Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Creating...and adhering to a painting process
Finding your "voice"..."style"...whatever one calls it...is a lifelong search for every artist. The search is really a sorting out process...trying different mediums... attending some classes... reading/purchasing books,magazines... joining groups to paint with...and yes....reading and exchanging ideas via cyberspace through web sites and blogging. All of these sources contribute to artistic growth and advance one's confidence and information base.
However...it is the single act of drawing,mixing colour and painting which advances that growth exponentially overall. Much of this search is...or in my opinion should be conducted alone. It is in this environment that one can risk...experiment at will and study earnestly and undisturbed. Not every artist has the immediate luxury of having studio space or the extra time and money to attend classes...which is why I chose to work outdoors initially. This decision is the single most contributing factor to my own success and happiness in painting. Outdoor painting on a regular basis teaches one everything that you can read in the best of "how-I-do it" books. It is both personal and fitted to your own perception...or way of "Seeing"...either subjects...or colour.
Through sharing this experience with a number of artists who, themselves had this passion for both the outdoors and painting... I joined a fraternity of friends who over the years developed personal and working relationships which continue to this day. Their critical input regarding my painting is both valuable and enriching to my continuing journey. I might never have met them ...had I not reached out... risked and built those friendships.
I do not separate myself from the value that studio painting brings "to the mix" either. In my sense of things...participation in one space supports the other... and neither is more defining in terms of excellence or importance. I cringe at the oft' used and now pedantic expression: " I consider myself to be a plein air painter". It is as if that school ...or method of painting supersedes painting done in any other manner. I do paint outdoors... or "plein air" as I believe the term is derived, but only because as a "hunter-gatherer"... I find resources out there which are portable in the form of "sketches" on panels, canvases or sketchbooks...to develop a thought or "Idea" further. In short...CHOOSING to paint outdoors...does NOT in any way make me special...just better educated to natural settings and processes... excited visually.... and better prepared and motivated to push forward.
I am going to try and "flesh out" an overview of my own painting methods for two reasons. The first reason is to share with my readers... my ideas that they might glean some insights to help them in their own individual searches. Secondly by going through this self-examination process... I might better understand that process...because after all of these years of painting... I do so almost out of reflex and as a ritual. One can never stop learning... without risking staleness and "stunted" artistic growth.
I will begin this process with a three post series... the first to examine medium/palette/equipment,... the second to address planning and start... the last to describe the painting process itself through to the conclusion.
Stay tuned...and Good painting to All!