Sunday, 8 May 2011

The road to hell...

...might be paved with good intentions, but the road to self-improvement is, too.
After a good deal of frustration with what I had, or had not achieved with my painting efforts, I finally decided to go back to the basics and learn how to do it!
It didn't take me long to realize that I have an awful long way to go, but at least I'm painting again.
So what is the way forward?
A few years or even months ago I was trying to make my mark (literally) painting abstracts, but no longer seemed able to paint with the gay abandon I had in earlier years, such as when I painted canvases like this one:

Then I came across a painter here in Germany who had developed his own method of creating paintings that look like old masters, technically speaking. You might like to look in at his website.

I attended a couple of demonstrations at art stores, bought his two instruction books and spent a weekend at a workshop at his studio.  All of this convinced me to give it a try.

During the workshop an elderly lady who was also attending said something which rang a bell in my consciousness as a painter. Talking of modern art, she said that so much of it consists of the execution of some technique or other, which is then declared to be art. That really made me think about my efforts with various mediums and painting instruments, of the layered boards and canvases that were fun to do, but served no real purpose since they were only surfaces and did not tell a story or contain anything to really catch the viewer's attention. I suppose I lacked the ambition to celebrate them as works of art, as one demonstrator on did on a video I watched this morning. I found myself asking "What for?" at regular intervals. Here's a preview. Copy the URL then click on the blue preview button. I would dearly like to ask that artist what she does with all the stuff she creates. I have a sneaking suspicion that it's all about selling the products (she is employed by the manufacturer) rather than making art one can legitimately call art. Her results are anything but fascinating. They are - as the elderly colleague pointed out - technical processes. I suppose they can result in decorative wall hangings (she has one on the wall behind her), but is that what I want to spend my time doing? No.
Undeniably, when I'm painting I don't want to be asking myself what I'm doing it for!
The answer for me was to do something new and challenging.

During the coming weeks I hope to post work showing my progress (if there is any). There are so many wonderful still life painters. I'm really amazed how alive the techniques of the Old Masters still are today. I don't expect to emulate any of them, but at least I feel I'm going somewhere. This is one of my first tries, about 6 weeks ago.The match bottom left shows the size of the painting. The shine was unavoidable as the painting was still wet.

No comments:

Post a Comment