"To become a great artist, it is necessary to remain rough...not to know too many things" - John Singer Sargent
I came across this beautiful quote while looking through this awesome site: http://www.jssgallery.org/-- Here is the full quote: "Pour devenir un grand artiste il faut ètre, il faut rester fruste." Fruste de connaisances they meant, i.e . . . -- To become a great artist it is necessary to remain fruste. By fruste they meant, i.e. not to know too many things, not to know too much" (Site link for quote)
Fruste translates to "rough" so essentially the quote means that to become a great artist, you must remain "rough" and unknowing of some things. The more I study and teach art, the more I agree with this quote. It's definitely possible to become too technical, too refined and too influenced. I think the reason for this is because roughness relates to creativity and ingenuity/originality. Rough even equates to the paint quality that I myself am searching for. Everyone wants to over analyze the technical aspects of creating art, but true artists learn as they go after an initial period of study.
To remain rough doesn't mean to be lazy or sloppy about anything, but instead to work hard and remain uninfluenced. I'll be thinking about it more as I work myself.
Really excited to be underway on my first commissioned portrait of 2019. It's a memorial portrait so I'm doing the best to capture a spirit of life and energy in the portrait. Really inspired by John Singer Sargent's portrait of Mr. and Mrs. John White Field. The size is 24" X 20", which is nice because it's not too small; I don't like painting small. Stay tuned to see it progress!
I've been painting a lot of watercolors recently and have been using a wide range of paints. I've tried Jack Richeson Watercolor Sets, Daniel Smith Extra Fine Watercolors, among others. I always found that the watercolors felt too opaque even when I did light washes of color. I knew something was just wrong with the way the paint was handling. I thought it was my own way of using the paint, but then I discovered Winsor & Newton's Professional Watercolor Pan Sets.
I had read that John Singer Sargent used Winsor & Newton pan watercolors, which prompted me to buy myself a set of half pan professional watercolors for Christmas. One of my first watercolor sets was a really small W&N set of 8 or so colors way back when I was an early teenager, but most of my watercolors lately have been painted using a Jack Richeson pan set.
The beauty of the W&N pan set is that the colors are light and transparent. They have a certain airy quality to them that I haven't found in other companies. The colors are very rich, even after they dry; I've noticed some other watercolors dry with a very chalky look to them.
Of course, with any art supply, it won't automatically make you a master painter. But it does really help to find materials that work for you. I want to emphasis that last part by saying that you should test out a bunch of different paints because you might not like this set, but you'll only find that out by painting.
Paintings below were painted using the W&N 24 color half pan set
*This is not a paid endorsement for Winsor & Newton. I am writing this as a fan of their watercolor pan sets.
I finally feel like I found the proper term for how I feel about my own art and life. The term I was looking for is Wabi-sabi, which is the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection and profundity in nature, of accepting the natural cycle of growth, decay, and death (transience). I had heard the term before, but I'm discovering that my outlook on life and art relates directly with Wabi-sabi. Before I investigated this, I wrote a blog post relating the idea of the imperfect to the process of signing a painting.
I also feel that the artwork I admire relates strongly to the idea of the imperfect and fleeting moments. Especially the art of Sorolla, whom I still love. And the watercolor paintings of John Singer Sargent have been inspiring my own pursuit of watercolor painting. Watercolor itself as a medium has a lot of ties with Wabi-sabi.
I'm finding a lot of comfort with the idea of finding beauty in the cycle of life, especially with recent events in my life.
This video relates to a lot of the same ideas.