Jump! How that one word changed my career as an artist.
Artists love to create. It’s what drives us to express ourselves in one form or another. It’s rewarding. It’s fun. It’s challenging. So why do so few artists succeed at being …. an “Artist?”
When I started painting again it was for fun. I enjoyed the process of choosing what to paint, and the challenge of trying to turn a 2-dimensional collection of canvas and colored pigment into something that expressed feeling, captured a moment, or was just satisfying to look at. But being an “Artist”? You know, actually pursuing art as a way to support myself? Let’s get real.
Like many, I had grown up to believe art was something you did if you didn’t want to eat regularly. Or if you could live off of your relatives. Being an artist, a musician, a writer, a poet, these are things people living on the fringe did. It just wasn’t a realistic career path. I was afraid of taking it seriously. I kept listening to all those voices that said being an artist wasn’t a real option.
No I am not talking about x-ray vision, although that would be cool. Instead I want to talk about how we see art and how to expand our own awareness and appreciation.
Like most people, my view and opinion of art is filtered through the lens of my experience. I have certain prejudices based on life experience, experience as an artist, and past exposure to art. When I first started painting I was heavily influenced by an early love of Claude Monet. Impressionism was my favorite form of art and many of the contemporary painters I was drawn to painted in a loose, impressionistic style. This bias was likely formed in my late teens and early twenties. I remember one of the first big museum shows I went to was at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and they were holding a Monet exhibit that included many of his Haystacks, Rouen Cathedral and other paintings. I found it fascinating and perplexing at the same time.
Many years later, long before I started painting again, I vacationed in France and was able to visit the Musee d’Orsay, Marmottan-Monet Museum, Le Orangerie, and others. Sitting in the room surrounded by Monet’s Water Lillies is quite an experience. Cézanne, Courbet, Sisley, Pissarro, Manet, Renoir, what could be better? Continue reading “Seeing Through Others”
My old website, and blog, was cumbersome to maintain. Recently I gave a presentation at the Essex Art League about websites for artists. In doing so I realized my own site had ground to a halt. I wasn’t posting. It was hard to navigate. Of all the things I said artists should do with their website I was only ticking off a few of the boxes.
So I rebuilt my website. It should now be easier for me to keep up to date. I have added artist comments to every painting I post. The blog should be easier to maintain.
So much has happened in the past year I want to start sharing and getting your input and feedback. So “Full Steam Ahead” to a new and improved www.creativewatersart.com. Look for me to share not only my journey as an artist and new work, but resources and ideas, and tips/things I have learned now that I am a “Gallery Manager” at the Bryan Memorial Gallery.
Thanks for sticking with me. If you have not subscribed to my blog, consider doing so. Between Facebook and my website/blog you will keep up with everything I am up to as an artist.
This will likely be the first of a series of posts about other artists I draw inspiration from. For this first one, I used the inspiration of Alan Kingwell’s work to paint this picture I am titling “Winter Journey”.
Alan Kingwell is a UK artist who is self-taught. His work is incredible. You really should check out his YouTube channel and watch him paint or choose one of the videos that show some of his work. What I like about Alan’s work is the way he captures the light and mood of a place. Whether its the glow of a sunset coming through the base of a wave or the light filtering through a winter woods, he manages to really make the light seem alive. His seascapes are just amazing!
I think one aspect of his painting that appeals to me is that there is a certain ‘left-brain’ aspect to it that resonates with me. His creativity is obvious, but the attention to detail, the intricacy of his work appeals to my left-brain side that likes perfection and precision. Yet his paintings don’t feel at all static or structured. Most artists are strongly ‘right-brained’ which is the creative side of us, but many of us also have strong analytical or ‘left-brained’ aspects to our personalties too. This method of painting, with such attention to detail, can be a satisfying activity to feed that side of the brain in a creative endeavor. Continue reading “Alan Kingwell Inspired “Winter Journey””
I was reminded tonight, while watching a time-lapse painting on youtube by fellow artist Brandon Schaefer, of a problem I have been having recently, and often have. I suspect its one shared by many who start to explore art in its various forms.
When am I done, when do I stop?
Every now and then I work on a piece and it all seems to come together and I know just when to stop. But sometimes, I just can’t seem to find the finish line. There is always something that needs adjusting, repainting or rethinking.
While watching Brandon do his latest piece I noticed he repainted the water, the sky, the mountains in the background, and other elements multiple times as he progressed. And he has painted many hundreds of paintings and has been posting on youtube for 3 years (or so!). The painting came out great. It was comforting to see.
My latest piece, which I am calling “Big Red” I repainted so many times I lost count. And each time it made me feel so helpless and inadequate. If I was ‘good enough’ and knew what I was doing I surely would have gotten it right from the start! No? Continue reading “Knowing When to STOP! (and when not to)”