Thursday, January 28, 2010

When Technique Becomes Gimmick

I think we all enjoy discovering new techniques, and when we find one that yields great results we love to use it again and again. It's especially easy to do with watercolors because that adaptive medium lends itself to so many innovative paint applications. Personally, I'm in love with the palette knife--I can find so many ways to use it to add texture to my oil paint.

Awhile back, though, someone said that my reliance on palette knife work had reached the point of being a gimmick. What?! Me?! Gimmicky?! I was mortified to think that my work was becoming cliche. I immediately stopped using the tool I loved, and pushed myself to explore other techniques.

Recently, however, I picked up my beloved palette knife once again, only with a new depth of meaning. Without going into a lot of detail, I feel that this tool and the ways I'm using it actually contribute to the content and message of my paintings. The technique has purpose beyond making the surface look more interesting. And that, I've decided, is what will keep any technique from becoming a gimmick.

Friday, January 22, 2010

To Life, To Life, L'Chaim

Artists are natural-born observers, and from our observations we make art. But that doesn't mean we can sit on the sidelines, only observing. We have to immerse ourselves, dive in, get dirty, wade through all life's many complications to make truly great art. Barbara Kingsolver says it best in her new novel The Lacuna when she has Frida Kahlo say these words: "[An artist] needs to go rub his soul against life." 

All that life has brought me I'm thankful for. I've rubbed my soul against it, and I'm ready to make some art. You?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Words to Ponder

I just wanted to check in with everyone and say hi! Still working on setting up the new apartment and studio. I'm going to need better lighting. Any ideas? And before I go, here's a good quote to consider:

A sincere artist is not one who makes a faithful attempt to put on to canvas what is in front of him, but one who tries to create something which is, in itself, a living thing.
--William Dobell