Monday, February 22, 2016

Creative heART Challenge: Day 15...

This is my latest painting!  I'm a smitten kitten.  With each painting I complete, I feel a little bit braver and a little more confident.  Now that I'm getting back into the rhythm of painting again, I can feel the ideas tingling on my fingertips.

Part of me wanted to call this series of paintings, "Ten Years Later".  There wasn't really a definitive stopping point for my painting (and as I mentioned earlier, I did do a few pieces here and there), but it was probably a full ten years since I solidly worked with painting as my main medium.  I've thought a lot about the hiatus. It really didn't click until one of my teachers from high school posted a picture of a painting I had done for her.  Up until that point, I didn't really have that extensive of an art background.  Most of my inspiration came from books, things I saw on TV, or comic books.  We weren't really the type of family to go to museums on vacations and while I did go to a few art galleries, a lot of them specialized in regional pastoral artwork (think palm trees and beaches).  So what I painted was a figure, usually a female with flowing hair, with a floaty Starry Night-like background.  I painted these non-stop.  

And then I went to art school.

I won't say that they told me what to paint, but I distinctively remember one of my instructors laughing at one of my paintings and gathering everyone around it and saying, "And this students is the definitive, angsty humanoid figure floating in space... except this one has hair!"  It was crushing at the time, because I felt ridiculed.  But I didn't really have a frame of reference and once I had learned more about common art themes and worked with hormonal teenagers, I discovered that this is indeed a popular subject matter.  What I came to find out was that this is common, because it is really a universal concept... especially in recent decades.  It's all about the search for Self and the raw emotion felt in the presence of the unknown.  The humanoid is usually this hairless, nondescript figure that represents the artist... usually as an idealized form.  And once I had this realization, I thought it was juvenile and I laughed at my old paintings.  Because supposedly since I discovered this little nugget of wisdom, I thought I knew more about the world and art and the need for humans to make art.

And so... I won't say that they told me what to paint, but "art crushes" are just as common as the floating humanoid.  An art crush is basically when you see art you fall in love with or work with an instructor that you admire and your work starts to take on that flavor.  This isn't necessarily a bad thing; it's one way that people learn.  Over the next four years, I worked with a lot of artists interested in minimalism, geometry, abstraction, theory, and situational art.  And while it was really educational and a wonderful experience, my head was chock full o'nuts at the end.  And those ten years were in a way, a period of forgetting.  

What I came to unearth, particularly through working on these paintings, is that that search for Self never really ends.  So what I once laughed at, I now cherish.  For it is a window into that search for a place in this Universe.  These characters in my floating world are pieced together from bits of ideas and emotions and dreams.  I do think these paintings are better than my older ones, but that's just because I've had time to practice and hone my technique and incorporate a few tricks.  Ultimately, the core is not so far removed from that boy putting paint to canvas, trying to figure things out, and find his voice.

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