Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Well, here it is... my currently untitled painting for the National Museum of Wildlife Art's Western Visions Show and Sale.
I've included two close-ups of the painting to illustrate certain attributes of my work that I constantly fight to nurture. Although this small JPEG may make the painting appear relatively detailed, the actual work is not.
It is a goal of mine to "tell the story" with as few stokes as possible — to create an illusion of detail without actually painting every detail. I'm a firm believer that this approach not only encourages the development of personal style (something I've mentioned often on this blog), but that it is also a profoundly difficult technique to master.
I realized early on that my paintings lacked elements I loved about work by other artists I admired. The absence of brushwork, paint texture, and the playing of edges in my earlier paintings all became more and more apparent as I stood back and tried to see my work from a more objective point of view.
This has led me to the idea that every stoke should be a small painting unto itself; that the painting surface should have dimension, a sculptural quality that adds actual depth to the work. And finally, that edges should be carefully considered and softened or strengthened wherever they best suite the design of the painting.
These ideas are obviously nothing new, and I certainly didn’t come up with them. But they are concepts I originally ignored and now realize the benefit of. For those of you, like me, who have an innate compulsion to produce detailed work, you understand how difficult it can be just to overcome that compulsion and paint more loosely (let alone to actually be good at it). It is a struggle I’m really enjoying and maybe even beginning to overcome.
I don’t know if this painting is a good piece of art or not — that’s for you all to decide — but I do feel that with it I have achieved some level of success in creating those qualities that I find so appealing in painting.
I hope you all like it!