So today I finally got to meet with Nancy, a former professor of mine at KSU. We got to talk about what I had been up to artistically and discuss some of the issues. I couldn’t find my notebook while we were talking so I didn’t take notes. Sadly, I am now trying to remember what all was discussed.
Firstly, she was pleased with what was there. She said that is showed that I had worked, even if I hadn’t worked as much as I had wanted to. We talked a lot about how I was coming up with the images. The early work was built under the P.R.R. (refer to blog name) theory that I had created earlier. These works although landscape in nature, she said she couldn’t directly pinpoint them to their source.
Later I would give up the PRR method, and simply try to work from the brain. I really didn’t think that it was such a bad idea, but looking back I’ve realized that I stifled myself. Nancy said one of the hardest ways to work is from the brain. You have to remember form, light distribution, color variance and everything else related to its physical self. That is a lot of information for the brain to simply remember, organize and interpret. It can quickly become a mad man’s folly. I know we have talked about “inspirational imagery” around the studio, but I guess I always had this silly notion that “real” artists didn’t need that. How very wrong I was. This “inspirational imagery” is a diving board. It is a motivator for work. I don’t have to feel limited my surrounding images, but rather inspired. She suggested that I try to find something I can visually investigate. I research countless things in the form of a hobbyist, but never anything particularly visual. This seems relatively silly in retrospect, as I am a visual artist.
We would eventually talk about process. I believe that I work on canvas best, but at the same time, I feel limited by roughness of the canvas at times. There are times I want to do small delicate work, but can’t. She suggested linen. I’ve heard of it before, but never really investigated it. It seems to be a more tightly woven material, aka smoother. It is also tragically expensive. For now I should just paint.
She found some imagery that I did actually respond to and it was germs, or spores. Something like that, but the forms were very interesting due to their depth and interactions. They also made me think of cosmic photographs (space nebula, asteroids, etc.).
We also talked about the little rooms. They differ so much from the organic paintings. She said that sometimes we feel the need to compensate for missing properties in our work, and that I simply over-shot the moon a bit. She didn’t say it was a bad thing, and that I may be considerable to a therapy of some type. I really liked this idea. It means that my little room things can just be mine. She also liked the cut out shapes (the rectangles full of white lines). Yet instead of overlapping them over each other, she was pondering on overlapping them over the paintings. This isn’t really something I’ve ever considered, but it was a welcome change of thought.
Next on the list was a discussion of the number of works created. She was pleased to hear that I tend to work on multiple paintings at once. The practice isn’t good for everyone, but I work quickly and get bored even quicker. But more so on the number game is, you can start a painting the same way multiple times. The beauty of painting is that is virtually impossible to recreate a painting exactly. I know that you may be able to disagree with that statement a bit, but for me, I can’t recreate a painting without going nuts. So, instead of trying to reinvent the wheel each time, simply restart a painting and learn something new. A technique that was discussed was having 3 paintings that are virtually the same. On one you paint like you normally would, the second you paint with slightly opposing ideas or with different parameters, and on the third you just go crazy. The benefit is that you are learning something from each painting, even if they aren’t so called “the one.”
Another practice that was discussed was creating two lists. One list is filled with everything that you believe a real painting should have. The other list is filled with everything that does NOT make art. Then create two works, one from each list. This is useful in getting an understanding of what secretly and subconsciously motivates your work. We immediately discussed Julie Heffernan, an artist I am very infatuated with, but quickly realized through the discussion that although I love her work, I have not desire to actually paint like that. Please note the image below:
Juile Heffernan - "Self Portrait as Tender Mercenary" Oil on canvas
It was just a joy to talk and confront my work realistically again. I just don’t’ know how artists survive without other artists to talk to. Thank you to Nancy Morrow for your time and wisdom.