Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Luxury or frugality?
This is about the half way mark of a so far unnamed abstract piece that's 8 x 16 on canvas panel. Its multimedia but predominantly oils and texture added with modeling paste and various gels that I'm experimenting with. I love the texture that pastes give and how paint grabs the edges and scatters down of the surface. Paint goes on thickly as do other mediums here. I add, I take away, I add again, not with a particular method of end in mind, but as the feel of the painting presents itself. I am never happier than when at the end of a tube of paint or tub of paste. It shows progress and production for me and means I've created.
Most artists have a stash of paper, canvasses, paint, sketchbooks and all the paraphanalia that goes along with producing art. What I have noticed is that some keep paper or pencils or paints sitting on a shelf without ever using them. Some believe the paper is too good to use. I understand hesitancy in embarking on a sheet of paper that costs $10 or $20 a sheet, but everything else is fair game and the artist is denied the pleasure of exploration into a new realm if supplies are not used. Oddly enough there never seems to be the same fear embarking on a canvas, just paper. Some decorative papers are beautiful enough to be framed as they are, but have the potential for creating even more beautiful art if used but canvas remains fairly static in appearance. Of course, there's the risk of botching it, but that is there no matter what surface is used to create on. Often the repair and transformation turns out much better than what was originally planned.
Then there are the frugal painters who squeeze out a dime of paint on the palette and dilute it so much it never provides the covering power or the impact that it could. Coloured pencil artists have fear of the sharpener as it uses up their pencils too quickly. But isn't that what they're for? To create texture, colour and depth? The frugal pastellists eke out strokes of dust onto paper to preserve wrappers and their sticks of pigment.
I understand the need to be frugal and not waste supplies or money, but when it comes to creating art, you really do get what you pay for, which applies to the artist and the collector. What does scrimping on paint or supports do? It frustrates the artist, who cannot create the vision that is in their head as they haven't allowed themselves to paint what they feel and really use their palette. It supplies a mediocre product if cheap paper or canvas is used that warps or has an inferior surface making it difficult to apply the medium. And the collector can tell. The gallery can tell. You can tell that its not what it should be.
Art is a luxury item and needs to look luxurious to attract a collector. Be generous with paints, supports and framing as it always pays off in the end.