Thursday, July 4, 2013

Living On "The Right Side"

This is a challenging and interesting post for me. Some weeks ago I had a request for a critique for improvement on a new artists piece of work. The work was quite nice to begin with so providing a worthwhile and positive critique seemed critical itself.  I am the last person wishing to stop an emerging artist with insensitive words.   So I've answered it with a couple pics of my older work wherein I also was and still am on a journey to be a better storyteller through what I do.  I feel like I will always be emerging/ moving forward to a better relationship with my painting/quilting.  We don't ever fully ARRIVE!"

I've chosen post comments on the lion "King" and a few long ago pics of my painting technique. I created The lion "King" as my first ready to go drawing so students who maybe never painted before could join me and create an exciting art piece to take home and show the world and themselves the talent that had been dormant or at least hiding inside them.

first here's the info I shared with a student asking for a specific critique of sorts on how to improve.   "    This is not "THE" panacea answer but it's an important thing to consider....   What I might suggest can be about more choice more than painting  technique/skill. I often say in class... "I'm pretty sure Michaelangelo didn't create "DAVID" right out of the gate.  So be nice to yourself.... It took one of the  best artists ever time to get where he wanted. I remain on my own journey, never to "fully arrive."  

One of the things in displaying elements in an art composition ( even within a live being) is to help the viewer see and enjoy a unified composition... "It makes the brain happy." (This honestly can apply to quilting patterns as well as painting, but let's just think about this for painting right now)  One way to do that is to soften transitions as the viewer's eye moves from one area to another. This sounds good lest everything is soft and the piece loses the viewers interest.  This underscores that old "everything in moderation" approach to life.  So, I like seeing some things in "focus" and others less so. This requires some self questioning on "whats really important to see clearly vs. what isn't?"  

I might interpret that question to myself on a portrait of the King of lions this way.  I want to see his piercing eyes quite clearly.... thus I may put them in focus!!! Bear in mind, I designed this piece for an absolute beginner so the details of painting an eye was not part of my goal. I kept it simple but still important from a viewed distance.   When I think of his mane, it's the feel/gesture of the mane that seems important to me. The ability to distinguish individual fur hairs or even groupings of fur is less important so I may keep the edges of elements a bit more soft...  slightly blurred if you will.  Maybe the 'bad hair day" spikey edges on the top of his head/mane could translate the gesture of his mane if slightly out of focus.

  And so the dance of art goes. 

What I'm really getting at is the path to improving is most about the questions we create for ourselves on how to best tell the story we want to tell.  If one can answer the in vs out of focus question for themselves, the how to do it on the page(or in this case fabric) will start to solve itself.  I do hope the ink rub or test cloth is always handy as I've long believed the success of our painted piece is largely dependent on our use and experimentation on our white scrap fabric BFF(best friend fabric) . One could say...the "what" needs to be solved comes through our brain ... the how to solve it oft comes through our fingers, intuition, and experimentation.

This  started to sound like a book... I hate sounding like a book but it is what I do with my own work... and now, you know my thinking. Use it or not... all your choice as some like everything in clear focus to begin, and the other game of in and out may come in play as time goes on. It did for me and the dance indeed continues.

I'd love comments on whether this was helpful to you. 

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