skywater art

An Artist’s Quandary

I often get comments such as “You’re so creative.” “You’re such a versatile artist.”  “This series is very different from your other work.”  As I look at other artists’ work there is commonly a striking similarity from one piece to the next, usually in subject matter as well as style.  One artist is known for his abstract landscapes, another focuses on common kitchen appliances, another might paint only representational portraits. Others, like the “painter of light” reproduced again and again those signature pieces that made him money.

Every artist must decide how to balance creating work for the sake of art itself with creating pieces that will sell.  To be financially successful in the art world often demands that one continue to produce only pieces that are recognizably his/her own.  To be true to oneself however often demands the opposite.

I create art in response to what has inspired or intrigued me, to ideas I’m trying to grasp, or to emotions I feel strongly.  I use whatever medium and substrate will best allow me to communicate and express – oil, pastel, acrylic, gouache, graphite, ink, collage, and the occasional lipstick and fingernail polish.  Generally I favor canvas with a lot of tooth, but some techniques demand the use of a hard smooth surface and for these I use primed Masonite. I have created works from 5″ square to 98″ in length.

Beauty often leads me to paint landscapes, rich with color, often with low angled light. I use pastel or oils. These works are created slowly, much care is taken with technique and form.

Angst calls for a medium that can be rendered with immediacy and withstand aggressive application – graphite, gouache, acrylic, ink.  Often pallet knives are used instead of brushes. No editing is done.  The emotion is disgorged and let be.

Wonder, exploration of an idea or mystery can use any medium or substrate.  These pieces are created with intuition leading the way, are often produced over a period of time, letting the work sit for days or even months, until the time is right to continue.  Almost without exception some element will appear on the piece that I do not consciously understand. Sometimes after the piece is completed that element becomes clear, other times not.

Play – some works are simply playful.  Collage or computer generated images using a simple paint program are the mediums of choice for these.

Three things are always true

Creating art is hard yet fulfilling work

I’m always in the process of creating something

And, as anyone who knows me well can attest – I am VERY picky about color!

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