Knowing Who You Are
“What the artist must aim at above all else is this: to produce, by any process whatever, a work which by the life and humanity emanating from it communicates to the beholder…” Medardo Rosso
In the last blog I wrote about being open to who you are. You may want to emulate someone, but your style and how you work, in the end, is going to be uniquely yours. What motivates you will be different than what motivate someone else, and when you get in touch with that, your voice will become clear and your work will be strong.
Since I do both realistic and abstract work I am frequently asked; “Which do you like better?” I couldn’t choose. I love doing both and frequently move from one table to the other working on different pieces. For me, in many ways, they are intertwined.
The visual arts are a dialogue between the creator and the viewer. Sometimes I chose the dialogue to be realistic, and sometimes I choose it to be abstract. I look, I see, I feel, I create, and that frequently starts with a pastel painting.
I love the effects you can achieve with pastel, or the mixture of watercolor and pastel. You can move it around and manipulate it like no other medium. You can work loose, or you can be very precise. When I see something that touches me, that I want to save in the memory bank, I start by doing a pastel painting, sometimes with a watercolor under painting, and I try to capture its essence.
Ice Field Parkway Pastel over Watercolor
As I enter the zone, where the painting takes over and I become lost in the work of painting a landscape, I am feeling the texture, the hardness, softness, roughness, the history, of what lies beneath or within that scene. Then during that process, somewhere in my very complicated brain, I am filing those thoughts, to be used later, in abstract work.
I am thinking about what lies beneath. The best part for me is, I can capture it realistically or abstractly depending on my mood. There seem to be times, that one medium speaks more than another to what I want to say. Some feelings or ideas for me are better captured abstractly than realistically, or vice a versa.
By recreating a feeling or place in a piece of artwork, whether realistically or abstractly, it puts it indelibly in my memory bank. It starts a very personal dialogue between me and the viewer when I am asked: “What made you do this?”
Each of us must find what it is that motivates us and plan a dialogue that is uniquely our own. Embrace who you are, know what subject motivates you. Know what you want to say about it and what medium will work best to say it.
“The position of the artist is humble. He is essentially a channel.” Piet Mondrian