Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Dancing 1920s

Paint pigments are of the earth making paint a living thing that can perform magic. The quality of any artwork is in direct relationship to the skill with which the artist applies the paint to canvas.

Imagination and style separate one artist from another. Mixed with an artist’s own unique experience and point of view, a message is created that breathes life into the finished work. This message is the artist’s own interpretation of what he or she sees, but there are other forces at work:

• Motivation. What motivates an artist to paint something in the first place? The answers are as varied as the artists themselves. It could be something as simple as a droplet of water on a leaf or the crinkles on a child’s nose to an emotional trauma, physical pain, or an arousal so deep it must be captured on paper or canvas.

• Composition. Coupled with interpretation, the center of interest or focus of any given artwork is not only a question of principles taught and used down through the ages, but what appeals to the artist’s own sensibilities, and how they will portray that vision on canvas.

• Choice. Not only choice of subject matter, but of equipment, of color, and tools. Whether to use a palette knife vs. a brush; whether to go “mixed media,” oil, or watercolor and every other variation in between. And whether your vision or interpretation can best be captured through a painting, a sculpture or in apparel, textiles, or jewelry.

Because the act of creating artwork is a living, breathing thing, it is fluid; always changing and sometimes unpredictable. The drawing forms a map that guides the artist through a labyrinth of choices. But on the journey, the artist may find that the roadway is off and something needs to be added or changed.

The painting itself – that first brushstroke on canvas doesn’t cement the artist’s vision or choices. The paint as part of the earth it comes from may be pushed and pulled or covered up if necessary. It isn’t until the painting takes on a life of its own that the artist may step back and say: “It is finished.”

I hope you enjoyed the vintage posters and my “work in progress.” Soon I’ll have the finished mixed media artwork ready for you.