Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I do not love November

In the Gaelic world October 31 marked the end of "samh" or "summer" and the beginning of winter. Every year I plan to paint in that last month before the country goes gray. This year I missed again, thanks to a protracted bout with the flu. I have rarely painted fall leaves and not just because of the fact that some of my teachers were antagonistic to this kind of natural exuberance. Colville didn't like sunsets either, although Pulford did paint them before he went bland.

An on line art instructress, Natasha Wescott (http://tashamama.livejournal.com/434382.html) reminds her students that "You don't have to have a degree to be a working artist" and "You don't have to draw or paint to be an artist." There is more than a bit of proof backing these assertions! Of course, it does help if you have a leg up in this strange art game (it is always a financial help to be connected with influential types) and the lack of drawing skills is not a help if you want to create works with some authority (unless you happen to have other things in common with folk such as Van Gogh, Gaugin or perhaps Rousseau, all somewhat mediocre delineators. with grand talents in other directions.

This got me thinking that painting the chaotic, disordered natural world is a the best bet for a person with few drawing skills! That place is filled with fractals and serendipity as opposed to straight lines and order , which are a part of the look of all town- and cityscapes. Worst of all are portraits and figure studies, which demand a lot of close observation and pedantic workmanship. I'm starting a small painting (sketch appears above) to prove this point.
The colours will cheer me!

As Leonardo says, you shouldn't stick with this kind of thing! With lots of practice one can get very good at re-executing the same subject matter, but that should not be what painting is about.

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