Sunday, May 31, 2015

The good, the bad, and the successful

When you tell someone you are a painter or an artist, the first question he or she asks is, "Have you sold anything?" Why do you suppose this is the case?

I think people, myself included, are accustomed to labels. Labels are comforting, defining, organizational. I'm not sure how we acquired this tendency.

Well, I have sold paintings, so does that mean that my paintings are "good"? Does it really? I'm not sure it does. Does it matter and to whom does it matter?

As a continuing student, one who spends time in real classrooms with other real students, I meet painters, beginner through advanced, at all levels of artistic development. In that setting, learning new or old techniques, I often find it impossible to create anything I like--boohoo. And at the same time, a new fresh beginning painter will create something fine and beautiful. So how does this inform our belief in what is good art? Am I now a creator of bad paintings? Okay, yes. And is this fine example on the part of a new painter good? Well, yes. But this does toss us on our ear doesn't it? It barks at our beliefs. What about labels? What about, hello, I sold paintings in the past?

In the end what I think is this . . . What is good? . . . making paintings. What is bad . . . labels.

Nowadays, when viewing art, when considering my own art, and when discussing an artist's work, I try to think and speak in terms of success and a painter's own feelings about their art, rather than labeling them good or bad. Who am I to judge? Who are you to judge? Truthfully, I work with the realization that I will likely throw away thirty percent of my painting efforts because they just don't work for me or I judge them unsuccessful.

Here's my latest, and it's one that might not make the cut, or maybe I'll work on it some more. In the final analysis it's about what I think and what I like.

Intersection #7  12"x12" Oil and wax on Masonite

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