Natasha Szmidt

what is your name?
Natasha Szmidt

how would you describe what you do?
I mostly do watercolor paintings. Pretty surreal or urban fantasy type work usually.

what are you currently working on?
I have a book cover I’m working on and also a couple of personal works that I’m mid. One is an adventure into acrylics, which I haven’t done too much of before.

what has had the greatest influence on your work?
I’ve always been interested in fairies and fantasy. I read the original Grimm Fairy Tales, things like that from an early age. I think that and my urge to express something beyond this physical mundanity, something which I feel is a very intimate truth that I wanted to find a way to convey.

what is the greatest misconception about you or your work?
I think a lot of people see these wings and assume these characters are supposed to be angels or fairies. Sometimes that’s true, but more often it’s not so literal.

what do you see as the main strengths and weaknesses of the medium you work in?
I personally love the way watercolors blend colors, how I can wet paint that has dried, and create layers of color. It’s more delicate and fine than acrylics, in my experience. But that is also its weakness : I know these paintings are not so easy to see from far away, on a wall or something. They are a more intimate experience than most wall art.

how has technology impacted upon the work you do?
A lot of ways. I do have some digital paintings, so the influence of technology there is obvious. But even with the watercolor, I can get a photo reference for anything, instantly. I can connect with other artists and learn techniques or get inspired by people on the opposite side of the planet.

what’s the greatest piece of advice you would like to pass on?
A lot of people get hung up on “oh I don’t know anatomy; I can’t draw”. No, that’s BS. There are so many artists who draw very abstract figures and I envy their skill. It’s intention of communication more than literal accuracy that is important.
Now, on the other hand, don’t ever use that as an excuse not to learn. Don’t say “it’s just my style”. That’s a cop out. Knowing the basics of how something really looks is essential to a good abstraction or caricature. Don’t ever draw something a certain way to avoid drawing something you don’t know how to do. Confront that weakness head on.
Basically, whether you draw things as they actually are or not, do it with intention, with purpose.

where can we find you online?

what are you reading at the moment?
Ivory and Horn by Charles de Lint

what are you listening to at the moment?
Lately I’ve been on a 90’s/2000’s alt rock trend

anything else we should know?
Whatever your art, do it every day. It’s a lot of work, but once you get into the mode of it it just keeps the wheels greased.

any suggestions for who we should interview next?
I think it would be amazing to interview Pierce Brown, Eric Whitacre, or Charles de Lint. Nicole Dragonbeck would also dig this.

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