Thursday, November 30, 2006

the road less travelled

To those of you who don't know this already, I have worked my way from realism to abstraction. I did not simply pick up a brush one day and start painting whatever came to me. That might work for some artists, but it wasn't good enough for me. I have a degree in art. I studied art history, drawing, design, color theory, painting and sculpture. I have been drawing from the human figure for almost 15 years. I think there is a notion running rampant out there that painters who work abstractly do so only because they cannot draw. I am here to tell you that is NOT true. Maybe for SOME artists it is true. It is not true for me.

There is also a segment of the population who think that abstract art is easier than realistic art, and that anyone could paint an abstract. I suppose you might as well say anyone could paint a landscape, the figure or even a still life. That does not mean anyone can do it well. The same is true for abstract art. In fact, after having explored still life, portraits and the landscape, I have discovered that painting abstractly is by FAR the most challenging. If I am painting a bowl of fruit, for example, I have the fruit right there in front of me. I know what I am trying to achieve. I know what I want the painting to look like. There is the fruit right there. That is what I want the painting to look like. There are all kinds of guidelines to follow, from years and years of art history. The path is well defined. Now, in contrast, if I am painting something completely out of my mind, NOT trying to make it look like fruit, or a person, or a landscape, I do not know exactly where I am going. There is not much of a path. The way is not clear. There is much more mystery; there are fewer rules to follow. It is so easy to create a horrible abstract painting!!! It is difficult to produce an abstract that has harmony, a solid composition, and beauty. For me, this is the challenge I find fascinating. This less familiar path is the path I want to travel.

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