Monday, April 30, 2007

believe it

Riverside Farms at Dusk, 2004. oil on canvas, 36 x 60

"Beauty will save the world."


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Trying not to crash

Fall Fields, 2006. oil on canvas, 48 x 60
I am for the most part a good driver. Really, I am. I have only been in one accident in my life and that one was not my fault. But I do a fair amount of weaving as I drive though. I can't really help it. I'm always looking at the landscape as I drive and often the landscape distracts me. I know its not a really smart thing to do, but I get most of my ideas for my painting when I am driving. I see color relationships that are interesting, compositions that strike me that may make a good painting. I tend, like most people, to drive to the same places over and over again so I see the same things again and again. Some people may find this boring, but I love to see the same area multiple times. I get to see it at different times of day, in different seasons, and different weather conditions. I look at everything and when I see something I like I tend to look at that for longer than I should, thus weaving. I'm a classic rubbernecker, except I'm not looking at accidents; I'm looking at the landscape.
Falls Fields was one such painting that was inspired by a drive down to Southern California. I started the painting and then it sat in my studio for a very long time, years, in fact. I didn't know how to finish it. Then driving home from a meeting from a town about an hour south of where I live I saw the solution. I went back to my studio and finished it in a couple of weeks. Just like that, I found the solution. The day before I didn't know what to do with it, then I drove on a road that I had been on hundreds of times, and I saw how to finish the painting. Two drives, four years apart to finish one painting. All because I didn't want to crash a good start on a painting. The solution must of worked since I sold the painting two hours after getting it to one of my galleries.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Talking about artists

Paul Cezanne, Mont Sante-Victoire, 1902-04. oil on canvas, 28 3/4 x 36 3/16

When I am with other artists we often talk among ourselves about who our favorite painters are. I also find it is a question that collectors and art lovers like to ask. It helps to understand what influences a painter. What really rows their boat, so to speak.

Sometimes collectors eyes will glaze over when I start talking about my, well, at least fifty favorite artists. (What do you mean you have never heard of Richard Diebenkorn?! He's only one of the most important American artists of the twentieth century!) So I have to watch myself. It's when I'm talking to other artists that it can get interesting. So many times, I will mention an artist that I find highly influential, and find that my artist friends haven't even heard of him or is not even interested in his work. It's strange.

I consider Paul Cezanne to be a great painter, one of the best. Yet when I mention him I usually get blank stares from fellow artists. Wasn't he the guy who started cubism and that modern art crap? I've never understood his work. No, he wasn't, and I'm sorry you never took the time to look at what he did. There is a emotional depth in his work that is lacking in a lot of work before and since his time. He was an artist who had a personal vision of the world in paint. He reinvented what he saw in paint. That's something that I think all artists should think about when they're working. What am I bringing to this painting that is my own? Of course, we are all influenced by other artists, but how can I reinvent nature in my paintings and make it personal?

Isn't that the reason to paint?