Tag Archives: Paint

Choosing Materials to Create Art…Why Paint?

PART III

Once I address questions and concerns (in the last blog entry) about artistic ability and how to improve, I then ask, What kind of art should I create? What materials will I use and why? Should the work be two-dimensional or three-dimensional?

Of all the art-making materials, methods and possibilities, I choose painting. Until recently, I never thought much about why…but now I realize that there is something both traditional and contemporary about painting which is powerful. I also realize that it is a medium that fits into my life. A lack of workspace and a busy family might make other mediums difficult or impossible for me to use. While my choice is partly based on practicality, there are other reasons I chose paint as my medium.

In thinking more about paint on a two-dimensional surface, I realize now that I do want viewers to be able to own the pieces. I accept and admit to producing work that is part of a business. Many artists are against the commodification of art, believing that the art is diluted or tainted when it is driven, and part of, the art market. However, I believe that there are multiple purposes for art, which allow for some art to best thrive and communicate by being a part of the art market. Amongst those multiple purposes is the idea that art is meant to be enjoyed, to serve as entertainment, and to be educational or inspiring for viewers. Another purpose of art is to serve as a vehicle of communication for the artist.  Without collectors, viewers, galleries, and museums, an artist would have little opportunity to present ideas to viewers.

Additionally, painting on a two-dimensional surface allows art to be mobile and fit into a variety of spaces. Mobility and size allow 2D art to reach a wide variety of people by fitting in a wide variety of spaces, thus communicating the artist’s ideas broadly.

Another component of the medium, which I find alluring, is paint can create an illusion; though contemporary artists often acknowledge the material and the surface in an attempt to expose illusion. Artists can provide bits of realism, total realism or no realism to determine how much direct information to provide to viewers. As Pablo Picasso stated, “Art is a lie that makes us realize the truth.”

I do not try to fool the viewer with illusion; instead, I aim to present a combination of realistic and abstracted images to encourage certain feelings and thoughts for the viewer. And what images do I present? And what feelings and ideas do I hope to convey? I’ll dig into these questions in Part IV. Thank you for visiting!

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Staying True to Yourself as an Artist

Her Dreams“Sometimes the people in our lives do not want us to pursue our goals because they do not recognize our art as important. They believe their needs are greater than ours. In other situations, they may just fear change…But no matter what the reason is, the result is that they may consciously or unconsciously apply pressure to keep us playing our assigned social role. As a result, we may be torn between pleasing other people in our lives and pleasing ourselves through creating art.” Elena Parashko, Professional Artist magazine, October/November 2013

Regardless of your support system and how friends and family feel about your work as an artist, I find this quote to be applicable and thought provoking for many of us. We must think hard about what we do and why and be able to defend our career in the face of innocent (though potentially insulting) comments. Other times, we must defend our choice to be a practicing artist amongst more aggressive or manipulative forces.

I have encountered many comments about “my little hobby.” Some people say, “how fun that you get to play with paint all day!” Some people ask what I will do when I finish my painting grad school program and they stare blankly when I respond with anything along the lines of “I hope to become a more professional, accomplished artist” as if it is the most fanciful and ridiculous answer they can imagine. Some seem to wait for me to say, “Just kidding, of course I want to become a museum curator or a high school art teacher!” Of course, there is absolutely nothing wrong with those fine jobs (and I am interested in both). But if you are one of those souls who seems unable to stop being an artist, who reads about art, dreams about compositions, plans vacations around museum exhibits, and draws incessantly, figuring out a way to practice art as a career is simply unavoidable.

Regarding the statement Parashko makes about pleasing others versus pleasing oneself – perhaps this does not have to be an “either/or” situation. Perhaps if you are true to yourself and kind in your thoughts and actions toward others, the people who wind up in your life will fit there while you work as an artist. I suspect those who try to steer you in another direction, try to control you to meet their needs, might find themselves not finding a place in your life…not because you have shunned this person, but because they have inadvertently removed themselves.

I am finally learning that if I make decisions to please someone else, and those decisions conflict with my own goals, then I not helping anyone and will find failure again and again.

Parashko states that perhaps others believe their needs are greater then ours. I wonder, do I do this to others? Do I try to force my ideas, my goals on others? Have you ever given someone a gift that they might not want but you want it for them? Admittedly, I’m guilty. I’ve done it. But what I realize now is that what they want for themselves is more important than what I want for them. And if I try to usurp that power, I am being a controlling bully who will probably find myself without a friend.

So, in the end, I remind myself that even those who try to change me or dismiss my goals as an artist just don’t understand. They are unable to get past their own desires for me. And that’s ok. We don’t all have to fully understand what makes our friends and family tick. But when you find that special friend who does support you as a person and artist, when you have a family member who tries to understand and trusts you to make your own decisions, it is a relationship to treasure. Hug that person and thank them. And then get back to making art.