Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Painting - Expression

Expression is what fuels all art. Expression should be and is the purpose for even creating art at all.

Sometimes the intellect can cause us to choke a lot of the expression out of a painting. I'm speaking from lot's of direct experience... 

Though I am an artistic type, I am also very rational and like to plan things out. I always say " I'm all for spontaneity... as long as it's planed."

That's my own struggle to work with as an artist. Yours may be different. You may be super expressive with your art but lazy in regards to craft or unmindful of other critical aspects of your work that are out of sync. 

"Headed Home" by M Francis McCarthy

A challenge for many of us as artists is the attainment of skill and craft without the calcification that can sometimes be the result of applying too much craft.  

Like every other aspect of our lives a balance must be struck between control and passion. Ultimately, passion/expression is the most critical of the two. Art without unique individual expression is boring as hell.

I feel that we must paint from our heart and that direction from the intellect should be at a subsurface type level for the most part.
To consistently create good work and still do this,"craft" must become ingrained deep into the psyche. The only way I know of to do this is to paint and draw a lot until those skills become second nature.

"Headed Home" (sketch) by M Francis McCarthy

What else can we do to increase the expressive qualities of our paintings? 

Here's a short list:
  • Do some random stuff to you painting now and again. Then, deal with it.
  • If you start with a photo, put it away at some point and focus on the painting, as a painting.
  • Paint slower, let it well up inside you then express the brush stroke fully.
  • Remind yourself while your painting that expression is your main goal and measure each aspect of your work against this. This is very useful for instigating creative color decisions.
  • Remember, you don't have to paint the sky blue and the grass green. In fact that's about the worst color combination I can think of in a landscape painting.
  • Do not over delineate details. Leave something for the viewer to do. They are quite capable of creating meaning from even the daubiest daub.
Rember, paint from the herat and not the head. Train yourself to get those skills that you may then ignore.

A bit about today's painting "Heading Home" I' pretty happy with heading home but I see much I'd do differently now. I painted this about a year and a half ago after moving into my studio at the Quarry Art Center in Whangarei. I like the colors and loose-ish brush work. 

These days I and transitioning from a more controlled drawing prior to painting into a more expressive and indicative mode in my execution. Stay tuned.


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