“A piece of art is never a finished work. It answers a question which has been asked, and asks a new question.” Robert Engman
Photos from the road
Here are a few of the photos I took while travelling to and from Dunedin last weekend. Note the snow on the Southern Alps in the middle of summer! Well done, New Zealand!
I couldn’t help myself… the rolling hills, the purple mountains, the different textures and patterns in the landscape, the shifting light, the fascinating clouds… I think I took close to 200 photographs! And now many of them are whispering (quite loudly) “paint me”…
“Your ability to see is your tools of trade; nothing else matters. Beautiful seeing is the desideratum. Remember, when you hear people say they can see a thing but not do it that they cannot really see it. If they did, they could do it even if they put the paint on with their fingers.” Charles Hawthorne
What other people want
“Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.” Barbara Kingsolver
I love this quote. What is it that I have to say? I’d rather let the painting do the talking.
The talent of the poet
“The painter needs all the talent of the poet, plus hand-eye coordination.” Robert Brault
I read an article last month that changed my mind about working in series — it’s something I haven’t been interested in doing… until now. Here’s an excerpt from ‘Reasons for Artists to Make Art in Series’ which I found on www.artbusiness.com:
“In a way, you can compare making art to writing a novel or composing a poem. Very few ideas can be adequately expressed in single chapters or verses as compared to how thoroughly they can be treated in entire novels or poems. The same holds true for art.”
The author, Alan Bamberger, went on to talk about a series providing context and taking viewers on a journey, and I had one of those ‘a-ha’ moments. How many times have I seen a work of art and then visited the artist’s website only to be confused by seeing artworks that have nothing to do with the one I first saw? Don’t get me wrong — I love variety. There’s definitely a point at which, for me, seeing art that is too much the same turns me off. Fortunately there are many different ways of working in series so that a body of work tells a story or appears connected, and that’s what I’m interested in exploring.
I’ve spent the last few years painting all sorts of things in a variety of different styles and I have a pretty good idea of what wakes me up and holds my attention, creatively speaking. So now, as well as going off on my experimental tangents, I’m going to start organising my art into novels and poems — two metaphors that make complete sense to me. And that brings me to today’s post. I’ve started working on a series of aerial landscapes based on photos I took on a memorable flight over the Canterbury Plains in 2013. More WIPs to follow soon.
From the sky
“The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web.” Pablo Picasso