Saturday, May 28, 2005

We paint pictures of more than our subjects

We paint pictures of more than our subjects

This is one of the "Joe Series" from a while back (probably 5 years or so). It's water color and colored pencil on Arches #140 cold pressed paper. Sorry it's a bit blurry, I don't have a better image.

Do you ever look back at old work and notice that it doesn't have the dimension that your newer work has? I'm not talking in terms of perspective but rather a multi-dimensional something that keeps growing deeper the longer we make art and progress? It shows in my work in a more extensive use of textures, wider range of values, differing line qualities and even a more extensive use of subtleties in color. I don't see it in all of my newer work but in my "greater" works. It's not just a matter of learning to make better art technically, I think it has to do with more life experience, the longer we live the more layers of understanding we have and it can't help but be expressed in the work we produce.

I once met a lady who could "read" what an artist was like by looking at the artist's work. I was helping to jury people into a co-op gallery, she was looking at the work of artists I knew and making comments about the artist themselves based on their work while she was helping to determine which work should be included in the gallery. I was astounded at what she had to say about the different personalities, she was "dead on" in most cases. She did not know the artists and didn't know me at all (or know that I was in the room) but when she came to my work her comments were really "spot on" and made a permanent impression on me. That was many years ago and my work was good as far as it went, compositions were strong, the work was fun and colorful, when she saw it she said, "Oh I wish everyone could be as happy as this artist!", and she had a bit of sarcasm in her voice. What she meant was, it's pretty and well done but it's rather shallow. She wasn't being mean or critical, she understood where I was at the time and called it like it was. She was right but at the time I couldn't understand it completely, I just knew she was right because of how right she'd been about the other artist's work and I knew deep down in spite of not understanding why. It was quite a few years and lots more of life's more challenging experiences before I understood, and it was through looking at my own work that I began to see the greater depth in myself.

I don't think every artist can be "read" by all of their work but I do believe that we can't leave ourselves out of it no matter what our style or subject matter. When we paint we paint our deepest selves to a certain extent. Our choice of color, texture, range of values, line quality, composition etc. are a language just as surly as the words we speak or write. What do you think?

And on a different subject....

I went out to coffee with my friend farmerjulie and another friend this morning, it was fun! We had been saying we were going to do this for ages and finally met at Rembrandt's for a lovely chat. My friend MK has 2 boys which she brought and they played with Tanner while we did our visiting and laughing, it was refreshing.

We did succeed in getting a new car yesterday, well a used car but it's new to me :-D It's a little Honda CRV, a very practical car that is fun to drive and pretty easy on gas. It's bright red and shiny. Geesh it takes a long time to purchase a car even after you decide what you want!

I don't really have anything special planned for this weekend, Paul is working today and roping tomorrow and probably Monday. I think I'll make a big potato salad and plan on doing Kabobs on the grill to go with the margaritas which we NEED because it's hot outside. Supposed to get to 90 degrees today.

One more thing, I have been making an effort to keep up with all of you crazy, multi-posting live journal and blogging peeps. Good grief if a girl gets behind it's almost impossible to go back! It's been such a busy week that I did indeed get behind and so I am giving up on doing all the back tracking. I've got about a jillion emails that I need to respond to also but I'm feeling overwhelmed by them. You guys are such a wonderful supportive bunch of friends that I hate missing anything but it's impossible not to sometimes. Please don't take anything personally if I don't get back to you, it's not that I don't care and I will respond as soon as I can :-D K?


Blogger Carolyn said...

Hi Sheila.
Yeah, I agree it's so interesting to see the differences between old work and new. I've only been drawing regularly since Jan and it's AMAZING to me how my journal drawings have evolved. It's one of the things that keeps me motivated right now, in this beginning stage of my creative "re-birth" (OMG that sounds way to corny) The goal has been just to draw everyday and so YAY, I've been accomplishing that. The next goal is to challenge myself technically which has been proving a little more difficult because I have not made the time to work on an actual piece, you know, something I'd want to hang on my wall. The excuse is I'm too impatient to start a project, the fear is that sometimes things start out promising, what if I get nearly to completion and SCREW IT UP somehow? Then all of that time and effort and happy energy will just be a disapointment. :c (
I need to get over that excuse.
I am so happy to hear you got in some "Sheila-time" with friends. It will show in your work.
Yay! A new car! How fun.
Don't worry about responding, you get to it when you get to it. There are more important things!

4:58 PM  
Blogger Sheila Hudson said...

Oh yes, seeing your growth is a great way to stay motivated!

"The excuse is I'm too impatient to start a project, the fear is that sometimes things start out promising, what if I get nearly to completion and SCREW IT UP somehow? Then all of that time and effort and happy energy will just be a disapointment".

I have felt this way, it's true but reality is that the time and effort will never be wasted. What you learn both from the successes and the failures is well worth the efforts. It used to irritate me when a friend used to tell me that when a painting would fail but now I know it to be true. For example, if you overwork a painting and make the colors muddy you will have learned what not to do the next time and you have a greater chance of keeping your colors out of the mud after messing them up once.
Yes, you must get past that in order to keep moving :-D

The car is fun, I've been in the mood to drive around since I got it *grin*.

12:13 PM  

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