Sunday, February 28, 2016

"You have to paint the bad ones first" -- Frank Hobbs

Swim  30 x 30 mixed media

Landscape  12 x 36 mixed media

(click on images for larger view)

On the path toward abstraction, I was recently reminded of a quote by artist and teacher, Frank Hobbs . . .  "You have to paint the bad ones first". Although I don't like to think in terms of good and bad, his succinct point is taken and understood in a way that calms me down. We can't expect to reach our ultimate goal of accomplishment and satisfaction at the beginning. He reminds us of that obvious reality.

Today's paintings will be hung today at Co-Art Gallery in Staunton as new work. What's mostly new here is my approach. A sweetheart of a teacher and a remarkable abstract painter, Nicholas Wilton recommends we "make mindless marks and then respond to them" in one of his video tutorials, The end is found by the beginning. 

Both of these paintings in their earliest iterations were simply many random marks in charcoal for blacks and gesso for whites--images akin to what you might expect from a Jackson Pollack painting--black and white field paintings essentially. And then, at some point I switched my process and began to pull out forms, lines, images that somehow resonated with me--responding to my earlier marks. Although the finished works are too representational for my goals, I see progress.

Another friend, incredible teacher, artist, and fellow Co-Art member, Karen Rosasco assured me that in time and with practice, the literal representational forms will begin to melt away and I'll find my own inner abstractions. So, I'm quite encouraged and interested in this approach.

Do you struggle with abstraction? What's your approach?