Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Today My Roses Wept

Well, this is the end result of the roses from the prior post. I kept adding things, I stopped working, I started, I tried to decide what this "should" be, and then I gave up and just let myself paint. Between calls at work I read a book I tried to read years ago and realized at the last attempt I just wasn't ready to wholeheartedly embrace the message-I am now. The book is "Art & Fear" by David Bayles and Ted Orland. I laughed at so many things this time, I read it in a few hours, whereas before I'd read a page and lay it down. Here's a quote, "A finished piece is, in effect, a test of correspondence between imagination and execution". A friend of mine shared with me about her "inner critic". Mine is the little voice that says to me, it has to be saleable, it has to have purpose, it HAS to be this, that, thus....and last night, I said, it simply has to be painted. My only goal now is paint, and let my poor soul have its own unique say independent of pleasing a public, a person, the inner Nazi, all that. And last night my roses just had to weep.

This statement is not aimed at anyone, any school of thought or method of painting, but I'm just not of the mind "every piece a masterpiece". The main point of the book is, and seems to be the lesson I'm learning in life-art is made by fallible human beings who are constantly changing. It is not some angel's offering to a few hallowed souls. It can be learned, it is a dialogue as the other quote suggests, it is living, on-going, a diary of the soul. What makes an artist an artist? This dialogue cannot be ignored and it is a person who does not stop recording it. It is a person who is lovingly, completely and wholly dedicated to their craft and who keeps working and keeps listening to what that work says to them and responds to it. This whole thought train set me free. Is it worth the doing? Only if the work is authentic response to the individual vision. Nothing else is, and I could say that for any other art form.

A parting shot that I hope may give a chuckle. This quote included in the book is from Ben Shahn, "It may be a point of great pride to have a Van Gogh on the living room wall, but the prospect of having Van Gogh himself in the living room would put a great many devoted art lovers to rout."

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Practicing, having fun

This is something I painted this afternoon on my illustration board, sort of taking a cue from the crazy piece I last posted. It's not nearly so colorful, but what is important to me now is that I feel comfortable painting this way. I like working on a white board, and I did this with four acrylic colors and one brush. I've always been attracted to calligraphic art, Japanese in particular-the post-impressionists borrowed heavily from Japanese postcards. So this may turn into a poster with script, more background-but I was very pleased with the flowers. I used a photo of dried roses as a reference, but made up most of the composition. I like the gestural feel of the flowers. They don't possess photographic realism, but the "pose" if you will surely denotes death. This to me is much more enjoyable than straining to capture intense realism. I can tell the years and years of painting have given me a very relaxed and natural brush style, if I let myself paint this way. So we'll see. I'm going to continue working and seeing where it all goes. I think my artistic bent is more as a designer than a painter.

Saturday, August 8, 2009


This is piece of art I did early in my community college days. It is mixed media, black and white acrylic paint and magic marker. I have always liked it and felt even though it was done before all of my training in realism, it has great strength, sense of design and originality. I feel as though I need to get back to designing in my work, no matter how that manifests itself. I like the freshness of the piece. I cancelled my Yellowbook website ad, and feel I need to take a year to not be pressured by "having" to do things. After a while what used to be a joy becomes a chore. So I bought some illustration board and magic markers, and decided to see what I can still do, now that I have the training.