Tuesday, January 07, 2014

As good as...

"The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge." 

Dip into Robert Genn's The Painters' Keys to read more about "Faith-based Art Making"

This past week has been wild with a huge snowstorm that dumped 40cm of snow on Saturday, -30C windchills and high winds then power outages as an aging hydro system kept giving up the ghost.  Its finally getting back to normal, whatever that is, and I'm able to spend a little more time in the studio instead of the barn, firing up a generator to keep growing pullets warm!  Whoever thinks life on a small farm is romantic and fun, should come here for a week, especially in winter.

 The storm did leave a gift however.  The wind blew a lot of berries off the trees and swept them into an arc, looking like a white wave with red stones washing onto a beach. 

I've added some texture to the portrait of my grand daughter and am refining shapes and values more as I go.  A painting continually evolves until it reaches my level of scrutiny to make it acceptable to be presented to the world.  Here, on my blog, you get to see all levels of art process, both good and bad, but the gold standard for presenting a final piece is more exacting for me.

Texture.  Whether its a smooth surface such as a child's skin or an uneven surface like the lion towel she has wrapped around her, creating that texture is paint is a matter of closely observing the value changes and shapes.  I think that many people get bored with trying to get something 'just right' and settle for 'as good as'.  And this can be where the frustration starts because 'as good as' is never what we should accept

I see 'as good as' in exhibitions, in online art, in creative efforts all over the place and while that's fine if its a sketch or a working study, its not fine if its for final presentation to the public. We know when we produce substandard work.  We know when we see it next to others' work which is technically better than we produce.

A degree of tedium can set in when painting expanses of background or texture and that needs to be worked through as its part of the whole.  Ignoring it or losing interest in completing something to the same standards as the rest of a piece shows in the finished work.

Yes, there are pieces that end up being boring and that's when you need to know not to belabour it and simply toss it or shove it into 'the drawer' where it can linger for months or years until you're ready to have at it again.  Decisions have to be made that a piece lives or dies, but 'as good as' doesn't cut it.  Always put your best work forward publicly, you won't regret it.


Katherine Thomas said...

Very good advice! Thanks for the thoughts for sharing the wisdom gained from your experiences! Your artwork is a testament to the concept of going the extra mile and producing pieces that are truly exceptional! This little girl's portrait is lovely!

tru said...

Loved the 'dogberry' photo and your blog. Thank you for the link to The Painters Key site. The quote used certainly makes sense... 'The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance, it's the illusion of knowledge'! Happy New Year!

Jeanette Jobson said...

Didn't the berries make the most interesting pattern in the snow? And yes Robert Genn's site is full of wisdom. Well worth taking time to read for hours.

The quote is so very true,I agree. I must add it to the top of the post I think.

RH Carpenter said...

The delicate coloring in her skin is just perfection! Like a snow child coming out of that blizzard...

Anonymous said...

I am enjoying seeing the progress on the painting of your granddaughter. I'm always surprised at how much blue you need to show the transparency of a child's skin.

Beautiful work. Thanks for posting.

Jeanette Jobson said...

Isn't she so pale Rhonda? True Germanic/Nordic colouring. She will warm up a little as the piece nears completion, but not too much.

Mockingbirds, thank you for your support. That thin skin in children and elderly people, where the veins are so close to the surface, really does need blues and purples to make it real.

Katherine, I never think my work is perfect, but I know when it is acceptable on the public stage. The "illusion of knowledge" that is often seen is what makes everyone believe they can be an artist in the world these days.

suzanneberry said...

Wonderful post and advice, thank you so much. This portrait gives me chills, I just love the feeling of it. So appropriate for a young child.

and the snap of the berries is just lovely. stay warm my friend and thank you for your support and the suggestion of gesso board. it's ordered and on it's way!