Wednesday, May 30, 2012

On Being a "Cop Out"

I started this painting yesterday and what do you notice?
Yup, them there are eyes!
Recently I was talking to my art assistant about art, as we tend to do while working in the studio. He mentioned that his teacher had seen my work at the SF Fine Art Fair and they were discussing my paintings in his art class. There was some mixed reactions about the bars over the eyes, which is not surprising. Some people felt they were creepy and, while good, could not see my work in an average person's home. People have different tastes in art and that is okay so these comments did not bother me. But what stuck in my head was the comment one student said. He said he thought I was a "cop out" for putting bars over the eyes because that meant I couldn't paint the eyes. Of course I immediately defended myself to my art assistant and said that EVERY painting I do has the eyes painted in. In fact, I always start with eyes because that was my favorite part. (One may ask why I then cover the eyes if they are my favorite part, but that's another bog post.)

I've been rolling that comment around in my head since Sunday and part of me wants to email the student and tell him I do know how to paint eyes or refer him to my blog where he can see my works in progress. In the end, I decided it was just one kid's opinion. It did make me think about what it means to be a "cop out".

This one is almost done. I did a lot of work on her hair
"Cop out": Choosing not to do something out of fear of failing. How many times have we looked at someone else's work and heard those words? How many times have we thought this ourselves? I have heard people say this about abstract work stating that abstract artists paint this way because they can't paint figuratively. I've heard people use these words on people who use projectors or any other tool that makes our jobs as artists easier. Anytime a body part is consistently missing or blurred in a body a work, I have heard someone say the artist must not be able to paint that body part and is also a "cop out". Once I had an artist tell me I was a "cop out" because I used photos from Flickr as references instead of using my imagination and painting the images in my head or shooting the images myself.

I have a little work to do on the woman's hands, but otherwise
I think this is pretty much done.
Everybody seems to have an opinion about other people's artwork, and it's not always a positive one. That's okay. We are allowed our opinions and we all have different tastes in art. But why do people feel the need to make judgement calls on the artist's ability instead of saying they just don't care for the work? Why must we label artists as "cop outs"? The question most people don't ask themselves is are the artists really "copping out" or are they just making artistic, stylistic choices? Perhaps they are just playing up to their strengths and choosing to paint this way for a reason. I have seen art where every person in the painting is facing away from the viewer. Does the person hate painting faces and is avoiding them or is this their intent for other reasons? Does it really matter? If I enjoyed the work would it even matter if the artist couldn't paint faces? I'd like to think that it doesn't but maybe that's just me.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

My Happy Place

It is summer vacation and while most people would be sleeping in late and relaxing, perhaps even traveling, I am on a full-time paint schedule, and I couldn't be happier. FINALLY my only concern for the day is which painting to work on instead of the sixty million other things that would occupy my mind. FINALLY I can spend my whole day in my studio, with my headphones on and a brush in my hand, oblivious to the rest of the world. FINALLY I can relax and just paint. For some this may not seem like a vacation, but for me, it is heaven. That's not to say I won't be leaving town and spending some time doing what normal people do while on vacation. I will. In fact, my husband and I will be traveling to Italy soon and I couldn't be more excited. I'll be sure to post images of the beautiful art and food we encounter. Until then, it's back to my happy place, my studio! Yay!

One of two pieces I hope to get done by tomorrow. This is 24"x30".

The second of two...this one is 30"x30".

Yup, this one again...can you even tell I have worked on this some more? This one will
probably take me all summer...mostly because I only work on it once a week in my
class....but also because I am trying to get this as realistic as possible. I'm still on layer
one of color. Three more to go!

Monday, May 21, 2012

New Ideas, Summer Vacation, and Color

My work art the san Francisco Fine Art Fair this weekend.
I was showing with ArtHaus Gallery.
Today is the start of a good week. It is the last week of teaching before summer break, and also the last time I will be working full-time. Next year I will be working until noon, then heading to my studio to paint for the rest of the day. That's easily 6-7 hours of painting time a day! I am extremely excited to once again make art my primary career.
Two years ago I had quit my job in order to paint full-time. I loved being able to spend ALL my time painting and not worrying about being too exhausted to paint after teaching all day. Unfortunately that didn't last very long since my husband and I suddenly found ourselves with no health insurance, and well,  we really needed it. As much as I hated doing it, I went back to work, basically for the health insurance. Now my school is willing to let me work part-time in order to keep me on staff, and next year, I will be able to paint most of the day and still get health insurance for my husband and I. Oh happy day!

I am also pretty excited about a new series I have in the works. I'm not going to spill the beans just yet since I still have some things to work out in my head, but if it works out, I think everyone will like it. Let's just say that color may be working itself into my work, but not in a way you would think. I'll still be working on my "Forgotten Memories" series since, frankly, I owe a LOT of my galleries work still. But while I am working on those pieces, I plan on executing this new series and will hopefully be able to reveal it by the end of summer. I get so excited though and have a hard time not posting what I am working online so you may get a sneak peak earlier.

Lastly, I am continuing my instruction with Sadie Valeri on Flemish style painting. I'm really enjoying the break from what I normally do and the academic aspect of painting. It takes a lot of brain power out of me and I seem to be moving at a snail's pace, but I'm enjoying it and will probably continue through the end of the year. Here is the latest on the same painting I have been working on since the end of March:
This is my first pass of at least three, with color. In the almost five hours I worked on it, I only
 managed to work on the copper pitcher, and even then, I didn't touch the right side much.
At this pace I may be done with this at the end of the year...

My painting in one of Lanoue Fine Art's window in Boston.

My work at Artpad SF this weekend. I was showing with 111 Minna Gallery.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

It's Been a Long Time

I have been a bad blogger. It's been a long time since the last time I wrote anything, and even longer since I wrote anything substantial. These past few months have been crazy for me and will continue to be so for another three weeks. But there is a light at the end of this tunnel. At the end of May I will be done with my time-consuming online class I have to take, the school year will be over, and I will no longer be working full-time (keep your fingers crossed...that's what they told me LAST year too and I ended up full-time the week before school started). This means more time for blogging and more importantly, more time for painting. I seem to have a never ending list of paintings I must do and ship out to galleries. More than ever, in fact. This is a great thing since it means my work is selling and I need to supply my galleries with more work. I am hoping that part of my life never slows down. Let's keep our fingers crossed for that one.

So while I don't have anything important to say, I do have some work to show.
This is the painting I started yesterday. It's a funny picture of some kids playing
 "rescuer", I assume, since one of the kids is on a stretcher. It is a 36"x36" panel.

A close up of the painting I started yesterday. It's REALLY rough.

This is my most recent painting. It is 30"x 30" Once it's waxed, it will be available
through ArtHaus Gallery at this year's SF Art Fine Art Fair.

This is my painting for the Advanced Open Studio class I am taking. I have spent three
consecutive Sundays working on the open grisaille stage, and I'm still not done.
This is the longest any painting has ever taken me, but i am trying to be patient on this one.
 Hopefully the next class I will be able to start painting in color...