Thursday, June 20, 2013

Reflection and Transformation

Perhaps those words are too strong for what's going on with me, but I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about direction.

I really have no problem at all knowing what I DON'T want...  It's harder for me to really put a finger on what I DO want.  My "problem" would not seem like a problem to most people.  In truth, I have no real needs.  I am retired and can live well on my retirement income. 

As part as my semi-annual reassessment of what the heck I'm doing and why, I've been mulling things over AT LOT.  The bottom line is continual growth for me...  I want to be a "really, really good" artist.  I want to keep on working on my skills and practicing new ideas forever. 

Now in theory, I could simply paint.  Paint and paint and paint some more.  And I definitely will do that.  My mentor, David Gallup continually reminds us that we should paint for ourselves, not for others.  He asks me why I spend any time at all on blogging or entering shows or marketing.  I don't NEED to sell my work because income isn't a major issue.  I don't NEED to show my work in shows and galleries because income isn't a major issue.  I should paint... just paint.

And even though I am convinced that no one juror or art critic or even viewer can tell me that the work I do has reached that "really, really good" level, I still feel the need to sell and to have my work evaluated or "juried" by critics and artists I admire.   I suppose I SHOULD be satisfied when I am happy with my work, but somehow I do feel the need for outside validation.

David has challenged all of the students in his Master Class with creating large paintings (even though they're too big for most shows I'd enter and large paintings are more difficult to sell). Most important, he has charged us with creating work which is AMBITIOUS.  I think he uses this word just because it will mean different things for each of us and because it represents a challenge to each of us.  But whenever he admires the work of other artists (past or present), it is because it stands out from the rest... Not just that it is technically proficient, but because it has a unique point of view or style.

I've been studying David's work and methods, I enjoy looking at other original work in shows and galleries.  I go to demonstrations and try ideas I learn about.   My largest painting to date is on the easel and seems to be going well.  I've painted it from a study and am not referring to photos I took at the scene.  I am trying to build up layers of paint and interesting texture,  I'm working on using temperature, value and saturation to convey the mood and I've added an egret which wasn't in the original plein air piece but I thought it would enhance the painting.   Best of all.. so far I really like it.

Desert Blush     10x10 Oil/Linen
I also believe that sometimes, like with this little cactus study above, we must just paint.  No masterpieces... No worrying about layers of paint and creating texture, no thinking about values and patterns.  No worrying about edges... lost or found or whatever.  No thought about temperature or saturation.  Just adding a few strokes to the miles and miles of paint...  and enjoying the journey.


CrimsonLeaves said...

I couldn't agree with you more, Marian.

AR mirza said...

Wonderful blog & good post.Its really helpful for me, awaiting for more new post. Keep Blogging!
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Linda Popple said...

Good post, Marian, and one I think to which we can relate. Love your cactus painting, too. Really lovely!

Wendy Barrett said...

Have just discovered your beautiful blog Marion.
This cactus painting is stunning! I would love to see them growing in the wild one day.
I loved getting an an insight into your philosophy about showing art to others in this post.

Shelley Smart said...

Hi, Marian! I just love following your painting journey! You have developed a style that I find beautiful! I do think you know how to enjoy painting, and I can understand and share the need for validation from trusted critics/peers, etc. That seems to be part of the journey. I'd love to see a really large painting from you! I, someday, want to paint something BIG! Well, someday, I'd like to paint, period. !!! I'll get back to it soon. Am busy writing a book right now and gardening. Too many creative pursuits to enjoy!

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