As an artist and a teacher, I now feel the need to devote myself to work entirely from life. It's a choice based on quality and it's an important decision to make my work as strong and non-derivative as possible. For commissions, this can be especially troublesome, but I want to create truly original works of art that have a feeling of life in them. I want to create art that is as close to the source of nature as possible; And as a teacher, to encourage my students to do the same.
As a society we are now overwhelmed by digital photography. For paintings, this is particularly hazardous because many viewer's only relation to great works of art is through a screen. I see certain benefits, but the downsides are numerous.
Imagine if we lived with only recordings of music and no live music. What are the benefits of a recording? Well, most prominently, we have a greater access to the art and an ease of access. One of the advantages that I see is being able to catalogue my own work. the images on my site are meant as a visual record, but they're definitely not meant to replace the actual painting or drawing. Then we can ask, what are the limitations? Is ease of access always a good thing?
For me, a huge part of making art is about making a memory and to have an experience while painting. For a portrait, it's about being with the person and sharing a conversation. If I'm painting en plein air, I will remember trekking up the mountain until I reach the point where I set up my easel. Maybe I meet someone along the way and they comment on my painting. All of that is what I love about painting. Another thing to remember is that these experiences may not always be pleasant. I have a friend who said to me one time, "In hindsight, things will either be fun or funny." I try to remember this when I'm experiencing something that is real, but not enjoyable.
When paintings get boiled down to a photo-realistic image, it becomes devoid of life. I often say that I'm very impressed with photo-realism as a trick and demonstration of pure technical ability. In the same way I would be impressed by someone who had memorized the dictionary; I'd say, "Wow, impressive." But would I ever want to do that myself? Absolutely not. What's the point of that?
As I turn 30 this year, I want real world experiences. To look at things through my own eyes and develop more of my own style. To listen to live music. To take a hike through a beautiful area. To play a sport, instead of watching it on tv. To be in the game, instead of on the sidelines. To ride my motorcycle and skateboard. To make a pilgrimage to a museum and stand fact-to-face with a painting, in the same spot the artist stood before nature. To be sweating outside, battling the wind and bugs in order to create a painting. That's what makes me happy.
I recorded a class demo from my watercolor class. Enjoy!
I'm currently finishing up a mastercopy commission that was quite a learning experience. The entire painting has been a really interesting journey. It's a Dutch genre painting, in the vein of Vermeer (whom I still love) and there's a lot of wonderful little details, including the Delft tiles at the base of the wall. It's almost like a where's waldo type of image. I'm going to work on it a little more but it's nearly finished.
It feels like spring is here today. I got outside and stretched a new canvas for a commission and I ordered some new canvas nails to test out. I ordered two different types: Charvin copper nails and Paris Canvas Copper Tacks. I'm not sure which kind I'll like better so I'm going to try them both. They're both slightly different lengths also which is a good thing.
I ordered these from Jerry's Artarama because Dick Blick doesn't carry them. I'm becoming more and more frustrated with Blick's selection of products and their lack of variety. They seem to be trending more and more away from professional fine art materials and everything now seems to be "Blick Brand" products, but I digress.
I'll write a review of these copper nails as soon as they arrive and I test them out. I was previously using cut tacks from the hardware store, but they're not very well forged and usually have a rather dull point to them, which is frustrating. It's also better to use copper since it protects against corrosion.
I'm going to go back out and enjoy the weather. Have a great week!