Megan Seiter won the Still life/Botanical Award in the this year with their work Revival. Megan’s work celebrates the colour and texture of natural forms, presented in compositions that are both understated and monumental. In this interview Megan shares her thoughts on the importance of lighting and the best materials to use for achieving results that are sensitive to the subjects that she portrays.
Megan: I was fortunate to be exposed to a breadth and variety of art forms at an early age. My mother was an artist, and our family was surrounded by an eclectic community of calligraphers, stone carvers, letterpress printers, and illustrators. I was invited to participate in art classes and exhibits. I became acquainted with many different forms of art, but I was most excited about drawing. In fact, the course of my education was shaped by my eagerness to learn to draw. In high school I attended a pre-college art program at Rhode Island School of Design where I learned technical art skills. In college, I studied art and Italian language for a semester at Scuola Leonardo da Vinci in Rome, Italy, and I was able to copy Old Masters’ work from life. In 2009 I received my BFA in General Fine Arts from Maryland Institute College of Art, and moved to California to pursue a career as an artist.
Megan: Building a composition is the first and most critical element in my process. I try to create a captivating image by arranging my subject with natural light. I use reference photos so that I can work steadily and methodically. When I begin the drawing, I lay down the darkest shadow so that I can establish a full range of value from black to white. I learned (the hard way) that if I don’t start with shadows my values tend to stay somewhere in the middle, which makes for a lacklustre drawing. As I develop the drawing I’ll often step back from my drafting table to examine the composition as a whole. This helps me determine if I’ve become overly-focused on a single section of the drawing in a way that will disrupt the overall look of the piece. I also turn my drawing sideways and upside-down as I draw, shifting my perspective to reveal mistakes I’ve made or details I’ve missed.