Here is the next in my catch-up blog entries. This one is dated April 28, 2014.
I have been on an artistic adventure recently! I have been painting only a few years and have definitely seen my skill develop in that time. It’s really been a revelation to me how much of art is learnable. I guess I always had a somewhat naïve idea that talented people make art, and you either had talent or did not. I have a very modest talent, but I have discovered that art is like anything else: practice and education do make for improvement. Who knew? Not me.
Recently, though, it has seemed to me that my progress has leveled off somewhat. I felt itchy, wanting to take the next step to improve my work, but unsure what that step was. So I did two things. I asked an accomplished artist (Cathy Carey: http://www.artstudiosandiego.com) to take a look at my oeuvre and tell me what was working, what I needed to improve, and possible directions. (I just have to say, I can hardly believe I have an oeuvre!) I also did a kind of self-study……more about that in other posts.
Cathy’s comments were very helpful. She suggested several things to stretch me, including trying a bigger painting, trying abstracting an existing painting, raising my productivity, and painting to a theme.
I have tried one level of abstraction – here is the painting I worked from and the abstracted version.
This was interesting! Abstracting was harder than I expected. I had to think about how to eliminate details, but I wanted to keep the basic shapes and I wanted the scene to be recognizable. I also, in keeping with moving a step away from reality, changed the colors to a triadic palette (green, yellow, purple), which was another way of simplifying. I will say that making this painting was certainly no easier than making the original, more realistic one. Next I think I will try doing the same scene with an even further level of abstraction. I have no clue what that might mean, however! But Cathy was right: this exercise is definitely stretching me, which is always a good thing.
Enough for today, but I will write more in the next few posts about this journey.
The snow is almost gone here, finally. It’s been a slow spring. We have had a rough mud season: my road had worse moguls than it has had in years. My car has a pronounced wobble at higher speeds because of impossible-to-reach mud caked behind the wheels; I hope to get that fixed when I get my summer tires put on. But there are coltsfoot and bloodroot blooming, and my garden has snowdrops and glory-of-the-snow. Although I shouldn’t say “garden,” because most of them are in the lawn where the mice have replanted them. Happy Spring!