Archive for February, 2013

What’s Your Impression? Part 1

Friday, February 15th, 2013

With Valentine’s Day just past, many of us have been considering the many and varied loves of our lives. One of my loves is painting. Why do I paint? The simplest answer is because it’s fun and satisfying. But that still begs the question … Why?

100904 Boy and His Bike

Unlike our forebears, we don’t need to record images for posterity. Cameras do that for us. Photographic realism and tromp l’oeil are at one end of a very long continuum. At the other end of the realism-abstraction continuum is pure abstraction, which focuses on use of color, design, and non-representational images. These paintings, too, have a legitimate purpose and place in the art world. Although I appreciate and can recognize the technical ability that go into fine art at either end of the spectrum, I find that some of the mid-continuum approaches “speak” to me most clearly. And that’s the art in which I find the greatest satisfaction.

So what is my purpose every time I begin working on a new image? I’ve taken as my guiding principle the old hymn lyric by Folliott Sanford Pierpoint: “For the beauty of the earth, for the glory of the skies, for the love which from our birth over and around us lies; Lord of all, to Thee I raise this, my hymn of grateful praise!”

At first glance, some of my subjects may appear mundane. But I paint the joy, the pleasure, the excitement and sense of awe I experience in the world around me—the way light shines through a petal, the play of colors in an oceanscape, the graceful flow of line in an animal, the energy and sense of freedom of a child at play. For that I usually use an interpretive, impressionistic approach, based on literal images. My viewers can’t experience exactly what I experience, but I can share with them my impressions of the experience, allowing others to share in the feelings it evoked for me. So both at heart and at the easel I consider myself an impressionist.

Why It’s Called “Submitting”

Friday, February 1st, 2013

It takes courage to submit artwork to a show. First, in order to select your best work, you must become objective about it, admitting that it’s not all your best stuff. That’s humbling. And educational.

Then you have to follow the rules (easier for some of us than for others) and meet a deadline (again, easier for some than for those of us used to working at our own pace, according to no particular schedule).

And we must, figuratively speaking, prepare to shove our fledglings out of the nest. Have they learned their manners? Are they appropriately dressed? Will they get along well with their peers? Can they hold their own in society, or even make a name for themselves?… It’s not that easy to let go!

You must name a price for your artwork. But how do you assign a monetary value to effort, experience, materials, and … (admit it) emotional ties? You may start by setting a price in the stratosphere … but then you have to get real, ignore the emotional ties, and base it instead on practicality and your pre-established pricing guidelines.

And then you relinquish control.

Subsequent rejection is humbling once again. Acceptance is gratifying but not entirely empowering. You still have no control over how your work will be handled, how effectively it will be displayed, or in what company it stands. You have learned to submit. It isn’t easy. … But sometimes it pays off.

120501 Jamaican Hat Vendor

“Jamaican Hat Vendor,” (#120501) one of my three submitted pieces, was accepted for the 2013 National Faces and Figures Exhibition, sponsored by and located at the Visual Arts Center in Punta Gorda, Florida. The exhibition is running from February 2 through March 8, 2013. If you’re in the area, I hope you’ll drop by to see it in person.