One of the first artists I ever interviewed for this blog told me that throwing paint on a canvas is liberating.
In true skeptical DIY April style I had to do a little research first.
Enter Matt Moffett… the perfect artist and teacher to give me the answers I needed.
Matt was a beginner himself until age 25.
“One of my dogs died kind of right in front of me and I had to leave for this final,” said Moffett.
He was teaching Spanish at the University of Tulsa.
“Broke my heart and I looked anywhere and everywhere for anybody to paint a portrait of my dog,” said Moffett. “I couldn’t find anybody so I just kind of took the challenge of doing it myself.”
There was one little problem though. Matt had never painted before.
“Well I went to Zeigler’s… our little mom and pop local store here in Tulsa and walked in and said can you show me how to oil paint? The owner, that’s always there and always working in the art store, said yeah sure no problem.”
“I painted a portrait of my dog and then my friends started going wow paint mine.”
That was 16 years ago. Matt went on to make these amazing pet portraits that even non-animal lovers gotta love (see below). It feels like I’m getting to know each pet personality while looking at the pieces.
Matt finds meaning in all artwork… even what he calls a DIY Pollock.
Jackson Pollock was one of the first artists to sling and drip paint on a canvas and call it art.
Moffett uses the technique at the Tulsa Girls Art School that he started.
“One person can do it, or it can be a group project. It can be a family project. It can be something to do with your grandparents… with anybody. It’s pretty easy.”
Click play below to hear how Matt Moffett started is changing the lives of young girls with his art school.
First, he puts a base color on the canvas. Matt recommends black or gold to bring out the other colors.
“We fill dollar store ketchup bottles with watered down acrylics… not super watery, just enough so where it slings a little easier.”
They key is in the paint color combinations.
“You’re slinging paint and you want it to be about the colors, but slinging the paint does it all for you.”
Don’t worry about buying a ton of different colors.
“It’s amazing. If you take even three colors of red, blue and yellow and just fling it. It’s really nice because when it hits each other in different directions and different ways across the canvas it mixes slightly.”
Keep colors simple your first time.
“If you’re just starting one, maybe primaries would be great. Maybe some black and white if you already have a base color on your canvas.”
Another artist secret is if you want your bright colors to pop, add dull colors.
“Unless you have duller colors on your canvas too, the other colors won’t pop.”
Matt says if everything is all bright and shiny it looks kind of flat.
My next question was how do you decide the direction of the slinging?
“Don’t just sling from one side of the canvas. Walk through all sides of the canvas and sling from different directions.”
Then, just one more simple step.
“Put a nice coat of varnish on it and it’s ready to hang in your living room.”
Matt says it’s therapeutic and you’ll lose track of time.
“It’s really a healing experience I believe.”
Now Moffett does a bigger variety of paintings and he’s well-known in the area where we live. He did the artwork for the poster of a big event called Tulsa International Mayfest that runs from May 14 through May 17.
I look forward to the show every year.
You can see all of Matt Moffett’s art at Mayfest. Or your can check out his website.
I got to thinking about Matt after the interview. What if he never had a dog that died? Would he have discovered his talent?
And what if you have an undiscovered talent? We’re all good at something.
Oh! A bit of exciting news… Susan Weaver, my friend and co-worker, surprised me with a portrait of my Chihuahua-pug Teeny this week for my 40th birthday! Susan also once taught art.
I’ll never forget her…. ever.