Friday, May 31, 2013

Painting Process

An artist friend recently confided that, in his view, the most difficult part of his work (he's a digital/collage/painter-painter) was the beginning...the very beginning, like "what am I going to make?"
It was an interesting insight I thought ....actually, one that has resonance right now as I poke around trying to find the next move.  But, I ask myself  "is it an answerable question...what am I going to make?" Is it a straight line from an answer to that question to completing a piece? Is it even an important question to ask oneself?  Does making art have to have a difficulty component?
In my case, most often, I think it isn't the beginning that causes the most frustration.  I think the most difficult question is "how will I get it done?"  That question has more significance to me than "what is it?"
So I might start with an idea about where I'm going and not too far along I begin the questioning.  Am I using the materials the way I need to finish with some balance?  Do I like the colors or combinations of colors I've chosen?  Were the choices of line, color, brush size and type I made arbitrary, or made with haste so that any outcome I imagined could never materialize?  How would I approach this if I had more training?
Experience is perhaps the denominator here.  My artist friend has lots more,  so the question of what to make is different for him than for me?  I think, maybe. I know that on some level the choice of what to paint is made with lots of energy coming for my unconscious mind.  I think that's pretty exciting...that I might not know all there is to know about the choice at the start.  I have to think also that my unconscious mind plays a big role in whatever is going on when I reject an idea for a starting point.
Anyway, I think just getting going, regardless of the subject chosen, is the most important step in art making.  I like the idea of the concept evolving during the process.  Maybe that's why I have difficulty sustaining the idea that I ought to build a stylistically similar series of pictures?
Pastel and charcoal on paper/18"x24"

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A shade of blue?

c. 12" x 20"/Graphite/watercolor on mat board
I don't think her hair was quite that blue but there was some shade going on.  It was a Schiele channel that day. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Old Work

Detail of w/c on paper
Haven't felt too much like posting stuff lately....think I'm kind of bogged down in "planning" work and not actually executing....although, I am at my studio most every day and doing work on a number of unfinished things, so I am busy.  Guess I am just doing a little bit of flapping in hopes of getting something going soon.  I think I'll be around the river banks in the woods shortly doing some outdoor w/c and drawing.  Weather last few days has been poor.
The piece above was done about a dozen years ago; sold it at an open studio event.  I think it was maybe 18" x 24".

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Floral Detail

I did this in my studio a couple of years ago referencing a few flowers in a vase I'd set up.  Working rather slowly, the stems just couldn't survive my plodding through revision after revision and I didn't (for whatever reason) choose to replace them.  As they began to droop I began to abstract or at least that's how I recall it.

Thursday, May 9, 2013


Pastel on Bee paper/18" x 24"
I  read an article in a recent edition of Art in America last night. The editors had circulated a questionnaire to persons (all unknown to me) with apparently some gravitas in the art world and asked the them to write  responses.  Some of them answered each question in detail, others gave sort of a generalized response.  The questionnaire was essentially a request to comment on the direction(s) art and artists were taking at the early part of the 21st Century.  Not having had significant academic training in the arts I was left to wonder what some of the responses were all about....references to cultural trends, social justice issues, politics, somehow blending (or not) with the work of those just beginning careers in art, etc.  The high cost of living in New York City and the art markets influence as creative workers try to make instant success perhaps at the expense of thoughtful growth.  I was left with the impression that marketing was the new art academy and that rolling over one thing after another could bring the next "new" thing and that fifteen minutes after that the search begins again.  It all sounded tedious to me.     

Tuesday, May 7, 2013