Monday, November 7, 2011

How To Paint

Oops…..sorry….I hope you didn’t think that this was going to be a cheap discourse on how to do a sketch of Obama….or how to draw eyes perfectly each time.
I was thinking more about how to get truly meaningful results from one’s work by staying, as Michael Grimaldi says, "get jazzed" about the process. Same guy said "If you really, really want to paint flowers, then paint flowers…..if you are painting flowers because you think that they will sell….wrong reason to paint."

I was also thinking about how to paint things that others would be interested in. Don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty well-known for not being a people-pleaser. I would like to think that my work actually reflects that, that I have a unique way of seeing things, and expressing them. I had a lot of great teachers infuse that into my head, my being.

I have a very fond memory of talking with one of my instructors, Darren Kingsley, about the difficulties that I was having in his class. I actually whimpered, "I just want to be able to draw like this!", and I melodramatically pointed to one of his drawings that were hanging on the wall. He didn’t pause for even a second with his response. "You never will." That is what he said. And….I took it the wrong way.

For several years I thought that he meant that I would just never be as good as him. I ruminated on this for a couple of years…..and over time came to realize that what he was saying was my work would never look like his for the simple fact that I am not nor ever will be, him. I am me, and if I truly embrace that fact, with the learned skills that I have acquired, my work will have its own distinctive qualities.

I was with a friend once, and we were at a gallery and she was trying to pick the gallery owner’s brain about what sold in that area. Was it seashells? Horses? Seascapes? Maybe…..tomatoes? And the owner replied "Paint what you respond to, and others will respond to those paintings." Wonderfully awesome answer.

How to paint…..how about with some real intelligence….Yes, of course that means with skills attained in school. But beyond technical mastery, that in itself takes a lo-o-o-ong time to acquire, try to use your own brain to really paint from the heart and soul.

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