Archive for October, 2008
I think that a painting is more than the sum of its parts, but it’s the parts that have more to teach.
Some of the details in this painting are kind of groundbreaking for me, and new things I tried will be applied to future paintings, but with an honest and unbiased eye toward it, from a distance it looks like just another landscape. That seems to be the general opinion about most landscapes; being the most popular genre of painting, they are so common they need a second glance and closer study in order to be fully appreciated. Anyway, with this one I’m now pleased with the efforts, but when I started painting this one I had no intentions of posting it, mainly because it’s my interpretation of a postcard, commissioned by a neighbor.
The neighbors thoughtfully collect our mail and water the garden whenever we’re away, even when not asked, so when they requested a painting to be copied from a postcard of his home town in France I cringed (you know, about the copying thing), but then agreed. With no deadline demanded there was plenty of time to wrap my head around this project, and I took it. I still wanted to do a good job despite my strong convictions about copying, and waited for a time when I felt ready to do my best – because the first few strokes are as important as the last.
There are decent arguments for and against a “right time” for things, and if a job needs doing immediately I have no problem doing it immediately, but I was thankful to have a little more time without the pressure to visualize this one.
I came to terms with the thing by finally just starting it, and the rest of this blog entry explains how that taught me more than my last five paintings all together.
Once I let go of all the over-thinking about ethics and integrity, while resolving to make it my own I got lost in the most important part of anything you create: the work; that zone – we all want to get lost in The Zone! It turned into a really interesting, fun learning opportunity.
There are a lot of slogans, terms, traditions, quotes and art-myths passed along through generations of artists. We absorb them over the years and they gradually play a part in forming our opinions and our work habits to some extent. Impulsively we set up walls that can get in the way of seeing and discovery.
We need assignments like this that challenge us to break free from rules, if only temporarily…rules that may be fine for others but may prevent us from exploring the avenues that lead to our own personal best.
There’s a lot of competition in the Art Biz, a surplus of advice, group lessons, suggestions, and strong opinions about what art is and isn’t, what you should and shouldn’t do, and even a kind of unspoken underground rating system that some people have, pinpointing what style or motivational source is better than another.
The point here is: whatever the initial source is that gets you painting or creating something, then use it. If it feels right for you then it is right for you. There are things in each painting, successful or not, that bridge all our efforts into the next. The act of working is valuable above all, whatever it is or however it’s done. The value you hold for yourself translates into your work that, if successful, may also become valuable to someone else.
“Your eyes are like plastic pearls”
“I bet you say that to all the inanimate objects”
The romance began last year.
The Fourth of July, 36H x 48W x 2D inches, acrylics on canvas, wrapped sides painted
The Oxide Gallery in Denton had an open call today for Artists to bring in three paintings that best represented current work, to be judged for upcoming space openings. Even though I didn’t think The Fourth of July was finished, I brought it in because it has the cheerful colors and bold marks that I’d like to inject more into future work. Usually there are lots of colors used, but they get layered over each other on the canvas and can become muted. The gallery owners informed me that it is finished! OK, great, I’ll take their advice. I’m quite happy to move on to another painting.
Especially toward the final stages when so much time and study has been invested, we can be so involved in the work we don’t see it with a fresh perspective the way others do. Other people’s eyes and opinions are so valuable.
Merit Award winning Adam, 11H x 14W inches graphite on paper, 21 x 25 inches framed will be on exhibit as part of VAST Connections, running from October 3rd through November 1st. Sponsored by the Visual Arts Society of Texas and the Visual Arts Coalition of Dallas, the exhibition will be held at the VACD Gallery in the Thompson Fine Arts, Inc. Building, 2902 Maple Avenue, Suite A , Dallas, TX. Gallery hours: Fri, Sat: 11a.m. – 5 p.m.