When we were in Jackson Hole this past month, I got to see some of Camille’s painting in the gallery that represents her. That was really a treat. Camille also paints landscapes, still life and flowers. She is a very accomplished artist.
Camille so kindly took time from her busy schedule to answer some questions for me.
1. How long have you been creating your art?
I began painting in the Autumn of the year 2000. During my 38-year career, I have moved from graphic design to oils, and from corporate logos to prestigious fine art exhibitions.
At the age of 23, I opened my own graphic design firm in Tulsa employing three others. In 1984, I moved to Nashville where I met my husband, Todd Engel. Together we established a new design firm, Engel Creative, specializing in logo design, advertising materials and packaging for clients such as Random House, Fruit of the Loom, MCA, RCA, and Warner/Curb.
In 2000, heeding advice to “Pursue the dream that burns inside,” I began oil painting, intuitively in a realistic style. My husband and I immediately realized this was where I needed to apply my talent so Todd took full control of the design firm and I began to paint.
I’m a “late bloomer”… But I found my passion!
2. Why did you choose your particular medium?
I LOVE oil paints! I love the smell, the buttery texture, and the color brilliance I can achieve with oil paints. I chose oil paints because the Masters, my historical predecessors, painted in oils and my goal is to create work that will last through time.
3. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Oh, wow… A tough question… Personally, I believe my greatest achievement is my perseverance and my ability to believe in myself no matter what the circumstances may be at that moment. No matter how talented a person is, it is tough earning a living as an artist, be he a writer, dancer, singer, actor or visual artist. One most often needs perseverance, determination and the ability to overcome all obstacles with a “No Excuses” attitude in order to pursue most dreams.
I often encourage other artists to just get up and swing at it, it doesn’t matter how often you “miss” your target, what matters is the elation you experience when you “hit” your target! I’m the only one who knows about all the rejections I receive if I only share my high-points! I can’t count how many times have I’ve heard someone in a great position share about the trials they experience before reaching that position… It’s all the lessons we learn in the process that allow us to grow and mature and master our craft in a deeper more meaningful way. If something comes easy, we often don’t have the appreciation and gratitude that transpires during our toughest moments.
4. What awards have you won? Within the past five years:
- BEST WILDLIFE: International Realism Exhibition, Palm Springs, CA, February 2010.
- PEOPLE’S CHOICE: CSAE Nationals 2010
- THREE TO WATCH, Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine, July/August 2010, chose Camille Engel as one of the nation’s “Three Artist’s to Watch” in the July/August issue.
- PEOPLE’S CHOICE: American Art in Miniature 2008, Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, OK, “Out on a Limb.”
- Related story in Western Art Collector Jan. 2009.
- BEST OF SHOW: Artclectic 2007, Nashville, TN.
- 3-yr. MUSEUM TOUR: “Sunflower at the Old Factory” is compared to a Vincent Van Gogh sunflower: The New Reality- The Frontier of Realism in the 21st Century.
- Related story in Southwest Art Magazine Aug. 2008.
- GILCREASE MUSEUM, Tulsa, OK: Engel’s painting, “My Little Chickadee” brought an “unprecedented bidding war” at American Art in Miniature 2007.
- MAGAZINE COVER Winner: The American Artist Magazine 2007 Cover Competition, May 2007 issue.
- ARTIST’S CHOICE: International Realism Exhibition, Santa Fe, NM, Sept. 2006.
- Related stories in Sept. ‘06 American Art Collector and Jan/Feb ‘07 The Artist’s Magazine; and [reproductions].
- LEADING MASTER OF CONTEMPORARY REALISM 2007 International Realism Exhibition, Cape Cod, MA.
- The Best of Realism: 2006 International Realism Exhibition, Cape Cod, MA.
5. Do you have a funny story related to your work?
My husband, Todd, and I have created a bird sanctuary surrounding our home/studio. When the French doors to my studio are open, hummingbirds have flown into the studio toward my colorful paintings… To the delight of studio visitors!
This moment gave me the idea for my Trespasser series of paintings. This series is a whimsical comment on how people destroy birds’ natural homes by their construction invasion, this series is based upon the thought, “what if birds were to take over our living environments!?” The “Trespasser Series” is a series of paintings to depict backyard birds who have trespassed into my studio and built their nests in my art supplies. Here is a link to that series: http://camille-engel.com/paintings/trespassers
6. Are you working on something new?
I am always working on something new. Since I paint in oils, I work on three to eight paintings at a time depending upon the size and difficulty of each piece. Right now, I have six paintings in various stages of completion, five are paintings of birds (three are hummingbirds), the other is a still life of an artichoke.
All the best,
Contemporary Realism Oil Paintings
6 1 5 2 8 9 2 2 6 4 c e l l
To follow my art journey on Twitter: http://twitter.com/CamilleEngelArt
See new work on Facebook: http://bit.ly/EngelFan
To see my corporate installations: http://camille-engel.com/installations
• Named one of our nation’s “Three Artists to Watch” by Fine Art Connoisseur magazine July/August 2010
• Camille’s bird paintings featured in the October 2010 American Art Collector and Southwest Art magazines.
• Featured in American Art Collector magazine “Small Works & Miniatures” November 2010
• Featured in the April 2011 American Art Collector and Southwest Art magazines.
• Look for Camille’s work in the October 2011 American Art Collector and Nashville Arts magazines.