Most artists know the the pain of starting something new. The blank canvas, the raw wood, the block of earth, the quiet room: they are a haunting lack of presence. The fear of failure never seems so prevalent when you’re staring at the blank. Its very unsettling to have the compulsion to create only to be halted by insecurity. This insecurity mostly comes from lack of confidence in ones own work, that what you create won’t be understood or more accurately that your work fails to true represent what you feel. To
combat that insecurity, you practice. The idea of practice generally leads to concentration on the details. One usually starts developing the details, intensely. So one becomes master of one thing, a specialist. The modern artist can easily be drawn delicately into a corner by itself. Like so.
It means absolutely nothing to me. But its easy. One dimensional. Lifeless. While this delicacy will eventually shine in more dear works, its effortlessness is frustrating. Why can’t I summon the courage to do that when I want. How do I link my hand and my heart? ‘The big picture’, a haunting common phrase, is my judge. It hold’s me to a creedo that demands everything and promises absolutely nothing. As I am a selfish man I will do very little when promised nothing. When I speak of getting a return, I’m not asking for acknowledgement, accolade, and definitely not money: I am speaking about continuity and clarity. The big picture will not allow such a thing. To force the habit…to force the big picture out, or at least a bigger one, can be possible. Teacher’s think this can be taught. They start with shape recognition, which is exactly like learning how to read. We read by shapes; of words, numbers, and even sentences. Image vocabulary is very important for an artist, both in absorption and association. This allows you to pull out what you see and feel more readily, very important in brain storming and initial sketches.
The next logical step, though a very difficult one, is bravery with color. Lay it on thick. Be wild. Be deliberate. This stage is a commitment to the image. Think impressionist, very concerned about capturing a moment of time. Think Lucian Freud, concerned about connecting with the flesh on and outside the canvas.
As maturation is reckless without goals both physical and mental, I am seeking a new regimen to mature as an artist. Two things are guiding me; the painters maxim “generalize often and use every color”, and a simple but obtainable body of work. As sort of a new years resolution, I plan to paint on portrait a week for the next year to be featured here(allowing two weeks reprieve). Somewhat inspired by the movie Julia & Julia, but mostly from the following portrait of my dear friend Lindsey.
Three colors on a post-it note. Simple and direct. I hope to carry this idea forward graduating to 4×4 canvas panels and more than three colors. Even If I only accomplish half of my goal (25), that is a decent body of work and hours of practice. So wish me luck as I move forward with this project, and I wish luck for your new years endeavors and patience for those task that last longer than a year.
Happy New Years