We are told that to succeed in anything, one must focus on that one thing and do that one thing well. Fine, but what if the one thing you focus on requires many things to be done well, to succeed? How do we manage our success while being a half committed artist?
Some of us may have observed about films, music, art and uttered, “They sure don’t make ‘em the way they used to!”
That makes me question, does the art suffer if the artist can only be half committed? We may come to a point where we finally say to ourselves that the time for complete commitment has come. Our sideline creativity has come to a crossroad and it is time to commit or quit.
If the question is ‘Can Art Create Community’ then the answer should be obvious. Art is intimately married to an innate human need to communicate. It can express and provoke thought. It gives us an ability to record events and tell stories. We can understand ourselves or even ponder the sacred. How has this been true and how has it changed?
As the holiday season approaches, I started thinking about artists as grateful gift givers. Artists can be thought of as gracious and giving or snobby and pretentious or maybe a mix of all of these. As my thoughts were coming together, I remembered a funny routine by comedian George Carlin about his views on the game of golf. The bit explained his unique perspective about the game. He joked that golf was a snobby, elitist, pretentious endeavor played for the sake of chasing a tiny ball around for hours on end. Perhaps art can be viewed with similar terms. Continue reading “Artists as Grateful Gift Givers”
I was at the studio of a good friend and sculptor the other day. The humorous opinion developed that, nowhere in art does dullness shine brighter, than from the lamp of perfection.
We were having a stimulating conversation that somehow landed on the idea of extremes. We were comparing perfect technique versus an intentionally naïve approach. Perfection in technique we decided, especially in the age of the camera, is pointless. The humorous opinion developed that, nowhere in art does dullness shine brighter, than from the lamp of perfection. An artist’s technique can get so perfect, there is nowhere to allow for the art to exist. Little actions that are left not “corrected” can do several things. The so called “dithers” of tool or brush handling adds a certain life to the work. These little leftovers can add interest that compels us to want to look closer.
Sometimes the artist must make a decision to pull back the perfection for some specific reason. A purposeful distortion may provide an excitable energy or a quiet a mood. Artistic intention can make the poetic idea or message be better communicated to the viewer. In other words, these are the things that turn a perfect rendering into a work of art.
It is in our human nature to share our experiences. Telling a story with embellishments makes it really captivating. However, one must first learn to speak before exercising artistic license. Oh, but that certainly, would be another and perhaps very long conversation.
Note: This painting (Aycil with Orange Chair Unfinished, 2018) is of my friend and working partner, Aycil Yeltan who is an actress and art model. She is certainly not dull or uninteresting! Thanks to her again for posing, What, I ask myself, would we artists do without our hard working models?
Mid-winter painting at Carbon Canyon means the sun is still a little low in the horizon. The equinox mean the light is hinting at the position it will soon be at in spring. There is a quality of the softer light that inspires that feeling one gets when the air is clear and clean and also both warm and cool.
This painting was done in the brisk shade while looking down the path that leads past the nature preserve and garden. This is a return trip to the Carbon Canyon Regional Park. For many years, this area that has captured my attention.
This area was recently on fire, and some of the area showed signs of being scorched. The trees that appear here were also subjects of the other paintings done around this location. Fortunately the main trunks survived and restoration of the area is underway.
I like the height of the trees. I’m mostly responding to the massing of the shapes and how that creates a composition on the canvas. It seems to set up for a “Californian” arrangement of Eucalyptus trees in the setting sun. Hopefully, it has a European sensibility also.
I look forward to doing more paintings here. Originally settled in the 1880’s by the new farmers it was know as Olinda. Agriculture and oil were the main industries. The area is full of history and natural Southern California beauty. Here’s a link to plan a visit to Carbon Canyon Regional Park.
A little while ago, I drove south of Los Angeles and into the wilds of North East Orange County. My destination was the nestled in Saddleback Mountain. There are several canyons and trails and the surroundings are rustic. I was looking for a place where I would be able to paint a view of the mountains highest point, Santiago Peak.
Orange County California has within it a number of beautiful parks to visit and hike. Along a creek bed I saw this view and decided on it as a subject to paint. Standing on the rocks and sand of the wash, I laid a nine by twelve panel on my portable easel and began to lay out little piles of paint onto my palette. The activity of preparation got me tuned in to the immediate environment around me. I could hear the gurgling water and feel the mild breeze, the sun was setting behind me.
While visiting the area outside of Brea, CA I began painting a view of Carbon Canyon. During the 1880’s, the town of Olinda was established on the northeast corner of Orange County, CA. It was a small pioneer town known mostly for agriculture and oil businesses. Some of the oil fields are still there. Part of the canyon is a regional park where many people now hike and ride their horses.
This painting was done at the very east end of the Carbon Canyon Regional Park. The fenced in area is now a native plant garden. Like many places in Orange County, the setting sun provides a particular golden glow that has been captured by many artists and photographers. This is a beautiful area during certain times of the day and is full of history.
Redwood Forest in Southern California?
There is a natural redwood forest here also. A short hike around a small hill takes you to the small forest of redwood trees. It is easy to imagine what life must have been like when the area was being settled by the new farmers. One would like to think of those days as simple times. Not far away is the town of Brea which would have been a hub for commerce. The Santa Fe railway serviced the area. At that time, Los Angeles must have seemed very far away.
A Great Day Trip
Fortunately, much of Carbon Canyon remains as it always has. It appears the locals want to keep it that way. I hope they do. Places like this are wonderful to visit. You can learn more about the Canyon Canyon Regional Park here.
The plein air process for this painting was in keeping with the historic flavor of the area. I used my portable wooden easel, a hand stretched canvas and a few tubes of paint made by Rublev Natural Pigments. I plan to return and capture more of this hidden area just off the beaten path.