We are considering How to Paint for the Prize - my advice to artist who wish to do their best work. Improvement happens with practice and over time, but what else can you do to "bring up your game?"
The outline for this series is as follows:
Content (have ideas)
Narrow the time frame
The most important area to consider is content. It goes to the aesthetic ideas that you have, and the particular thoughts you want to communicate through your work.
While I focused my recent series on one subject, the river, I was also compelled to clearly present a set of ideas. Why? Because I felt that if I adhered to certain clearly thought out ideas, my audience would treat the series as a whole and travel farther into my work. In short, they could understand it better, and also feel connected to the artist's ideas.
Philosophies of art distinguish between form and content. Form considers the marks and material parts of a painting, and includes the formal aspects such as shape, line and value. Consider abstract aspects of a painting as formal qualities. Content, simply put, is the artist's meaning - the ideas that he has.
What kinds of ideas are we talking about, here? Is it enough to represent one's subject as well as possible? I think in this day and age, most can see the thinness of this as a basic idea. More complete ideas are required.
What about quality, or technical skill? It is important, and rigor in art is foundational. But, artists who have been at their work for some time admit that technique is a small part of their presentation. And, I think, technique can help in the presentation of one's ideas, but it can sometimes stand in the way, too. A great resolve may be just what your painting doesn't need, especially if it paves over the first emotions you brought to the work.
Here are some of my thoughts on painting:
- A painting must become more than the sum of its parts.
- A painting is a history of what happened to the artist.
- An artist should communicate his ethos through his art.
- I believe that a painting should affirm the personal.
What are my ideas in the River Series? I'll tell you in the next post. I notice here that my decision to occupy the space that straddles traditional and modern ideas convinces about 9% of the audience of interested viewers. Y-A-W-N...