I recently watched an interesting video by Mr. Paul Ingbretson about Painting Reproductions and it made me think about reproductions of my own art. I constantly struggle with photographing my art and I wonder how much I should share images of my work. A certain amount is necessary for the galleries that I show in or for posting things on my website. But I've really cut back on what I send and share. But why wouldn't I want to share images of my paintings?
I've written about similar ideas many times and I'm very passionate about this topic. Mainly because I'm very aware of the ever-growing trend to only view paintings online and to not make a pilgrimage to see these works in person. This total domination of photographic reproductions worries me.
There's a litany of reasons as to why all paintings showed be seen in person. The size/scale of the painting is ignored by viewing it on a screen, the color quality, surface texture (gloss/matte) is lost, the edges and contrasts are usually false, I could go on and on. I think one of the main issues is that a painting is not 2D; a painting has layers of paint built up and it actually creates a 3D image. This is more true of painters like Vermeer or Rembrandt who really take full advantage of the opportunities which oil paint has to offer through glazes to thicker areas.
For me, I share my art in my site's portfolio section and I enjoy writing on my blog. But I think of my website as more of an information catalogue instead of an honest viewing experience. But isn't it absurd to think that everyone can see my paintings in person? Maybe, but I care very deeply about my paintings and I believe they deserve to be seen in the best possible manner. And you may also say: Isn't it great to be able to see so many paintings that we don't have access to? (private collections, far away museums, etc.) I understand, but I don't think it's an advantage.
Have you ever met someone and been totally bowled over by their charm, beauty, intelligence, charisma, and general air? To me, that's what it's like to see a painting in person. Take that same person and take a single photo of him/her and try to extract that same depth from it. It's impossible.
Many of my teaching lessons revolve around these ideas of genuine study and real individual experiences. Yesterday, I had a student tell me that he sees paintings now in a new way as a result; this touched me deeply and I was honored that he said that. I think these ideas of nature and art are timeless and my goal is to share that message through my teaching. Reproductions may reach a higher and higher level of exactitude, but I will always be an artist who wants the real deal.
This video inspired me to write this post and I hope you will enjoy it as well.
I'm a little late to this, but as of October of 2023, I crossed over the 10 year mark for my blog. I started this blog in college and looking back, I'm very happy that I did. This blog covers my art, inspiration, techniques, art history, travel and some other interesting topics thrown in.
I really enjoy sharing stuff on this blog and many people have also tried to get me onto other sharing platforms. I've been back and forth with some, but the truth is that I see all these things as pointless, ephemeral and often harmful. When I was in college, I had a Facebook and it was great because all my friends had one and it was simply a way to communicate with one another. It changed at some point and I see these sites now completely dominating people's lives. I also don't like the fact that if I post something it is often hidden from my own followers. And when it is discoverable, my art is sandwiched between vapid ads for make-up or fast food. My own site here is entirely under my control and I write whenever I want to write and people can come and go as they please. No addictive or manipulative tactics here.
One of my goals with this blog is to not only share my journey, but to encourage others to go out into the world and paint. I hope you can look at art in person and support artists whom you enjoy. Make real connections and stay in touch with people. It's a tough road as an artist of any kind, but it's extremely rewarding and I wouldn't trade my life for anything.
So what's coming in the future? I am planning some really big things in my life. Since returning from France, I've been connecting with some absolutely amazing people, organizations, galleries, schools, etc. I'm heading to Florence during the summer of 2024 as I finish my MA program at the Florence Academy of Art; so 2024 will be a busy year for me! I'm really excited and proud of all that I've accomplished.
To those reading: thank you. Thank you for following along and I hope my blog provides information, introspection and inspiration.
This information comes from a great book which I came across last year. I wrote a BLOG POST about the book which I also encourage you to check out.
There's some great information in the book and technical insight which is interesting. Click the file link to hear my reading and additional commentary.
I've been working on a series of self portraits lately and most of them haven't turned out well. Since I've been struggling with them I decided to try a watercolor. I've always felt more comfortable with a brush and I feel like the stars aligned tonight.
I'm happy with this self portrait because it looks like me, but it also feels like me. This is something that's hard to put into words, but I try to capture that feeling in every portrait that I paint. The physical likeness mostly comes from proportion, but I'm not quite sure where the deeper feeling comes from.
I also had some good realizations with this self portrait and it developed smoothly. I started off with an accurate underdrawing in pencil and then focused on the overall forms before I developed the detail. Yesterday, I was sketching late at night and it hit me how important the underlying form and structure is. For instance, if I sketch a face the detail has to sit on top of the form. There are a lot of elements involved with any painting, but I think this idea of form before detail is very important.