We were lucky to catch up with Kevin Inman recently and have shared our conversation below.
Kevin, looking forward to hearing all of your stories today. Can you talk to us about how you learned to do what you do?
I think the best way to improve, whether it’s a hobby or something you want to do professionally, is to follow your passion. I’ve been painting since I was in high school, and it’s always been a labor of love.
Is there a way I could have ‘sped up’ my learning process? As an art teacher, I tend to think that learning is a slow, iterative process. It’s OK to get frustrated, it’s OK if we try things and fail. I learned a lot in school, but I learned more just by doing. I took classes, visited museums, read books, listened to lectures and artist talks, and spent time painting. I didn’t set out to have a career in the arts- I just wanted to enjoy my passion for painting and one thing led to another.
I always encourage my students to stop and ask if they are enjoying themselves- if not, take a break, and try something else.
Kevin, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
I’m a landscape painter in San Diego, CA. Five days a week, I go out to paint landscapes on location. Most of my plein air landscapes are small, and my supplies weigh only about five pounds, which makes it easy to walk or ride my bike to my chosen painting spot.
I tend to like to paint the things around me, so my paintings turn into a chronicle of the places I go and the things I see there. Many of my pictures have an everyday quality to them; urban neighborhoods and suburban scenes often catch my eye. After moving from Sherman Heights to Ocean Beach last year, I find myself on the coast a lot more, and am really enjoying painting the natural landscapes of the Sunset Cliffs and beaches.
Working on location lets an artist experience the world, and when I look back at my plein air paintings, they are charged with memories of places, light, color, weather, and the people who come up to talk to artists working in the street.
When I do a small painting, I don’t plan anything other than choosing a location. Each time, I like to challenge myself by varying my color palette, painting medium, and technical approach. I have a different approach for creating my larger pieces. With those, a picture comes into my mind and I need to figure out how to make that mental image into a reality. Usually I start with small diagrams and studies and let the piece develop at its own pace, and may find myself exploring different themes than I typically would while painting outside.
I love outdoor painting because it is free of baggage; I am just in the moment, enjoying the activity.
Is there something you think non-creatives will struggle to understand about your journey as a creative? Maybe you can provide some insight – you never know who might benefit from the enlightenment.
Whatever your chosen career, bringing passion, dedication, and hard work to the table are the keys to success. People who work outside the arts may not realize the amount of time and effort that goes in to art careers, and on the flip side of that, people who work in the arts may not recognize the creativity and energy that people bring to other fields.
We probably overestimate the importance of talent and underestimate the importance of the amount of work that people put in.
: Is there a particular goal or mission driving your creative journey?
I try to approach painting without a specific agenda. Over months of work, themes emerge and a body of work develops, and sometimes a series of plein air paintings sparks ideas, or sets of ideas, that I want to explore further.
The only thing I can control is the painting- so the only goal I set myself is to try to do a good painting, and have fun doing it.
- Website: https://www.kevininman.com
- Instagram: http://instagram.com/inman.kevin/
- Facebook: http://facebook.com/kevininman