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Check out Norm Daniels’s Artwork

Today we’d like to introduce you to Norm Daniels.

Norm, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
When I was a kid I always wanted a Drum Set for my birthday. My parents, much to the delight of our neighbors, bought me some art supplies, instead. My dad was a very good cartoonist, he showed me how to draw “toons”. Soon there was not a blank corner of any paper, including homework, that didn’t have some doodle scribbled on it. I had the good fortune to be born in beautiful San Diego and have lived here all my life. During college I studied Residential Architectural Design and soon began designing beautiful custom homes for a small construction firm in Poway. Seeing perspective and design always came fairly comfortably for me, so once I took up painting with Oil Paint, it seemed natural to paint buildings and broad sweeping vistas. I still enjoy the cartoon world, as well. I love to paint the wacky worlds of whimsy and mirth. Inspired by Dr Seuss, Rick Griffin and so many others: everything is possible in a cartoon.

It’s funny how life is….I always wanted to paint “full time” but it wasn’t until I had a small series of Strokes that I was able to retire from my “real job” and live my dream job….which isn’t a job at all. Kinda wish I had done so earlier.

I enjoy my cool family; Surfing; Sailing; Playing my guitar or Ukulele; Gardening; and, of course, painting.
Truly I am a grateful man.

We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
Art has always been a passion and joy for me. Typically I paint “en Plein Aire” which is the method of painting On Location or literally “In Open Air”. The challenge of shifting shadows and light means I have to paint quickly. This makes the paintings loose and creates an Impressionistic style. I really enjoy gazing deeper at the color and composition of our beautiful world. Sometimes these small location paintings and sketches become large Studio Painting. It is a great challenge to keep the freshness of a location study in the studio. There are so many art mentors in my life. My first was Laguna Beach artist, the late Ken Auster. I took a workshop from him where he taught me to “SEE” the world. There are so many others: too many perhaps to list them all here. Contact me and I’ll send you on a long road of viewing some amazing Plein Air artists.

Regarding the cartoons, well they are just for fun. It is a hoot to see people react to them and tell me they bring a smile to their faces. For a few years I got to illustrate for Surfer Magazine. That was a blast. So most of my Cartoon Themes are Surf related. Lately I’ve been doing a lot of “Tiki and Polynesian” themes featuring the Island lifestyle and old VW’s on surf safaris. Lots of Palm Trees, Volcanos, Waves occasional Mermaid or Hula Gal. These are still mostly painted in Oils, though sometimes I sketch with Marker Pens and Colored Pencil. I sell a lot of them which actually is quite amazing to me. I guess people like them. I’m thankful that people enjoy the fun of life.

What do you think it takes to be successful as an artist?
This is a very good question for me to wrestle with…… thanks. Truth of the matter is, if I never sell another painting, I will still continue to paint. It is such joy to me and very fulfilling and revealing too. I have learned to scrape a lousy painting off and even how to determine that a painting truly is lousy and not worth pursuing. That is a great lesson for artists. Perhaps this is the beginning of becoming a successful artist. It’s fun to sell the art, yes it is, and I’d love to sell more and more as I grow better. So for my part, growing as an artist is critical to success. I’m so grateful for my fellow artist friends who are honest with me about a painting. It’s good to be surrounded with honest loving people who I can ask to evaluate my progress. Sometimes my dear wife will come into my studio and say “Norm, your done with that one…step away from the canvas and put the brush down” Love it

Last year, while crossing the street in Mission Valley, I got hit by a car that was coming out of a driveway. It was very scary to be so beat up and wonder if ever I could paint again. Both shoulders where broken badly, as well as many other bones. So many people encouraged me that I quickly realized my greatest success in life are the wonderful friends and family I have. In life there isn’t much more than that to desire, is there? Life is so good.

Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
I do the occasional art show like the “Mission Federal Artwalk in Little Italy” or the Old Town Art Festival and others…mostly local art shows. One of my favorites is the “Tiki Oasis” event every August. That show is by far my best. For several years, there have been a few galleries that carried my work. The McKibben Studio in Laguna Beach: Thomadro Gallery in Hale’iwa Hawai’i; Playa O’este in Rincon P.R; and even good old Bird’s Surf Shed in OB and Bay Park. Pretty cool, huh?

I do have a website: and an iGram @normhere and I am not opposed to selling art from any or all of those media 🙂 Occasionally I have sold a painting right off the easel while painting on location, or out of the trunk of my car. It’s a good thing to keep a few in the car, yes?

During the summer, it’s been my pleasure to do art demos at the SD County Fair too. I always say: “Buy all you want…I’ll paint more.” Thank you so much.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
All Photos and Artwork by Me, ©norm daniels

Getting in touch: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Barbara Rochester

    July 18, 2018 at 6:50 pm

    Ah, Norm, always love all the variations of art you produce. You will remember that back when you were in college you illustrated a little newsletter for the teens that I put together. I used to rummage in the waste basket to retrieve what you threw away as not being good enough just to enjoy for myself. Too bad I didn’t keep it….smile…

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