Long time no see, Blog. Don’t ask, I’ve been sick for a week and had a lot of other stuff going on, but I’m back, ready to provide you with some fresh content.
First is the painting I did at my Atelier last week, working from a live model for 5 days. This was done in 4 colors: Redish brown, Yellow, Black and White.
I would get cool tones from mixing black and white to make a gray, or from mixing black and yellow to create a green, warming it up with red as necessary.
I was able to achieve a peach-brown by mixing my brown with white, or leaning more toward an orange by mixing it with the yellow, neutralizing it as necessary with the black and white. Wooha!
I also started working with a new palette which I absolutely love. It’s a glass palette. The neat thing about it is that I can control the background color against which I mix my colors, which allows me to see what I’m mixing so much better.
I decided that from now on I will start using a paper color that matches the average color of the skin tone of the model in the light. It really helps.
Here is the painting, done over 5 sittings of 3 hours each.
One of the things I learned here was how to solve the problem of cropping a figure against an abstract background. In this case, for example, I wanted to emphasize the triangle shape his arms created and end the painting there without painting the lower body part. The reason for this is that I felt that the core of the pose for me was the strength created by the two joined arms and that it was framing the body nicely. I liked the strength of it.
But then the problem was how to get rid of the rest of the body mass without making it looked chopped off. At first I simply didn’t paint it, which gave it a lovely Cheshire cat look, where one sees only the head of the cat. As lovely as that was, I decided against it. And painting carelessly and mostly using my subconscious the idea came to me to paint the beginning of the other parts in the right value, but with the background color instead of the flesh tones. This allowed me to then dissolve it at will into the background without making it feel like a strange operation was involved.
If you’re not an artist, this might bore you to death. And it might still bore you to death even if you are an artist, I don’t know. But it doesn’t bore me! Which is why I keep talking about it.
But anyway, indeed, it’s time to move on.
I also painted a few still life paintings. I am painting them quickly, one every day or two, with the purpose to practice and learn paint handling. Here is the result:
My next project is going to be a group of glass objects. It’s going to be longer than these studies – a 2 week project or so.
My next figurative project is going to be 2 weeks long, working from a live model again – a male model. I don’t know what the pose will be because I have no control over it. I will choose the angle and how I render it, but that’s about it. I hope it will be something I like.
I actually have a lot of thoughts about art and about my art, but they have not grown deep enough roots yet in my mind to articulate or write about.
I find that usually when I have an idea, it is not isolated – it is part of a generalization which relates to other areas of my life, and the process of forming the generalization and making the connections takes time and thinking which spans over years sometimes.
I was thinking about what art IS. I believe if you ask someone who has been through art school they will tell you that everything can be made into art.
If you asked what a spoon is and someone told you that a spoon could be anything and everything you would think they are nuts. Why? Because a spoon is a specific object, with a specific shape-family and function.
But the same does not apply to art. Why? Because the identity of art involves a high level abstraction. Forming the concept of what art IS involves identifying a lot of abstract qualities about art. In our modern age where people are taught not to trust their own mind, performing this level of abstraction on our own is extremely difficult, borderline impossible.
Similarly, the question “what is a spoon” is much easier than “what is justice?”. The later involves a chain of abstract concepts which need to be retained and which have no immediate physical manifestation. You don’t “see” justice in the street the way you might see a spoon.
The essence of “justice” is hidden in actions, in seeing similarity and relating them to one’s existing spiritual values. It’s harder to do.
In the last decade there has been a resurgence of classical realism. In the last 10 years over a dozen ateliers have opened across the United States and Europe where none existed earlier on. The only option for artists seeking training was an art degree, which was a pile of wishy washy intellectual crap without a single course offered as a saving grace to develop actual rendering skills. Pretty much, that was it.
The leading premise was that to teach an artist anything concrete would be to destroy their artistic freedom and identity – to make them into a mold. But actually, what this idea mean is that to have an identity means to lose freedom. In fact, if something has no identity, it does not exist.
We are conceptual beings, but to form those concepts and concretize them we need a visualization of them. Something like “Pride” may only be understood when seen on a human face or through some action (like soldiers, going to war). There is an inseparable connection between the tangible and the abstract. Take away the tangible and you “art” is a pile of materials. It is no longer ART. It’s a piece of no good junk. (OK, I may be going overboard here, but I couldn’t resist. I just love calling things a piece of no good junk, especially in a southern accent for added emphasis). It’s true of most of them anyway, if not all. I wouldn’t know because I find them too boring to pay attention to.
Believe it or not, I got my share of hate for my belief. As if that’s gonna stop me. If you want someone who supports modern art you only have the rest of the world to talk to. Don’t take your insecurities in your opinion out on me. You don’t see me torturing you because of what you believe, right? That’s because I am confident I am right.
Anyway now that this issue has been settled, I’d like to talk some more about something else on my mind.
As my “About” page mentions, I model in order to pay my tuition and living expenses. (By the way, buying any small piece of art off my hands would be SO appreciated).
I’ve had some thoughts about modeling. I absolutely love doing it. It involves standing still in a pose or several poses while a room full of people creates art based off of you.
I realized that what I enjoy about it resembles very much my motivation in making art.
When I am motivated to draw, paint or sculpt, the subconscious, underlying motivation is being able to communicate something to someone. Something which I feel very intensely about and which is unique to me. It’s as if a voice in my mind looks at the subject I want to paint and says to the future viewer: “Look how wonderful it is. See what I mean? See?” and then I am able to show what I mean by emphasizing all the things I see about it through rendering it. The way I would render an expression, or contort or stretch the body, or emphasize a certain light. All those things come together to show a vision, and the satisfaction is from having that vision understood and admired.
Modeling is the same in some regards. Through the way I hold my body I am able to communicate a vision. It is then up to others to interpret it or capture it as they like, but I do my part in describing something. The difference is that in this case the model’s body becomes the medium and he or she are a flesh and blood sculpture of their own vision (in case they decide on the pose). I enjoy this part of the job, which is otherwise physically demanding.
I’m all out of things to say tonight and so I’d like to end the post here.
Lastly, I’m happy to announce that I will be giving an interview about my art to The Objective Standard magazine. My deep thanks to Craig Biddle.
Wishing you a happy, productive week, and a fun holiday season,