Wednesday, February 3, 2010

How Do You Make Your Art Personal?

I had a really interesting conversation with my dear friend and art guru Tina last night, which brought up a lot of questions in my mind. We were talking about the qualities that make some works of art feel really personal, as if they came right from the artist's heart. What are those qualities? When I think of the pieces that move me the most, it's rarely the degree of realism or the technical proficiency demonstrated by the artist. But what are those elusive qualities?

This brought us to another point of discussion: What questions should an artist ask herself or himself while painting, especially when finishing a painting, that will make the work truly personal and meaningful? Obviously, the questions What did I want to say with this? and Have I effectively said it? must be asked. But what else?

I'm curious to hear your ideas!!


  1. Yes, great and 'effectively' needs defining. A working definition. One I use is "have I said this as simply as possible, yet are there enough things going on to keep the viewer's interest?"

    One of these points of interest is to not be fully explained. e.g perhaps it should pose questions. "What's around the corner?" (As in your lovely work). "What does it mean?" etc.

  2. One thing that helps me is that I have to love the subject I'm painting...just can't wait to get to my brushes and put paint on that white paper.

  3. I think the "degree of realism" and "technical proficiency" often get used as if meaning the same thing. I'm not saying you're doing it here, but when you say these qualities aren't necessary to move you, I'd challenge the idea that there is very much art out there that moves people that isn't technically proficient in some way, regardless of the style, it I'd think proficiency would be required.

    Perhaps I'm wrong about this, but I'd need to see some examples.

    Maybe I'm too hard on myself and that translates to other work I look at?