There is always an on going conversation with representational artist about the use of tools, like mirrors, photos, projectors, grids etc. and the question of whether or not the use of these tools constitutes cheating. As if there is some unfair advantage in using these tools and conversely sainthood when you don’t use them. But the use of any tool as well as not using one does not make a drawing or painting better, especially representation works. When we have completed a painting of someone, what we have is not that person, regardless of the tools we used. What we have is our interpretation of that person on canvas or paper and it is the interpretation that is the most important part. I’ve heard this story about Gertrude Stein and Picasso many times and can guess that it is true. Supposedly on seeing this portrait of herself she said to Picasso “It doesn’t look anything like me” and he responded “that in time it will”. I and many other people that I know have seen photos of Ms. Stein and they don’t look anything like her. It’s the Picasso interpretation that I remember best. I believe everything we create is about us, what we feel, what’s important to us and what we want to say about it. Being skillful is helpful, but it doesn’t guarantee that you’ve got something to say. (As a kid, I was very skillful playing the piano scales, that is as far as it got). Creativity can be seen as a interpretation of what we believe is physically real. This small painting is a wp interpretation.
Posts by Bob Martin
This is the end product of a demo I posted on another site. The process I used was to do a series of acrylic washes until I thought I knew the person I was looking for in this painting. Then started to build in oil, leaving some of the acrylic visible. I kept from moving away from my original idea by avoiding the urge to make everything perfect. I thought about making the hand smaller or detailing the neck line of his T-Shirt, but it remained just a thought. I had the feeling that I was done and it was time to move on to something new.
When something is just right the first time you see or hear it, can it be attributed to formula or technique? Usually not. It is obviously something that can’t be learned just by taking classes or mingling with masters. Recently I watched for the third or fourth time Gorillaz: Demon Days Live in Harlem and think a certain type of magic had to take place in order Albarn to pull this off. I know it is well produced and staged, but so are so many things that don’t work and are far from being magical. How does the magic happen. For something to be important and seen as a contribution it has to not be before or after its’ time.
It has to have an enduring beat, something that time can’t dull, like “Little Rooty Tooty”
So it is for me with the Paintings of Hopper. There is Poetry in his paintings. Old style rap, you can see and feel the “Rhythm”
Now that I am over much of my computer issues and can focus on art I came across a couple of photos (hidden on my PC) that I had forgotten about. Over the last ten years or more I’ve had an opportunity to be taught creativity by pre-school young people. When I am around a bunch of kids, I learn all over again that art like life is to serious to take seriously. There is so much joy in watching kids paint flying dogs for Valentine’s Day or green hearts for Mother’s Day
When ever I get an invitation to work with young people, I say sure, why not, I’ll be there. Then I experience an unimaginable fear as if I were meeting the Queen and I wonder why I did I say yes. The answers comes within two seconds after meeting the kids.
I’ve always had this interest in how I might be able to tell a story in my paintings, without having to layout every detail.
This painting is a “work in progress” and for me it’s about distance. The two figures have adopted the same stance and maybe for different reason. Because they appear to be in the same location/room, they are together. I will find out what they are about as I continue to paint. Figuring out the story is one of the most enjoyable parts of painting for me.
This past Tuesday I attended a lecture and discussion panel with three gallery owners who talked about how they got into the business, what they see their role and relationship to the artist is etc. Someone in the audience brought up Internet sales and did they work with artist who also sold their work on line.
If you are currently doing both, selling via your website and through a gallery, what are the agreements that you have in place with the gallery? Do you sell certain types of work on-line but not through the gallery?