Virmarie DePoyster
North Little Rock
Pastel, Acrylic, Mixed Media
19 years active
Gallery of representation:  The Art Group Gallery, Little Rock

What first drove you to create art? Are you still driven by the same urge(s), or has it evolved?

From an early age, I have always been curious and loved tinkering. I have a degree in Fashion Design and Merchandising. When the kids were young, I needed social interaction and a creative outlet, so I signed up for drawing classes at the Arkansas Arts Center Museum School to meet people and stay sane! I am a self-taught artist, and today, I see myself as a visual storyteller. I am methodical and plan a lot before any serious drawing or painting happens, which differs from when I first started.

At what point did you know you were an artist?

I have always known I am a maker. Whether in the backyard with flowers, in the kitchen trying to add as much color as possible to a dish, or at the easel. After much blood, sweat, and tears, I woke up one day not caring if I ruined a painting, and I knew then I was an artist.  

If you work in multiple mediums, what do you love about each one?  

I love the immediacy of pastels and how I can select a palette and walk away for a week, and it’s all there. I also love marks, lines, and making interesting shapes with a pencil and pastel because it creates movement.

During the COVID lockdown, I fell in love with acrylics and crunchy texture, which opened up a world of new shapes and possibilities.

What does your creative routine look like? How do you maintain this schedule along with other life priorities?

I get up every day, shower, put makeup on, and go to work. I learned a long time ago that if I did that, it felt like going to work even if I wasn’t getting paid. I paint daily from 9 to 4 and stop then because I love to cook dinner!

“Passive” by Virmarie DePoyster

How have you managed to support yourself as an artist?

I am privileged that my husband has supported my art career for many years and covers my studio rent when sales don’t happen and I cannot. He is my biggest fan, supports my wild ideas, and encourages me to keep going and try new things. I have also been fortunate to receive AIE grants through the Arkansas Arts Council, to teach, and to sell paintings to help pay the studio rent, but it is a constant struggle to make a living as a creative.  

What new trends in art do you find intriguing?

Before COVID, I was really fascinated with bold colors and how they interacted with each other. When the stress and pressure of the lockdown happened, I couldn’t look at bright colors anymore. It was almost as if they made my eyes hurt. So, without the models, I started trying to play with more grey, soft palettes, and I found joy in more quiet abstract paintings.

How do you feel about the demands of social media and self-promotion to thrive as an artist today? 

I am an introverted person who thrives in solitude and nature. Social media makes me feel very exposed and vulnerable. Still, it is a beneficial part of my art practice because people are so curious about the life of an artist. I see the benefit in sharing my work with others, but often, making content, setting up the camera, remembering if I hit the button to record, etc, just gets in the way of my rhythm. So, I often consciously ignore making content and let it be what it is.

Where do you think your artistic journey is leading you?

I am excited to kick off Healing Arts—a therapeutic art program for CARTI [Central Arkansas Radiation Therapy Institute] patients, caregivers, and staff—in the coming months. I love sharing how artistic exploration and the challenge of creating stretch individuals, quiet the thinking brain, and encourage risk-taking while engaging physically and cognitively.