Art Quote for the Day

“I notice that students often start laying in colors and paint just to cover the canvas, without being very attentive to what’s going down–colors and values all over the map! They are feeling they want to get started and hope to refine it later. The problem is, the surface of the picture plane is so alive and active that every inattentive mark you put on it is taking you away from what you had intended to paint faster than you can possibly realize . It makes a lot of sense to try and get it right the first time as if it really mattered, moving intelligently right now toward your idea. And it really helps to have an idea. But just laying in paint as an unhelpful foundation completely confounds our ability to see what we’ve accomplished and where we need to go next. Every part is now reverberating with every other in a chaotic and confusing jumble, and trying to dig ourselves out of that mess may be too much for any painter.
This brings up 2 points.First, so much of what we do while we paint is a reflection of our character and shows us, for better or worse, and if we choose to perceive it, our true nature. Not taking time to lay in a strong and meaningful foundation may be something that manifests in other areas of our life. Art can be a remarkable feedback mechanism for our life.
This is not the same as trying to get it perfect. It justs means trying to get it as right as you can as you go along. “Right” means being aligned to your idea. Trying for perfection takes the life out of expression. to be continued………..

Creative Authenticity- 16 Principles to Clarify and Deepen Your Artistic Vision by Ian Roberts

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Art Quote for the Day

“I know alot of students who are distracted by an artist’s color or painterliness. They want to paint like that.Yet what isn’t always clear is that, if the artist is any good , the color and bravado is embedded in a foundation . Jon Carlson, the landscape painter, said, “confidence of execution comes from practice and long experience.”

We can run into trouble comparing ourselves with another artist’s work when our temperament is completely different from his or hers, which means that we could never do what they do.

We can admire all manner of art and artists. We can learn from all kinds of paintings. But it is unproductive to compare and evaluate ourselves againt someone else’s work. What we’re trying to compare doesn’t. and it can be harshly discouraging to try.

Certainly it’s foolish to compare what you accomplished in an afternoon session at a painting class with a model whose pose you didn’t set, with ten other artists vying for a decent view with decent lighting, with a painter who was moved by an idea, hired a model specifically for achieving the idea, and set the stage, model and lighting to reflect his vision nd then had a week of six-hour days to accomplish it. The same would apply if you tried to compare a two-hour-on-location landscape with something that was done in the studio over several weeks with far more planning and adjusting than you can ever afford with a quick sketch.

Creative Authenticity 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

CAN ART BE TAUGHT?

There have long been doubts about whether art can be taught.  They go back at least to Plato’s concept of inspiration, mania, and Aristotle’s concepts of genius and poetic rapture ( the ecstaticos). If art is made with the help of mania, then certainly ordinary teaching can have little effect – and if  it is inspired teaching, then it isn’t teaching in the sense I mean it here, but something more like infection.  I may give someone the flu, but I am hardly ever sure when or how I did it.  Teaching mania by being ecstatic and inspirational is like being infected and spreading disease: you can’t really control it.  Plato and Aristotle are everyone’s historical heritage, to the extent that virtually all art instruction in the world today is influenced by Western norms, and I think most people would be happy to say that art depends somehow on mania and therefore can’t be taught.  Yet historically, the voices of doubt have been overwhelmed by the institutions that claim to teach art.

Why Art Cannot be Taught – James Elkins

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

IMG_4314The other day this phrase passed through my brain. ” I’m a happy idiot”

Huh? What?

Well, it occurred to me after doing what is most probably the 100 th demonstration on how to mix all the colors on a color wheel using colored pencils that I am totally enthralled with that whole process. No matter how many times I create a color wheel, using colored pencils, or paint, or pastels, or even cut paper, it’s like magic to me every time it’s completed. So, the more I thought about it, it occurred to me that no matter how many times I demonstrate shading with graphite pencils, or how to blend brushstrokes with oil paint, or how salt thrown onto wet watercolor creates a grainy texture I’m like a child seeing it for the first time. It’s absolutely and totally magical to me. I never get tired of it.

I’ve always been very good at doing repetitive tasks. I used to fold arty T-shirts, hundreds of dozens a day, found it tiring but also satisfying in an achievement kind of way, i make Christmas ornaments out of paper, dozens and dozens  the same way , over and over. I don’t find this kind of activity boring. Actually I think it’s kind of meditative…… the muscle memory achieved by the repetitive motion frees up my brain for thinking about other stuff.

So, everyday I teach…… every semester the lessons stay basically the same and I give the same demonstrations, fortunately with as much enthusiasm as the first time I ever did them. The resulting art work achieved by the students is the big payoff. they do amazing things and ITS NEVER THE SAME THING TWICE!  It’s like Christmas day opening presents when every new project is completed and turned in.

I am a happy ,( maybe idiot is the wrong word after all) ,  child in a grown up’s body – maybe? Maybe no qualifier is necessary …. I’m just so very happy when I’m making art and showing others how to make art as well.