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An Interview with Paintdrips

Updated on April 4, 2016
PAINTDRIPS profile image

Denise has been studying and teaching art and painting for 40 years. She has won numerous prestigious awards for her art and design.

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It seems strange for me to interview myself but I was inspired by a writing challenge that went on almost two years ago. So I wasn’t around for the original challenge but I am here now and I am intrigued.

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Why Paintdrips

To start with, why Paintdrips as a nom de plume? Actually I wanted Dancing Paintbrush which is the name of my website and my alter ego… but that was taken. Paintdrips really describes me because I am always painting or drawing or dripping. The family story I hate most only because it keeps coming up even today, is about me spilling ink on my parent’s tan (almost white) living room rug. I loved working with pen and ink back then. You know the kind? It involves a nib and handle that you have to dip into an ink bottle because there is no ink actually in the pen. I love the old fashioned feel of the ink and scratch, scratch of the nib on paper. My bad habit involved spreading out on the floor in front of the living room TV to watch and create at the same time. It was a disaster asking to happen, but I was only 12 at the time.

To tell the truth, my parents hated that carpet and wanted to replace it but were waiting for enough extra money. My ink spot only hurried the situation along. That year my siblings went around singing, “I’m gettin’ nothin’ for Christmas, Mommy and Daddy are mad. I’m gettin’ nothin’ for Christmas, cause I ain’t been nothin’ but bad.” Remember that song? Well, I do. They emphasized the part of the song about “Spilled some ink on Mommy’s rug, somebody snitched on me…” They thought they were so funny. Every time someone came over, they were sure to get a tour of the place I spilled ink. No one even mentioned that I won an award for the picture I created during that disaster.

The next year they replaced that carpet and I breathed a sigh of relief. Finally it was gone and the proof that I had been careless. Yes? No. That was not to be. To this very day, 50 years later, it will invariably come up at some family get together about the spilled ink on the rug, or someone will sing the song and look over at me. I shall never live it down, I am convinced. So Paintdrips suits me for a handle.

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Me with my famous paper mache Capricorn.  I made this in high school in the 70's.
Me with my famous paper mache Capricorn. I made this in high school in the 70's. | Source
I even got my picture in the paper because of this Capricorn creation.
I even got my picture in the paper because of this Capricorn creation. | Source

Why interview myself? I have a few reasons. I love to tell stories and this is the perfect venue. However, I have been here at Hubpages for a year plus now and only know a handful of people well. I was over a year at the “other” place writing too but many of those writers are gone on to other things. I feel this is a good way to get to know more of my fellow hubbers.

The Challenge

Actually, another writer here on HubPages – Jennifer Arnett (aka Availiasvision) -- suggested these self-interviews as a writing prompt, as a way to introduce ourselves (or re-introduce ourselves) to other hubbers and build our community. Here’s her original challenge hub here:

Interview Yourself: A Writer's Challenge


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Great idea! The original challenge was motivated by Inside the Actor's Studio, where James Lipton interviews famous Hollywood stars in front of New York film students. He asked the same questions of each person on his show and got some fascinating answers. I am here utilizing those same questions.

  1. What is your favorite word?

Antidisestablishmentarianism. I feel so smart just typing it. It is the longest word in the dictionary and although it doesn’t come up often in sentences, I love that I know it.

2. What is your least favorite word?

Masticate. It isn’t a bad word but it just sounds so creepy to say. I would say Hate or Jealousy or any racist words, but those are already taken but greater minds and writers than I.

3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

Music. I love classical violin especially but any soothing instrumental music puts me in a creative, happy place, filled with birds and butterflies, sweet breezes and loving thoughts. My favorite violinist is Joshua Bell, closely followed by DSharp. I also adore the piano music of Helen Jane Long.

4. What turns you off creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

Loud harsh noises and voices. We live near an airport and occasionally I have to stop everything I’m doing to let the plane pass because it is so uproariously loud, it pulls me out of my happy place.

5. What sound or noise do you love?

Children laughing. Oh and my husband laughing. I get so tickled just to hear him laugh out loud! His voice is as smooth as butter and I could listen to him talk for the rest of my life!

6. What sound or noise do you hate?

Children crying. Or my husband upset about something. I’d rather take a bullet than to hear pain in his voice.

7. What is your favorite curse word?

Poop. I don’t use it too often but when I do, the family runs scared.

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

Ballerina. I wanted to dance when I was young. That ship has sailed, I’m sad to say. A ballerina usually only dances for a total of 40 years before the wear on the joints is too much. But I used to dream about dancing, now I draw and paint dancers. It’s still in me, I think.

9. What profession would you not like to do?

An Accountant. I can’t think of a worse purgatory for an artist than to have to live life with numbers alone.

10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

She’s here! Someone set up the easel and paints next to Da Vinci and Mucha.

Challenge Questions.

In the spirit of Inside the Actor’s Studio, there are a list of challenge questions to answer and I have decided to answer them here also.

In the film version of your autobiography, who would you like to play yourself?

I simply love Sandra Bullock. Okay so I don’t look anything like her but I love her work and think it would be so cook to have her play me. She could pull it off because she is so sweet.

What quality or talent do you wish you could cultivate?

Ballet. Okay, so I said this before but I know it can’t happen. I used to be able to do the splits, lay both hands on the floor while standing, grab my heel and straighten my knee pulling my foot straight up, but those days are gone. After arthritis in both hips and 2 hip replacements, I’m doing good to walk, let alone dance en toe. But I can dream, can’t I?

Who is your favorite fictional character ever?

Anne of Green Gables. That girl had a lovely attitude and sweet spirit. She lived through hard times and silly mistakes, and took it all with grace and humility. I thought she was the kind of girl I wanted to be. Our heroes, live or fictional should bring out the best in us, don’t you think?

My illustration for the cover of Anne of Green Gables.
My illustration for the cover of Anne of Green Gables. | Source
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Have you taken the writers challenge?

See results

If you could have the career of any author, who would it be?

I admire Jack London because he did a lot of things, went a lot of places and then wrote from real experience. Actually, I have a real attraction for this author’s books because of something that happened when I was only 13.

I had a vision problem that went undiagnosed for many years. No one realized I couldn’t see and I was 12 going on 13 when I finally got glasses. Before that, I hated books. Reading gave me headaches because I had to hold the book so close to my nose and squint. By 13, I was pretty far behind in reading and comprehension so I had some catching up to do, but I still equated reading with pain. One day my dad threw a book at me. What’s this? He said he saw it on the shelf and thought of me. I have to say I was stupefied. First of all, my dad never bought us presents, and if he did he never played favorites. We all got something or none of us got it. So for him to buy me a book, me, just me. A book. It was Call of the Wild by Jack London. If my mother had gotten it for me, I may never have read it. It was because my Dad got it. The Dad who never bought me anything. How could I not read it? It was a struggle at first but I managed to get into the story of the dog dognapped from his comfy home in California and stolen away to Alaska as a husky. I love that book and I began reading other books after that. But that was the beginning and I will never forget the surprise, elation and confusion of receiving that first book at 13.

What inspires you?

I often get a lot of inspiration from looking at other artist’s work. Even photographers inspire me. I love the fine art photography of Brooke Shaden and Aaron Nace. I love to look at digital artist’s work like Tyler Jacobson and Jason Engle. And then there are the classics: art by Jan Vermeer, Alphonse Mucha, and Maxfield Parrish. Not to mention, there are the great children’s book illustrators that I admire, like Beatrix Potter, N.C. Wyeth, and Maurice Sendak. I could go on and on because of lot of art inspires me. There are days when I don’t feel up the challenge of even hoping to be great like any of them. Then there are days when I know I’m good enough and will make my mark as well.

When did you first realize you were a writer?

I’ve never thought of myself as a writer. Writers are like Hemingway and Jack London, not me. However, I have always been a storyteller. It gets me into trouble often. People usually want me to get to the point and I want to tell the whole story with embellishments. My husband is constantly telling me to get to bottom line and finish the story. I don’t want to get the bottom lime before I’ve set the stage and built up the suspense. Perhaps that is what a writer is after all: a storyteller who writes it all down.

Illustration for the Mr Sticky book.
Illustration for the Mr Sticky book. | Source

Still, I am an artist. I paint. I paint anything and everything in a representational manner. That means I’m a realist and not an abstract artist. I prefer to paint and draw the things of creation as they were created but I have found a little bit of fantasy art to be a fun occasional diversion. I’ve learned to create fine art photography pieces where people float, have wings, walk the bottom of the ocean, etc. Those are fun. Mostly I want to continue being a children’s book illustrator. I love children. I love children’s books. What better than to illustrate for children’s books? It has long been my dream and is only recently becoming a reality.

Fallen Soldier.
Fallen Soldier. | Source

My thanks

I really want to thank Chris Desatoff (YouGet1Shot) who lead me to Jennifer Arnett (Availasvision), the original challenger, and Bill Holland (billybuc), the encourager, for giving me this idea and writing challenge.

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Your Interviews

Here are just a few of other fun self-interviews. Check them out.

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Cool Comments Welcome

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    • PAINTDRIPS profile image
      Author

      Denise McGill 3 months ago from Fresno CA

      DREAM ON,

      Thanks for your kind thoughts. I'm not sure I have real courage. Sometimes we just have to face hard stuff and keep going. I'm not sure I draw stick figures well either but I've worked a long time and dedicated a lot of hours to work on drawing realistically. I'm glad you approve. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • DREAM ON profile image

      DREAM ON 3 months ago

      Your hub was interesting and I did not want it to end. I admire people with courage because they are able to face all obstacles and keep going. You have some unbelievable talent. I am lucky if I can draw two stick figures. Have a beautiful night.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image
      Author

      Denise McGill 2 years ago from Fresno CA

      MartieCoetser,

      Thank you. I love to laugh... mostly at myself. It is great therapy. I don't know why more people don't laugh and laugh often. It's so much better than fighting and crying. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 2 years ago from South Africa

      Nice to meet you, Paintdrips! I enjoyed this interview tremendously, and I love your sense of humor :)

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image
      Author

      Denise McGill 2 years ago from Fresno CA

      CorneliaMladenova,

      So true. It was a work of art and could be worth a lot of money someday but they didn't see the potential. Sad, really. :D Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • CorneliaMladenova profile image

      Korneliya Yonkova 2 years ago from Cork, Ireland

      Your art is amazing, Denise and you are amazing person. You should be proud of yourself for decorating the family carpet and I wonder why have they replaced it. It is art and it should be appreciated. What a pity not everybody thinks like me :D

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image
      Author

      Denise McGill 2 years ago from Fresno CA

      Gypsy Rose Lee,

      Thank you so much for visiting. I enjoyed doing it more than I thought I would. It was fun.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image
      Author

      Denise McGill 2 years ago from Fresno CA

      phoenix2327,

      It is pretty awesome. The first time I got an illustration published I thought I was over the moon. They paid me a pittance but it wasn't as much about the money as it was about the joy of being published! Congrats to you. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 2 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Enjoyed this a lot and nice to get to know you better.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      I remember when I had a story of mine published for our writers' group 30th anniversary anthology. It was cool when I realised I could now call myself a 'published author'. :)

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image
      Author

      Denise McGill 2 years ago from Fresno CA

      phoenix2327,

      Well, It was over 7 feet tall and wouldn't fit in my home today. However I have made a few more conservative paper mache creations since then. Thanks for the idea, though. I may have to think about that. It was great to have my picture in the paper. I saved it.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      Oh, I am sorry your family felt that way. But how exciting to have it pictured in the newspaper.

      Have you thought of maybe recreating it and putting in a place of honour in your home? Ooo...I bet it would be pretty awesome. :)

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image
      Author

      Denise McGill 2 years ago from Fresno CA

      phoenix2327,

      Oh that is funny. My family complained terribly about that thing. "Where are we going to put THAT? Can't you donate it someplace? Get rid of that THING!" etc. I ended up cutting off the unicorn head and mounting it on the wall so I could at least keep part of it. It was my very first photo in the newspaper though. Some writer came around and photographed the whole art classes projects with paper mache and the used me with mine in paper. I remember I was sitting there in the living room minding my own business while dad was reading the paper and then he started yelling. "Why didn't you tell us you were getting your picture in the paper?" How could I know? It's not like the writer told us which photo they were going to choose when they took the pictures. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      Well, it was a pleasure getting to know you better. You're such a talented woman. Your illustrations have a homey and comforting way about them. I think, though, my favourite has to be the paper mache Capricorn. I think it's wonderful.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image
      Author

      Denise McGill 2 years ago from Fresno CA

      Venkatachari M,

      Thank you for checking it out. Have you taken the challenge to interview yourself? It was fun. You should try it. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Very much interesting interview of yourself. Enjoyed knowing about some of your interests and experiences. You met the challenge very beautifully. The images are all awesome. Thanks for sharing all this.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image
      Author

      Denise McGill 2 years ago from Fresno CA

      Thank you, dear MsDora. I appreciate that. I don't know if I'm a great storyteller, but I am a compulsive one. And wasn't Jesus a storyteller too? I'm in good company. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Denise, you painted a very interesting picture of yourself in words . Truly, you're a great storyteller -- and an inspiration. Thanks for this beautiful presentation.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image
      Author

      Denise McGill 2 years ago from Fresno CA

      billybuc,

      Well, thank you very much. I always look for your comments. They mean a lot to me coming from you. I hope you appreciate the mentor and icon you have become around here. Thank you for encouraging me to do this interview by your example. It was fun.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image
      Author

      Denise McGill 2 years ago from Fresno CA

      Rachel L Alba,

      Thank you so much for checking my answers out. I know exactly what you mean by LONG hubs. Some get just too wordy, but when it's interesting, it's all worth it. I'm so glad I made this one interesting enough to keep you reading. It think art is it. Art keeps people looking even when they want to turn away, don't you think? Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      That was fun....loved that picture of you from your youth, and very interesting to learn more about you. Well done, a great read.

    • Rachel L Alba profile image

      Rachel L Alba 2 years ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

      Hi Paintdrips, What a creative hub. I really enjoyed it and I don't usually read long hubs. I love the answer to the question about "what turns you on creatively?" I think your paintings are lovely. Thanks for sharing.

      Blessings to you.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image
      Author

      Denise McGill 2 years ago from Fresno CA

      Carb Diva,

      I'm humbled and gratified. Thank you for thinking I'm amazing. I'm certainly glad you like my artwork too. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 2 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Paintrips - I loved this interview. Your artwork simply astounds me, and I knew you would (have to be) an amazing person. You are. Thank you so much for sharing this part of yourself with us.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image
      Author

      Denise McGill 2 years ago from Fresno CA

      sallybea,

      Thank you so much. I have an intuition about you too. Not that I'm gifted that way but I think you must be a special person just for taking the time to say I am. Haha. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image
      Author

      Denise McGill 2 years ago from Fresno CA

      SusanDeppner,

      Oh Thank you. You have always been such a good friend and encourager. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      I did not want you to get to the bottom line. I very much enjoyed learning more about you. Call it intuition or sixth sense but I have always had a sense of the person behind the words and I definitely enjoyed meeting her. Thank you for sharing.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 2 years ago from Arkansas USA

      I knew I'd enjoy your interview (your story) and I did, thoroughly.

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