at the Civic Arena with very talented skaters. They had already proved a work ethic. The rink was a large canvas the skaters merely statues on the canvas.

My artistic awareness had begun. My feel for dance, which will eventually be dance, then finessed itself into drawing.

My Great Uncle, Joseph Margulies an established painter was also visited in Gloucester each summer and New York on 87th street; which was his prominent studio where he painted portraits.  Art was around me but in a traditional way.  Piano and ballet filled my time till high school, and then fine arts lead the way.

I went to Baldwin School in Bryn Mawr Pennsyvania and Fine Arts was my major in high school.  I went to Moore College of Art studied fashion design. I discovered drawing and painting which held more interest than sewing garments for me.  I loved drawing the models and nudes and this led me to the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts then The Boston Museum School for four additional years.  The Rose Art Museum at Brandeise University was where I had my first art vision. Helen Frankenthaleur was my heroine.  I stood in front of her works and said I can do this. I want to express myself in this way.  My junior year I stretched huge canvases and was on my way to twenty-five years of nonobjective works.  Many corporations, law firms, and private homes gave me the opportunity to be creative in their space.

Cityscapes became another venue! My fantasy world was dissolving and architecture took its place and cityscapes became my muse for twenty years--all of it being commissioned work. I worked from photos and my career went into this direction.  My clients led the way.  As new commissions appeared, I said yes and made it happen by working on large canvases and sculptural shapes and putting my energy into making new colorful flashy cityscapes. 

Who or what inspires your art life today?

Today I have made a 360-degree turn.  I wanted to get out of my studio after 35 years and smell the life and air that makes my works breathe.  Back to nature. I started to paint "En plain air".  So today nature inspires me.  But I do love architecture of space and the figure and want to translate it, but in my way not in the traditional sense.  So I am really the composer striking by my own pulse.  Clay sculpture also has me excited too.  As do the figure bust size and portraits and abstracts. My works are now 3D as well.

Today there are many artists who inspire me, but one in particular I can feel and understand and love!  He irons fabric into landscapes and fashion his name is Benjamin Shine, and he is my newest hero because he has taken the simple into the complex.


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Why do you make art?

I make art to feed my soul. I ache and get moody when I do not take the time to produce.  I need to produce daily. It is like the scales on a piano, the rhythm needs to keep flowing.  I will then grow and see more and be more patient as I need to be with time to reflect.

What are you trying to communicate with your art?

I am not trying to communicate; it presents itself.  Some commissions have a certain look or need to be satisfied.

What element(s) of your inner spirit is reflected in your art?

My personal work is the love of movement whether it is in dance or movement of the city or abstract fantasy world.  Dance has always been part of my series because I can feel it and want to convey that feeling!  I want to put joy into the world -- a smile, a memory, a second glance of inspiration.  I want to strike an emotion.  My journey is to put rest where there is unrest.   I am not an intellectual painter an emotional painter.

Is the atmosphere or design layout of your creative space/studio an important element in your creative process—why or why not?

YES YES YES - your space reflects your work. You can only do what you can do in limited space.   When I had 1800 square feet, my biggest dreams were possible. I miss it. But life presents us with challenges, and I have made a positive path of stretching no matter what the circumstances.  My larger studios gave me bigger dreams to live up to.  My modest 800 square feet works, but outside my canvas is as big as it needs to be and that can be extreme!

Is there something—a keepsake, an inspirational quotation, a photograph—you keep in your studio for inspiration or motivation?

I have favorite books around me.  When I need help from my masters, I just look at their works and ask questions. (Private conversations)

What kind of routines or rituals do you incorporate into your creative time? If you have one element or principle of art you enjoy working with the most, please describe it? 

I always draw or paint to keep the flow moving.  I do spend time alone and this is nurturing. It is meditative time when painting too.  Depending on the series of paintings.  Focus time. I listen to classical music or a trendy something as needed for my spirit!

Art is in all of us; it is the time we take and devotion to make it grow.  Showing UP is more important than any fancy anything just continue to do what you love to do and let it lead you.  Do not over intellectualize.

Currently, which creative medium do you work in? What, if any, other creative medium would you love to pursue?

I continue to create sculpture in clay--life size busts of people and animals and nature.  Actually sculpture is winning my spirit these days! Yes I need to go down this path.


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What is your most important artist tool?

My vision is my tool.  This is how I see the world.  My voice may not be your voice. This is the way I see it!   My inner lens captivates my new reflection!

How do you keep yourself motivated? 

My audience helps but always recreating myself.  Trying new techniques over the years keeps me fresh! 

What one piece of advice would you give to an artist just getting started?

Make art because you love the process; you will do it no matter the outcome.  I love the process and have been very fortunate but there are times in life things do not sell.   Make art for you and your soul!  Make it your best friend and nurture it! Believe me it will feed you just give it time.  Sometimes it takes a year or more to see what you had accomplished--you may not see it immediately. And that is ok.  It is all part of the process.

If you wish, please share with us any other aspect of your art life—professionally and/or personally—that hasn’t been answered in the above questions.

I feel blessed to have my ART.  Thank you for the opportunity to share my journey.

For what one thing would you like to be remembered? 

Mother of twins each bringing new joy into this complex world with their unique creativity and style.

Describe yourself in one word.    

?????? still thinking……

Susie Kelly FlatauComment