Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Style and medium
Well, it may not be a crisis but somehow I'd like to get past a nagging, dragging concern I have about where to go with my work, which I seem to have saddled myself with recently....like within the last day or so. Maybe just this posted examination will help me! So, I'm thinking... "maybe it should be oils only(with a BIG brush); maybe just ink, maybe just water media or maybe I should try acrylic again?" Or maybe I need to write a cohesive artist's statement and go from there. After all, I will not know what my art is about if I can't explain it to myself, will I? What about explaining it to someone else? "Well, thanks for asking: yes I like beautiful images of things........and.....the paint is colorful and I enjoy the............mess!"
Do the paintings have to have a meaning I'm conscious of as I make them? Do I have to have a plan, a completely thought-out idea for an image before I begin? Can I understand all of what there is to understand about the work as I do it and move from idea to idea, canvas to paper and back again? This is what has attached itself to me and I can't seem to flick it away!
I like what I like (and choose to reference in my work) and sometimes I put what I like through a filter (me) and scramble the reference just as I feel like scrambling it. Today I was working on a small (9"x12") oil picture of three trees......I've painted these trees a half dozen times, I think and never tire of them. The image was realist/impressionist with dream like qualities when I went back to it after a day's absence. But I couldn't figure the thing out...how to make it cohesive, consistent, interesting and not dead in the sense that the eye would fall and stay in one place. It seemed to me that my thoughtful, realist hand was winning out over my not-thinking abstracting/expressionist one and that was detracting from what could be a more satisfying piece. I think: "the realist approach is a fall back, one to be avoided at all costs" but then I'm confronted with a question of perspective and I want expressionist depth everyone can see and appreciate as perspective. For some reason I think that is difficult to accomplish but I want to make something like that!
But what are they about, these pictures I make? I look at copies of images I've done and wonder: "learning a skill, looking into my head"? Certain subjects are repeated but not so much the technique, the style, the brush stroke, color or lines. It is as if the work for me is really just experimental...not in the sense of a never seen before style, not like Cubism was new and maybe experimental but more in a "use all the known styles/techniques" kind of way.
Maybe that's it?! Maybe I really want to invent something new! As if.............!!!!
So, here are some images, including one of the interior of my work space, which illustrate, to some degree, the dilemma.