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.


Christiane Kingsley said...

Jeanette, I enjoyed reading your post. What you say about the fear of wasting expensive watercolour paper is so true!I do ruin canvases and it does not bother me...perhaps because I think I can always try to cover it later on and start over.
I really like the abstract you are working on. Those gels and pastes are addictive, don't you think :-)

Lisa Le Quelenec said...

Love these textural pieces, they make me want to reach out and touch the screen. I think your enjoyment of the process shines strongly in this one.

Katherine Thomas said...

These are both simply stunning! I worry too about wasting paper, ad wasting time on things that might not turn out... but in this case, your fears are unfounded, because these two pieces are exquisite! I would love them hanging in my blue bedroom, on adjacent walls... it would be gorgeous!

Jeanette said...

Christiane, I used to think similar thoughts about watercolour and other papers but know that they too can be revitalized and transformed if they go wrong as well.

Oh yes, I love those pastes and gels, they open up a new world in painting.

I agree Lisa, the texture should be enticing enough to make the view want to touch it. And yes, I do enjoy the process, very organic.

Katherine, this is the same piece actually, the second image just a closer crop of the painting.

I think we all have inner fears of creating a piece that doesn't work and wasting materials. But even if it doesn't turn out as we planned, we learn from it and often, especially after a passage of time, create something more magnificent from it.

Teresa Mallen said...

Gorgeous abstract! Love it. No fear of the sharpener in my studio. :-)

Addie Hirschten said...

This piece reminds me of a Japanese watercolor landscape... I think it is the format, composition and the delicate sense of space. Love it!

Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

I try to use all of my art supplies, only buy new ones when I really need to. Coloured pencils are meant to be sharpened, why buy them if you are just going to stare at them? i've never understood why people buy supplies and then don't use them

RH Carpenter said...

"Art is a luxury item and needs to look luxurious to attract a collector." Everyone should have this quote from you pinned to their boards in their art studios so they can see it when they are thinking about using that scrap of paper instead of the good stuff! ha ha We all do it, I know. I have Twinrocker paper I have used only 1-2 times since I bought it. But it works so beautifully, I should only use it! ha ha

Jeanette said...

Teresa, thanks. I'm liking it more horizontally now that I've added more to it. And yes, no fear of pencil under use in your studio! :)

So much can be read into Addie, that's the beauty of abstracts, we all create the story in our own head.

You're right Jen, things are created to be used. If they're only collecting dust then pass them on.

Rhonda, sometimes those practice pieces or studies on scraps of paper turn out so well, you want to kick yourself for not using the good paper.

But if you have a paper or canvas or paint brand that works for you, then embrace it and use it exclusively to ensure you have the Midas touch in your pieces.