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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Art as Codependancy? Rant

I have what some have kindly called a chilled view of my art. It's paint, an anything else seen is merely incidental.
 Nothing has so much incited "Harumphff's" from other artists as this fact. I don't have a meaning or wish to communicate anything. I paint what I see. I don't express my inner self or want the world to *understand* me. I'm not a particularly needy person, and why should they? They've got their own things going on, and frankly I don't find myself so intriguing as to think they'd spend a moment on it....still.
  I find it curious and often amusing what others think my art means. For the purposes of this blog, I write something, then go find a piece of art that may or may not fit. The art was "paint." Most of the time it's not deep or complex. I'm far too lazy for that. Seriously, I just paint.With the exception of a scarce few, my paintings were not about emotion. Further, I find painting while being overly emotional as successful as balancing my checkbook during an emotional outburst. In other words, for me, the two are a disasterous combination. Emotional housekeeping, however I do pretty well.
   I find the effort to communicate something with paint to be far more confusing than simply saying it, so I write instead.
   Sometimes I've had people get indignant that I must have meant to *say* something in paint, because that was what they felt. I'm not powerful enough to force someone to feel something. If paintings were powerful enough to *make* people feel certain things, we'd all just sit and look at something beautiful and feel good all of the time. Sure, it helps, but please!
   No, I'm not buying it. If a viewer feels something, it's their feelings to be responsible for. The same goes when I feel something. No one forced it on me. I have and am responsible for my own feelings, my own sight. I cannot feel your feelings, and you cannot feel mine.
  But "What did the artist want to *communicate?*" Many of them do want to do that, and that's wonderful. Most do these days, but it wasn't always so.
   Artists used to be skilled craftsmen like cabinet builders, brick layers and masonry workers, and they used to get paid like these do. Relatively recent in history (last century), was the advent of wanting to express oneself in paint. Imagine a bridge builder insisting that he be understood. Personally, I'd not drive over that bridge.
   Technique has taken second or third place to emotion, and I don't see why they can't work together. With a solid ground of know-how, any direction might be taken, but so few even want to learn to draw. They aim to be *understood,* and it saddens me that they don't seem to have self acceptance. The idea of Van Gogh lobbing off an ear is not romantic to me. It's sad.
   Still, there are those who will not own their own feelings when looking at art. Blame seems to be the route to happiness for these. Again, "The artist must have intended it, because I felt it." Ok, let's take that to some well known artwork.
    May I introduce the classic "Ink Blot Test?" These were created by artists, yet they are used to find out what the viewer is all about. The artist smashed two pages together with ink, no intent, just ink....."just paint." These tests reveal the viewer.
   If the viewer insisted that "No! That's what they really are! That's what the artist intended!" They might get an interesting diagnosis.
   This is not to say that occasionally I might not experience an emotion during a painting, or that another might not have that same emotion on viewing it. It's fine when it happens, but I learn more about others when it doesn't. Most often what I paint and what people see are two different, if not opposing things, and this is cause for delight, because I am learning.
   I've painted the wealthy who were *seen* as impoverished. I've painted the serene who were *read* as insecure, I've painted the sad who others insisted were *sexy.* ad infinitum.
   I don't see any value in trying to get others to understand me, and I'm not so sadistic that I'd want you to experience some feelings. Alternately, some are so good, I'd rather keep them to myself. hehe! Besides, it's much more fun for me to try to understand others.
   Admittedly, I like the puzzles in paint of emotion that others make. I get to guess what they felt, and every once in a while, I get close.
    In compassion, for the emotional voyeurs among us: In any painting I've done, most often what I felt while painting was peace, a quiet mind without thought. Sometimes, I've felt a little paint get on my fingers too.  Maybe that's "sad, sexy, insecure and impoverished," It could represent the deep inner meaning of, or the social impications of.......(not a chance)  but I doubt it. winks!
  A quote from James McNeill Whistler,
"As to what the picture represents, that depends upon who looks at it." Art quote source: Pot of Paint by Linda Merrill, p151. Quoted in Like Breath on Glass p32.a'
Read other Quotes from Whistler  here:
tina jones

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Does Size Matter?

When it comes to paintings, yes and no. Miniatures are big on the market, often detailed, gorgeous, and sometimes less expensive. Extremely large sofa or wall sized paintings are popular too.
  The following is a tip for artists who'd like to do very large works, but simply don't have the space to do them.
  Why not do little paintings in a very big way? Lately, I've worked mostly with 11x14's. Commonly accepted is the idea that portraits be about 75% of actual size up to actual size. Well, I like them bigger than that. For myself, I find more room for the detail I love to paint when I oversize works.
    This is an early stage of  my latest painting in the Black and White Series of a hand. It's an 11x14" photographed with my own hand beside it to show the scale of this work. This painting, while on a small canvas is "larger than life," so to speak.

This way of painting wont be for everyone. There is the issue of having more space to fill where there may not be much detail in your subject, but noting subtleties of color and light and shadow can fill those spaces beautifully.
   Here's the finished piece:

"Hand Of A Friend"
Acrylic on Canvas

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Dark Side of Beauty

The earliest records of painting on cave walls record the kill of hunt. Caravaggio presented his bodiless head on canvas to a pope, and Frieda Kahlo painted herself skewered by a rod through her abdomen depicting the most painful moment of life to her at the time. Then perhaps most gripping was "The Scream" by Edvard Munch.
 Beauty is sometimes in the countrysides, sunsets and billowing impressionistic parasols...
Othertimes it reaches into taboo, those things we'd alternately rather not think about, or we think about them when no one is watching....

"Kneeling Nude (The Prayer)"
Acrylic on Canvas

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Never Judge Your Possibilities By Someone Else's Limitations.

I owe a great deal of my success in painting to someone who told me years ago,
 "You cannot teach yourself to paint in oils!"
I was never clear if they meant it wasn't possible, or that it was not allowed.
Either way, I had work to do and didn't have time for such nonsense.

"George The Entertainer"
Oil on Canvas

Never judge your possibilities by someone else's limitations.
tina jones
                                                     (self taught, be it impossible or illegal)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Table for One: Ongoing Understanding of Neurotypicals

They were most hospitable, a group of friendly women I'd met after moving to the Deep South, where I lived a few years. I'd been invited to go to a weekly scheduled lunch at a local restaurant with them. I wanted to be friendly. They were very kind, so I went.
  I arrived timely and spotted several of the women near the back of the restaurant. Approaching, approximately seven of them were gathered enjoying around a tall table built for two. Scooting over, they invited me to sit. As would be my usual, I made no big deal of it, and sat, smiling at them reassurringly at the next table at the back of the restaurant. Though made for two, they are ample for one, and quite comfortable. Besides, I don't care if it's Buddah, Jesus or Colonel Sanders. If a person is within my arm's reach uninvited, I'm uncomfortable.
    As minutes passed, and I'd ordered a diet soda and a salad with chicken, a few more ladies came in, and my table for one, now had three. These two, like myself, had declined the togetherness of the more social table, but we could hear what was being said, and participate if we liked just fine.
   There was the rumble of restaurant noises and the chatter from all over the room, but upon hearing of a missing person, I focused hard. One of the ladies at the next table was very concerned mentioning his name, and saying that they couldn't find him anywhere. "Oh, NO!"  I thought. "Not another one."
   Recently a man had gone camping in the woods there. He'd gotten lost, as rumor had it. many had. He did not find his way out for three days in 100 degree farenheight plus temperatures, and was badly shaken and dehydrated when he did. I feared people could die out there. My mind contrived images of someone dragged into the black water and being eaten in chunks by alligators.
   I thought, "Who is this man?, Is he from here?, Does he have family here? and How can I help?!!!"
   Another lady looked just as distraught saying she hadn't heard anything either. They all appeared sad to me, when one said, "Well, I bought mine at (store name here)."
   I thought the poor lady had lost it. What did that have to do with the missing man?!
   Another lady added that they used to carry, "It" at another store. I was lost. It wasn't until one lady said that she got her "Purse" at some store that I realized it.
    The man's name that they "Could not find," was infact the brand name of.....yes, a purse.
    I do not mean to belittle the importance of purse procuring, but I was annoyed. I had spent good energy focusing over the crowd for several minutes for a purse. I liked them. I just didn't understand the ways of the purse. Perhaps I never will. Really nice people they were, if a bit focused on their "comfort objects." So I like kneaded erasers. I suppose it's not all that different. (shrugging my shoulders)
    At that point, all sounds including the upset purse talk from the table for two with seven faded into an indiscernable rumble as usual. My salad arrived, and it was most gratifying.
  I learned from this experience that purses are important to many people, that tables for one suit three in a pinch, and that I need to order extra salad dressing
tina jones

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Reference Photos: A Second Look

    Photos are my shopping list of what I want to include in a painting. Even when getting close to photo realism, I'm free to edit out or add to the photo. In the following example. I've nearly copied the lower half of the photo.
  I found the reflection of myself, the chair and the closet door uninteresting, so I created a fantasy within the reflection. I've been careful to follow the general distortion of my own figure in the photo in creating the dancing figures. In other words, anything can go in this space as long as I follow the original distortion created by the curve of the sphere. This sphere is actually a Christmas ornament, and I've chosen to omit the small bit of ornament that shines to the lower right, making it only a sphere.
   We can improve on photos in many ways. My personal priority is to make more vivid the shapes of light and dark that I see, so that they are clear to the viewer. This will be apparent in the shapes of light on the walls and ceiling of this piece. They are greatly exaggerated. Other ways are to change colors, further soften and hide these shapes or add something of the artist's dreams or fantasies to a piece. It could even be a symbol that means something to the artist.

   For me, piano music and slow dancing go together, and the view from the shiny ball gives the viewer a peek at an intimate moment, made more vivid in size and by contrast.
   Left is the photo, and right is my finished work.

I hope you'll take a second look at reference photos that may not have been your idea of what they should be. They just might make for a good reference as an inspiration for fantasy.

"Dance of the Piano"
Acrylic on Canvas
Happy seeing and painting!
tina jones