Friday, May 20, 2011

Is my Work Becoming Stagnant?

What prompted me to ask this question?  Some time ago, I was discussing our church web site with a friend. I’m the webmaster, and I’d made a remark that parts of our web site "remained static" because it’s geared for investigators and visitors and not for members per se’.

“Oh, you mean It’s stagnant?” she quipped.

I hated the word the moment she said it. “Is our web page boring,” I thought, “or uninteresting?” The word “stagnant” stayed with me for months.

"Arabesque" 14x18 oil on canvas

I applied it to my artwork. Has my style and technique become stagnant over the years? If someone were to look at my work of twenty years ago and compare it to my artwork today, would they see progress? Would my work look fresh and edgy, or would it just reflect what I’ve produced in the past?

The dictionary defines stagnant as: motionless, dull, inactive, stays the same, not flowing in a current or stream.

Work in Progress -- 20x24 oil on canvas

Motionless applied to a painting might mean there’s no energy or life; either in the brushwork, or in the composition (fails to draw people in or to lead them to the center of interest i.e. not flowing). The colors may seem lifeless and bland (dull).

Those of you who’ve been following me know what I’ve painted over the past two years. For those of you who don’t, please go to my online gallery @

I truly have made an effort to change-up my style and make it a bit more edgy. But is it working?

In this blog, I'm featuring my latest “work in progress.”

As you may remember, I planned on calling this new painting: “Sand Crane Dreams” because when I see sandhill cranes feeding and mating, they remind me of Native American dancers.

Unfortunately, when everyone else sees my canvas or offers critique, they have very different ideas.

The beginnings of "Sand Cranes Dream"

I’m in a quandry as to where to take this painting next? I may try to finish with my own personal sand crane concept and see what happens, or I may think of something else. Your suggestions and comments are always welcome.