For almost 15 years after college, Daniel Pollera took a sabbatical from painting, but this didn’t affect his love of the sea. He obtained a Captain’s License in 1977 from the United States Coast Guard and took passengers for hire on the open ocean, which inspired him to return to painting with the sea as his subject. As a primarily self-taught artist who creates highly realistic coastal landscape paintings, we wanted to chat with Dan about how he's come to so successfully combine his love of the sea and painting. Read on for our conversation with Dan where we dive into his artistic process.
Where are you from originally and where do you work now?
I am originally from Malverne, Long Island and now live in Baldwin Harbor, Long Island.
How would you describe your work?
I am considered a contemporary realist.
How did you get started as an artist? What about the coast inspired you to paint it?
The inspiration came first, at a very young age being drawn toward boats and the water. Drawing was something I was attracted to in early grade school which developed into painting.
What is your artistic process? Walk us through how you create a painting.
Inspiration is the key to my process of developing a painting. The inspiration fuels the passion and then my skillfulness takes over. If I am out in my boat and perceive something that moves me I will take several photos for information and reference (like the above). Once back in the studio those photos will set the starting phase for the piece. From there I will process and create by making sketches of what I want from the photo. Modify and take things out and even change the light. This is being creative with the intent of following my inspired thoughts. From there the painting takes on a world of its own with me being the director, this is my voice.
Is there anything particularly challenging about the process?
There are always challenges; you just never know where they will show up.
How do you know when a painting is complete?
It’s intuitive to know when a painting is complete. But sometimes I will go back and make some adjustments after viewing for a few days.
You do commission paintings sometimes. What’s that like? Is it different from your regular process?
Commissions are very dissimilar, because you are restricted to paint what the patron wants. I will use my creativity to a degree and try to comprehend the vision of the client.
Are there any artists who have inspired you or your work?
Many over the years, but the first has to be Edward Hopper. Pronounced emotion through Light for me.
In 5 words or less, what is your goal as an artist?
Keep painting, and enjoy it.
Aside from painting, what do you do for fun?
When not painting I fish and clam, and enjoy cooking what I catch. I love the sea and this is my world, my voice as an artist.
See more of Dan Pollera's paintings here.