As Donald Maier passed away in 2015, his wife, Suzie, kindly answered our interview.
First, where was he from and what did he enjoy the most about this place?
He was raised in Neptune, New Jersey. As the Atlantic ocean was near, he enjoyed snorkeling and scuba-diving.
Where was he the most inspired to paint? What inspired him the most to paint?
Don loved nature and his favorite places to paint were remote locations of natural beauty, where he could paint in peace. As an art student, his inspirations came from Sargent, Homer, Wyeth, and Remington.
What is the story behind his subjects? What did he prefer to paint?
He loved to paint the environment: seascapes with lighthouses and palm-trees or Landmarks like national parks forests. He liked to draw quick-live portraits as well as still objects, like airplanes or houses, barns, old buildings.
When did he discover his talent? And was it because of a person, an event, a specific situation?
Don had a natural talent for drawing as a kid. His two aunts were artists and his father realizing this, gifted Don a John Neggy oil paint set for Christmas when he was 13.
Can you tell us about his favorite setup to paint?
He loved to paint in his studio, with his morning or afternoon coffee and some classical music or his favorite TV show on. His other favorite setup is outside with some coffee, water, and endless sceneries.
Did he have a fellow partner (a dog, a cat,…) when painting or did he prefer being alone?
When he was going on painting trips or "vacations" as he called them, he loved to bring the family with him. In the studio, our 4 cats kept him company in the studio.
Can you explain how different his painting technique was from the acrylic paint used with paint by numbers?
In acrylic paint by numbers, you have delimited numbered areas, and no mixing needed. Acrylic paint dries fast.
While his favorite medium was watercolor. He used no pencil lines, no opaque white, and no black. Instead, he used Veridian green mixed with Alizarin Crimson or Prussian Blue and Burnt Sienna. He used to mass in a large area of color (isolating the white space, often making this piece the focal point) and worked from the lightest tones to the darkest ones. You need to allow time for it to dry when necessary to achieve a hard or dry brush edge.
What do you think would be his piece of advice to share with a beginner regarding… a technique, an angle, a piece of equipment?
His advice would probably be ~ to paint something you enjoy, and just keep on painting (practice makes perfect) and never give up. A friend was ready to throw in the towel, but Don told him not to give up, and just keep at it. Now he's a professional artist, getting awards for his work!
What is your funniest memory about Donald painting?
Don was very focused when he painted but lots of funny memories at home and on our painting trips. This is one I'll always remember ~ every year we went on painting trips to our favorite haunts, met and paint with other artists, and visited friends along the way. At one point I asked him to stop at a rest area because I wanted to stretch my legs. He looked at me lovingly and reminded me kindly: "I am so sorry sweetheart, but no matter how many times you stretch your legs, you won't get any taller." Don was 5' 8" to my small 4' 7" petite Asian frame.