Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Art Is Like Morality

I read this quote today and it inspired me to write a new blog post:
"Art, like morality, consists of drawing the line somewhere.” ~ G. K. Chesterton

Yes, you can take a piece of artwork too far.
This is something I always think about from the beginning of a painting to it's end.  Probably because I tend to push the line.

I was asked once how I painted, Peach Fuzz.

Photography Prints I told the person, in my usual animated way, "I painted it in watercolor until I ruined it and painted it in pastel until I fixed it."
Well, it wasn't as easy as my answer implies.  I had every intention of making it a beautifully transparent watercolor created solely with watercolor paint, but I pushed the line a little too far and the colors went flat.  No recovery possible; at least not with  watercolor paints.
I'm one who likes to experiment and the art doesn't always come out well, but without experimenting I would not have discovered how great watercolor and pastel work together. Most times, with the right amount of skills, a mistake is fixable somehow, someway. Even still there is a line. A line that if crossed will send the artwork to its grave.
 I don't throw away many pieces. The ones that can be saved someday, when I've gained more know how, go into what I call "my sin pile". Those that don't make it to the sin pile go into purgatory, for a short time, to be determined if they can be painted over or saved. I don't like throwing away artwork.
Okay, I admit, it's partly because I think about what the painting materials cost me.  This painting was savable. Not only that, but Peach Fuzz ended up winning first place (because of the technique, reflections and composition) in a Peninsula Art league (PAL) show. 

Sell Art Online
Here's another one that started out as an urban painting from a bird's eye view. You can still see the four way stop and the cross walks. I painted this horse, Painted By The Wind, over top of it and not only won a magazine cover award and a cash prize, but it also is in a book that is coming out in July,
Splash 15, Creative Solutions (pg. 59 not shown on link).

I've also sold the original and several prints of this image. It was the first horse I had ever painted.
It was also the most fun painting I've ever painted. I had nothing to lose because it was already destined for purgatory.
This painting set off a whole series of horse paintings. The second and third of the series; which were also painted over a ruined urban background, are shown below. I tried that darned urban background three times. Finally, the fourth one came out, but it isn't finished yet (see last picture).

See if you can find the urban scene under painting in Painted By The Wind.

Sell Art Online
You can see the urban four-way stop and the crosswalks from a bird-eye-view in
 Photography Prints

Andalusian Stallion is the third of the series.

Here are the photographs that I took from the Seattle Conference Center.  The first image is the reference photo I used for the first three attempts.
The second image is the one I used for the last image; which is my painted version.  

This is the urban landscape (work in progress) that I was trying to paint and was finally able to get it the way I wanted it.  My problem in the other attempts was not getting the four-way stop square.
For my fourth attempt, I decided to stick to two street corners from a bird's-eye-view instead of four.  All I have to do now is paint in the people and cars.
In conclusion:  Yes, there is a line that should not be crossed for each and every piece of artwork, but there is a lot of forgiveness while in progress.  Besides, it's only paper.  No doom and gloom if you don't push the line beyond it's limits.

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  1. I'm not a painter, but I love layering my art as well. It adds an unexpected edge and depth to the piece that I just love. As I tell my husband all the time, "Texture is good!" And in the case of your work, it is stunning to behold.

    1. Thank you, April. I love your work too. Texture is good.