Q&A with 2020 artist, DJ Cleland-Hura
We had the pleasure of chatting with our 2020 winning artist, DJ Cleland-Hura, about a variety of topics this fall.
This was DJ’s first time entering our art competition and he won with a beautiful painting featuring a pair of Northern Pintails (“Come Spring – Northern Pintail”).
To see more of DJ’s work, please visit his website: www.griffonworks.com
What have you been working on since you completed the winning pintail painting?
My wife works in production in animated feature films and I have been helping to design concept art for these films. One film I had worked on that was called “Fire Heart”. As well I have been working on personal commission work such as portraits for clients.
What is your favourite thing to paint?
It used to be birds/animals but now I appreciate the emotional quality of landscapes, especially water, whether turbulent and chaotic or calm and reflective, etc.
What was your process for painting the pintails?
It started as an abstract composition which you can see in the reflection of the reeds, but then highlighted the ducks with strong lighting to provide a nice contrast. I spend many hours just sitting down by the water observing it and watching the ripples.
How long did it take you to paint the pintails?
It took man hours of research and studying but only about 3 hours to paint the actually piece. I believe in getting 95% of the painting done and then spending that remaining 5% fine tuning all the small details.
Tell me about your work with Magic the Gathering.
I would have many fans send in cards to be signed but the real prize is having an artist paint over top of the card and that makes it a rare collectable. I painted mostly landscape cards, one of the well known one was called “plains” and was a favourite among collectors. One card I did was a swamp card, and usually the landscape cards do not contain any creatures but I had hidden a small creature in this swamp card and the players of Magic the Gathering really enjoyed it, it became a sought after card.
Can you tell me about your experience working with Pixar?
I had the opportunity to design concept art for the film “Finding Nemo”. I specialized in the underwater landscapes so everything from the colorful, vibrant coral reefs, to the dark and ominous deep ocean scenes. I also had the opportunity to teach at Pixar University which is a school they have at the Pixar head office. I would teach oil painting to the artists who worked there.
How long have you been following WHC and the stamp program?
Since the very beginning, I remember begging my parents to buy a print of Robert Bateman’s first stamp painting, which they did. I was a big fan of Bateman’s work and was a big inspiration for the way I paint.
Will you be entering the into the WHC art competition again?
Yes for sure!