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Meeting with an artist: Zarina Situmorang

In its portraits, Sennelier honors his favorite artists. Artists from all over the world with singular universes. For this 7th artist portrait, discover the self-taught oil painter Zarina Situmorang. 

Can you tell us about your artistic background? 

For my family art was not a career. They thought that only talented kids can become artists. I wasn’t the one. That’s why I’ve started pursuing a career in journalism. In my free time, I took photographs and edited them. However, I felt that it wasn’t enough, I was craving to become a real artist. So I left the university to learn how to draw and paint. And I’ve never regretted this decision (well, to be honest, maybe once or twice when I was depressed but let's not count that).

Do you have a favourite or regular technique? What do you like the most about this technique?

I love oil paints! I prefer to work in layers. On the first layer, I give myself a chance to make a bad painting just to get used to what I create. I’m always worried about everything so this sloppy layer is lowering the pressure. It’s the worst way the painting can look. Everything that I do next will only be making the painting look better.

In your opinion, what is the most important art material for an artist and why? 

At first, I wanted to say something like - the most important is having inspiration, artistic vision, and motivation while materials don’t matter as much. But then I realized that I had issues with canvases! We always tend to talk a lot about paints and how important they are. For me, the biggest pain was to find good canvases. I use blending a lot and even a slight change in value can ruin it. Poor quality primers and canvases can soak a lot of oil from paint, leading to dry spots and random changes in color and value. It may not be noticeable on bolder brushstrokes but for thin layers it’s dangerous. Through trial and error, I’ve found perfect ones and now I can paint without worrying. Having good art materials is important. A talented artist can create a masterpiece with a stick but having good brushes, paints, canvases, and so on is crucial. It affects everything - your technique, efforts you put into an artwork, the result, and its preservation. 

 Do you have a favourite colour or art material?  

I’m in love with vermilion oil paints. At first, it seems almost orange but when you add white it turns into such a sweet fresh, and cute color that I just can’t hold my emotions.

How do you organize your palette of colours?

I had big issues with colors! To the point when I had to paint only in monochrome to be able to understand fully what I’m doing and why. Then I was introduced to the Zorn palette - white, yellow ochre, cadmium red, and ivory black. It’s my favorite one to this day!I add burnt umber to it because I love browns. And a lot of different reds when I need to paint glow 

Tell us more about your style and your influences.

I’m a huge fan of realism. Being able to depict reality was always magic to me. I’m in love with light. It's the thing that I can paint endlessly - smooth transition, one color flows into the other one. And, of course, hands. Gestures can say so much without words.

What’s the best thing about being an artist today? And the most challenging one?

Social media is the best! It gives a lot of artists the ability to find their audience, build relationships and make a living. And at the same time, it’s the most challenging one! You need to be dedicated, open, honest, and also, sometimes you can feel unprotected and overwhelmed.

Do you have an advice to share with beginners? 

Theory and practice should always be together! If you’ve learned something you need to practice it. And always remember that if your art doesn’t look good to you - it’s not because you are not talented. You just need to keep going. Eventually, you’ll achieve your goals.

Can you tell us about your actualities, your future projects?

This year I’ll be taking part in two exhibitions - a group show and a personal one in Australia at the Beinart gallery. I hope that I’ll also have some time to teach, experiment, work on my book, and have fun. That’s all the plans for this year.  

Follow Zarina on :

Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/zarinasart/?hl=fr 

Youtube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChNVgX9qY3H0qzOJFsvgw6Q ;