Art Quote for the Day

WORKING METHOD

” It’s painful to think of the number of paintings that don’t work, not only my own, but also what I see in galleries and museums.  Such failures may be adequately painted but they don’t sing.  They’ve left the studio but they aren’t happy about  it.  It’s simple and inevitable: there’s work we artists do that doesn’t come together.  And for each of us there’s only one solution to this problem. You just continue to  make paintings, and you make more paintings, and then for no particular reason all of a sudden you start to click and all the pieces that you’ve been working with , the direction you’ve been perceiving “as if through a glass darkly” is now open and clear, in all its glory.  We paint and everything falls into place.  That expression of being “in the zone” expresses the experience perfectly.  There is a momentum you’ve built up which was essential to this new work.  If you had been waiting  for inspiration, waiting  for that flow to begin, it would have caught you too flat-footed to notice.  It arrived out of the readiness that all the previous work had created in you  .  Regardless of how sluggish that process may have seemed at the time, things were  lining up  in preparation, ideas were formulating.

The making of art offers a poor example of efficiency at work.  Yet all that practice and preparation makes us ready when for some reason everything gets lined up and we become as if conduits for the spirit.  It shows in the result. the rest of the time we work to keep the channel open until things realign. Then, inexplicably and in exhilaration, everything goes right.

So much of our output seems destined to be merely preparation.  It’s what  makes the inevitable harsh judgment of our work when it’s not going  well so counterproductive, particularly when we compare our struggles in the studio to someones else’s edited, presented gallery work.  When we judge our output against someone else’s, we tend first to admire their mastery of their  obsessions.  We each have certain  fascinations and because of that  we excel at them.  So we may notice a painter’s handling of reflections or the way they handle paint itself and think we cna never paint like that.  And perhaps we may not.  Because that’s their area,not ours: it holds them and they have wrestled with it and perfected it. Our own obsessions are so close to us we probably can’t see them.  We’re  blind to our own magic.

The lengths an artist will go to create a particular way of painting is also deceptive.  We can think of Sargent who worked hard, scraping and repainting pieces, to get that effortless look of virtuosity.  We can’t compare that with what we’ve just finished working on this morning  Just because someone’s painting looks loose or facile doesn’t mean it was done quickly or effortlessly.

Creative Authenticity – 16 Principals to Clarify and Deepen Your Artistic Vision by Ian Roberts

Art Quote for the Day

WHEW!!!!!!!

I just finished another Winterim session at my place of employment, Edgewood College in Madison WI. This is a 2 week long period of time that students can take classes and get a full semester’s worth of credit. We meet EVERYDAY  for 3 hours and I had one class in the morning and one class in the afternoon.  Six hours of classtime,  2 hours of prep-time, I was out of the house everyday at 7 am and home by 4:30 pm……. with maybe 30 minutes to gulp down some kind of lunch.

I’M EXHAUSTED!

4 days off , and then, the real semester starts and back at it!

I LOVE IT !!!

The Winterim is proof of  how much can actually get done in a very short time if that time is concentrated and focused. It is proof of what students are capable of learning and doing in that same amount of quality time.

The morning class I taught was in Figure Drawing. Drawing the nude…. everyday a live model, everyday a new set of skills to be learned: proportion, measuring ,bone structure, musculature,modelling 3-dimensional form, gesture/motion, media,patience, focus, imagination. We ended today with a 2 hour long pencil drawing of 2 poses in one drawing that related to each other in some way. Students had to draw a sitting pose and a standing pose that would relate to each other , switching back and forth about every 5 minutes….. After only 9 days of intense instruction and LOTS of practice they all managed to complete a pretty accomplished drawing! Some of the students had never had a drawing course before so I’m pretty proud of them!

The afternoon class was called Art Structure and it is specifically for NON-ART majors. Again, everyday , a new set of skills and information: drawing, color theory, design, painting, abstraction, printmaking, sculpture….. total chaos everyday…. CREATIVE CHAOS! And , once again, the work completed was fantastic.

Some of the work is posted here Enjoy!….

Art Quote of the Day

Does anyone else have this “issue” ?  I have the most beautiful studio…… we built an addition onto our house a few years ago.  Tall windows – 8 ft. with small panes that look out on my beautiful garden. Lots of room…. of course with great light. BUT…… with this EXTREMELY COLD WEATHER we’re having it’s VERY,VERY,VERY cold in there. The room is off the kitchen, heated only from the heat that fills the rest of our little house but the room has no heat source of its own. Needless to say , I’m not very motivated to go into that room and paint. It’s not that I’m not feeling creative ….. I’m restless with ideas and desire to get to work but , really, THE COLD!!!!  I have been able to work for a couple hours before getting sooooooooooo chilled that I had to stop but that was when the temperature was at least above freezing. With this EXTREME cold, -50 degrees wind chill  factor , well, I’m discouraged.

I will dress as if I were going outside …. a few layers , boots, maybe even a hat…. see how long I can stand it. I can bring some acrylics into my living room and work at the coffee table I suppose but I have big oil paintings in progress in the studio that I really want to work on.

I should have begun teaching classes today but cancelled because of the horrible cold…. so I have one extra day  of “vacation” to ‘enjoy’. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm….. what shall I do ? what shall I do?  Chant and meditate on the fact that

I HATE WINTER…… OHMMMMMMM……..

Thanks by the way  for everyone’s well – wishes about my lost sketchbook. UPDATE! It  hasn’t been found or turned in …. it’s just gone….. in the wind…. in someone else’s possession (, ENJOY! ),  in a landfill somewhere ( that’s what hurts the most) , and I’ve pretty much just resigned myself to it’s loss. Que sera – sera !

STAY WARM EVERYBODY !

Art Quote for the Day

And once again, the time has gone by SUPERFAST and I find myself at the end of another semester. Projects DONE, grading DONE,cleaning up the art room messes, almost done! A few weeks of a much welcome break where I can really focus on my own painting , and then back at it again!
I was thinking the other night,( while attending a senior seminar where students I had as Freshman and are now about to graduate, had to present their work to an audience and talk about it), that it’s a great thrill to watch these individuals come into our school as these young Freshmen, watch them make it through all their trials and tribulations and then  see and hear them be so articulate about their work at the  end of it all. Somewhere deep down inside I’m always hoping that maybe, in their talks, they’ll mention me…. that I made a difference and when they don’t I have always felt a little sad. BUT, after seeing this presentation the other night I realized there are no thanks needed. My job is to instruct them in the basic foundations courses that are required . In return they inspire me in so many ways , I ‘m never bored. My own personal mission is to create for them an atmosphere of creativity and fearlessness so that they can INDEED go on to create a fantastic portfolio of work . I’m a small part of a bigger picture that includes all of my fellow faculty members, all doing the hard work that it takes to get these young people ready for the real world. And I’m so very happy to be a part of it.

Now, with the holiday break starting, I will take off a few days to do stuff other than school stuff but I’m already sort of thinking about new assignments, projects, and visual examples. I’m looking forward to the first day of classes when I get to meet new students and re-connect with old….

I just Love this Life of Mine!!!!

Art Quote for the Day

I bought a new sketchbook a few months ago. It’s a larger format than I usually use so I decided I would divide each page into small squares. It’s been an interesting process…. depending on the size of the small squares, depending on how many I put on one page, I find myself exploring themes and variations of a single theme. sometimes I’ll start a page by filling all the squares with a similar shape and then start doing different things to each one. sometimes it’ll be certain set of colors I want to work with or a different media. Every single little square is a future painting I think. There are more small squares than I have time left in my life to paint but it’s going to be fun trying.

Art Quote for the Day

I have posted a similar piece in a past ‘quote of the day’ . This one came through on Facebook and it’s a little different ….. very good. I can sure identify with it. 

9 Contradictory traits that are frequently present in creative people:

1. Most creative people have a great deal of physical energy, but are often quiet and at rest .  They can work long hours at great concentration.

2. Most creative people tend to be smart and naive at the same time. “It involves fluency, or the ability to generate a great quantitiy of ideas; flexibility, or the ability to switch from one perspective to another; and originality in picking unusual associations of ideas.  These are the dimensions of thinking that most creativity tests measure, and that most creativity workshops try to enhance.”

3. Most creative people combine both playfulness and productivity, which can sometimes mean both responsibility and irresponsibility. “Despite the carefree air that many creative people affect, most of them work late into the night and persist when less driven individuals would not.” Usually this perserverance occurs at the expense of other responsibilities, or other people.

4. Most creative people alternate fluently between imagination and fantasy, and a rooted sense of reality.  In both art and science, movement forward involves a leap of imagination, a leap into a world that is different from our present.  Interestingly, this visionary imagination works in conjunction with a hyperawareness of reality.  Attention to real details allows a creative person to imagine ways to improve them.

5. Most creative people tend to be both introverted and extroverted.  Many people tend toward one extreme or the other , but highly creative people are a balance  of both simultaneously.

6. Most creative people are genuinely humble and display a strong sense of pride at the same time.

7. Most creative people are both rebellious and conservative . “It is impossible to be creative without having first internalized an area of culture. So it’s difficult to see how a person can be creative without being both traditional and conservative  and at the same time rebellious and iconoclastic.”

8 Most creative people are very passionate about their work, but remain extremely objective about it as well. They are able to admit when something they have made is not very good.

9. Most creative people’s openness and sensitivity exposes them to a large amount of suffering and pain, but joy and life in the midst of that suffering.  “Perhaps the most important quality, the one that is most consistently present in all creative individuals, is the ability to enjoy the process of creation for its own sake.  Without this trait, poets would give up striving for perfection  and would write commercial jingles, economists would work for banks where they would earn at least twice as much as they do at universities.and physicists would stop doing basic research and join industrial laboratories wherer the conditions are better and the expectations more predictable”

Art Quote for the Day

So, in my efforts to explore something different….. change my technique, my style, explore other motifs and ideas, different colors, and different media, a question came to my mind.

OK….. I definitely have a kind of imagery that I feel bonded with …… for the last 16 years or so ….. I’m physiologically driven to draw and paint  imagery that contains bi-laterally balanced shapes, ( lotus, the onion domes of the Kremlin, that sort of thing). I have seen lots of other artists’ work out there that also use this sort of imagery. We , as artists, “take”, “use”, “derive”, “mimic” the work of others and , HOPEFULLY , make it our own.

I have found an artist , via the” PINTERESTS”, whose work I have fallen in love with. For many  reasons. #1 being the use , in some pieces of those same bi-laterally balanced shapes. The technique used is more free, more mixed media, simpler in some ways but more rich in surface. ANYWAY, I have been totally inspired…. and find myself trying to create imagery that reflects this artist’s work . Now, in the grand scheme of things, is this plagarism? I’m still using my own ideas, my own sensibilities…. but more in the style of this artist  in a search for a different style of my own. I’ve switched from oils for the time being  to acrylics because they seem more spontaneous to me. I don’t know if the artist I’m talking about uses acrylics or not…. most pieces are listed as mixed media.

This artist’s work is large, I’m merely experimenting on small square foot panels.

This artist has a larger vocabulary in the work , not just the bilateral shapes, and that work I don’t like as well altho’ the colors and textures in all pieces are something I’m drooling over.

I guess, at the end of the day, whether we’ve been at this business of making art for one day or one lifetime, studying and , yes, I’ll say it, copying the work of others has been standard practice. The ideal goal is to move beyond the copying and begin to find something that moves each one of us in a very personal way. This is the motivation we all need to keep making art EVERYDAY.

GOOD LUCK  in your own creative invention and re-invention wherever direction  you may find yourself heading toward.

Art Quote for the Day

18 May 1985

The way I paint, one can’t really paint, because the basic prerequisite is lacking: the certainty of what is to be painted , i.e. the Theme.  Whether I mention the name of Raphael or of Newman, or lesser lights such as Rothko or Lichtenstein, or anyone else, down to the ultimate provincial artist – all of them have a theme that they pursue, a ‘picture’that they are always striving to attain.

When I paint an Abstract Picture ( the problem is very much the same in other cases), I neither know in advance what it is meant to look like nor, during the painting process, what I am aiming at and what to do about getting there.  Painting is consequently an almost blind, desperate effort, like that of a person abandoned, helpless, in totally incomprehensible surroundings – like that of a person wh possesses a given set of tools, materials and abilities and has the urgent desire to build something useful which is not allowed to be a house or a chair or anything else that has a name; who therefore hacks away in the vague hope that by working in a proper, professional way he will ultimately turn out something proper and meaningful.

So I am as blind as Nature,who acts as she can, in accordance with the conditions that hinder or help her.  Viewed in this light, anything is possible in my pictures; any form , added at will, changes the picture but does not make it wrong.  Anything goes; so why do I often spend weeks over adding one thing? What am I making that I  want? What picture of what?

30 May 1985

No ideology. No religion, no belief, no meaning, no imagination, no invention, no creativity, no hope – but painting like Nature, painting as change, becoming, emerging, being-there, thusness; without an aim , and just as right, logical,perfect and incomprehensible  ( as Mozart, Schoenberg, Velazquez, Bach, Raphael, etc.) We can identify the causes of a natural formation, up to a point; the same causes have led to me and , in due course, to my  paintings, whose immediate cause is my  inner state, my happiness, my pain, in all possible forms and intensities, until that cause no longer exists

The Daily Practice of Painting by Gerhard Richter

Art Quote for the Day

27 December 1985

Terrible and challenging, the blank canvas shows nothing – because the Something that is to take the place of Nothing cannot be evolved from Nothing, though the latter is so basic that one wants to believe in it as the necessary staring point.

It is not possible to visualize Nothing.  One way to gain some idea of that terrible state is through the impossibility of visualizing anything before, after or alongside the universe.  Now , since we very much want this visualization, but know it only as one that we can never have, it is an impossibility that we experience, existentially, as an absolute limit.

Thus, without a visualization, we stand  in front of the empty canvas and can respond – as ever – only with ignorance and madness, by making what statement we can:  a surrogate, basically, but one that we believe can somehow touch the impossible.  ( The advantage of my Grey Pictures  is that they seem to unmask all other statements, whether object-bound or abstract, as surrogates, and arbitrary ones at that.  In natural terms, however, they are still the same statements.)

The Abstract Pictures are no less arbitrary than all object-bound representations (based on any old motif, which is supposed to turn into a picture).  The only difference is that in these the ‘motif’ evolves only during the process of painting.  So they imply  that I do not know  what I want to represent , or how to begin; that I have only highly imprecise and invariably false ideas of the motif that I am to make into a picture; and therefore  that – motivated as I am solely by ignorance and frivolity – I am in a position to start.

Gerhard Richter – The Daily Practice of Painting