Years ago, someone looked at my work and said "I can tell that you're experimenting".
As an "established" artist (or so I thought) I found that insulting.
But as Bob Dylan and my mother have both said: I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now.
These days if you tell me that I'm experimenting, I will thank you and heartily agree. The older I get, and the more I teach, the more I know that there is always more to know.
I think that teaching what is what really has really grown me as an artist. Watching all of the different ways that painters and newbies approach the canvas is huge! People do things in ways that I would never have thought - and often they yield great results. And watching them is what got me to embrace experimentation.
And really, art is about experimentation. If you're going to experiment with anything in life, art is a safe place to do it.
Above is a detail view from my latest experiment. It's a 28"x30" oil painting. I'm just having fun with it - pushing oil paint around in a smudgy manner. Just this simple act makes me feel good.
The act of making art can be really enjoyable, to say the least. But... the experimentation part can be scary. It's easy to fall into a rut - sometimes you know that you can paint something well, so you keep painting the same subject or in the same style. This is not exactly conducive to growth.
Sound familiar? Maybe it's not an artistic rut - maybe you stick to the tried and true foods, music, and routines. Once again, art mirrors life. This boils down to: do the same thing, get the same results.
Where are you "playing it safe" in your life? And where are you free to experiment? Do you experiment with art? With the flavors you cook with? With the colors you wear or decorate your space with?
I invite you to to experiment with something in your world. It doesn't have to be a big thing - you don't need to make grand, sweeping changes. Just shake things up a little bit, and see how it feels.
Let me know how it goes!
You know what's wonderful about painting?
Well, okay, there are loads of wonderful things, really. But one of them is that a painting never has to be finished. (This is a double-edged sword because it means that a painter might not ever finish a painting.... but that's a topic for another time.)
I'm always surprised when people tell me they gave their old paintings to a thrift store or gessoed over them (basically painted them white). There are things that can be done to transform them! Many paintings that were at one time considered complete, or perhaps just unresolved, make great backgrounds.
While this is particularly true for abstract paintings, there are also ways to transform landscapes or other representational paintings using elements of the original painting.
I decided to offer a class with a few techniques to help you spruce up or completely change your old paintings. This class is not about improving your painting (you can come to a Freestyle Session and I'll help you with that.) This is about taking your painting and turning into something different.
For example: In the painting above, adding the trees and the hill was a simple fix once I turned the in the right direction. ("Before" on the left, "after" on the right.) Voila! My abstract paint pour became a background for a simple landscape silhouette.
In the pictures below, I painted over sections of each image to create new paintings. By painting in some negative space, I created a new background and brought the old background forward. Pretty cool, huh?
These are just a couple of things that can be done to turn an old painting into something new.
If you're in the Denver area, grab some of your old paintings and join me - I'll help you breathe new life into your old canvases!
We meet on Saturday, Feb 22 at 1pm. Click here to save your spot! Or click here for a full class calendar.