Sag Harbor-based Ben Fenske talks about his latest “muse,” his urge to always create art and more.
What was the inspiration for this piece?
Every once in a while a muse will pop into my life. The model for this painting was a muse. I did many paintings of her in everyday situations. In this case, she happened to be working in her garden when I saw her and asked her to pose.
Talk about your art style.
I am inspired by the painters of the turn of the last century and by the Soviet-era impressionists. In some way I try to imitate the styles of painting from those periods. I use traditional materials, oil paint put on canvas with brushes mostly.
Tell us about your artistic process.
I don’t have a set process or schedule. Many times I’ll have an idea based on an experience or something that I’ve seen and I’ll try to recreate that so I can paint it. Other times, something will catch my eye and I’ll set up and try to capture it. I make many sketches and starts, often without a direction. I like to start a big painting and then put it away for a week or two. This way I have many canvases going at once.
If you weren’t an artist what would you be doing?
That’s a difficult question. I’ve been painting and drawing as long as I can remember. It is something that i need to do everyday. It can be a curse or a blessing.
What inspires you the most?
When I’m in the right space everything is inspiring. I also draw inspiration from other painters and works of art.
See more of Ben Fenske’s work at Grenning Gallery, 26 Main Street, Sag Harbor, grenninggallery.com.