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Showing posts from January, 2013

More Thoughts On Critique: Your Comments

There were many thoughtful comments to the last blog post on the Art of Critique: A Conversationwith my friend Rebecca Crowell. Several people wondered about the importance of putting words on paintings and if doing so might distract from insights that cannot be captured with words. One friend wrote today to ask me if there were guidelines to exploring painting in an non-verbal way.  These are great questions.

Non-verbal communication is what painting is all about.
I fully understand about the difficulty of putting words onto a painting, and the way that they limit.  It must be like translating poetry from one language to another.  Something is lost in the translation.

Here are a few non-verbal guidelines I've developed when looking at my own work.  I wouldn't necessarily use all of these when I look at someone else's work.  They are just places where I begin.

-First, I feel the piece. How does it make me feel?  Calm?  Happy?  Joyful? Agitated? You don't have to put words…

The Art of Critique: a Conversation

How Does A Journey Influence Your Work

When I return from a journey,  I let the experience wash through me, not knowing what effect it will have on my work. I just begin to work, and after I have a few paintings under my belt,  I stand back to see what's happening.  Then I realize that it could be a colour I saw that influenced me or the lines on the standing stones, or even something someone said to me.
I always find that I am slow to really settle into a trip, especially when it requires that I paint.  For me, painting is about place; my relationship with the place I am in. In his new book: The Old Ways, A Journey on Foot, Robert MacFarlane says that "the two questions we should ask of any strong landscape are these: firstly, what do I know when I am in this place that I can know nowhere else?  And then, vainly, what does this place know of me that I cannot know of myself?"
I painted in the beautiful artist residency at Cill Rialaig in Ireland last November, but I also needed the second part of my journey-at …

About the End of the Year

This is the time of the year that we should take stock isn't it?  Look back and see what we've done this year.  What we've accomplished.  Are the art sales up?  Or down?  What are we doing right?  Or wrong?
More than this, I try to look back and see if my work has changed and grown.  And if I have.  I look back to see what I've learned and if it was what I thought I was going to learn.
I always try to write New Year's Resolutions.  Some years I create detailed sections like they tell you in the books on Success:  Physical, Emotional, Spiritual, Artistic, Financial.  I divide them down into bite-sized pieces that would be almost impossible not to accomplish. It takes a lot of time and thought.  I carefully file this list in my pink filing cabinet.  By the end of January, I can't remember which section I've filed it under and in fact, I've forgotten what any of those bite-sized bits were.  It's not until Dec. 31st that I go hunting for that list.