Thursday, July 30, 2009

One Friday Left!

Much to my surprise, I think I will be able to finish tomorrow, which is my last Friday at Goldsmith's this summer. I'm going to start early, maybe 10 a.m., to make sure that it's done by the end of the day.

If the day goes really well, I might even come close to selling out--I have a verbal agreement from a buyer to purchase three paintings, including this one, and strong interest in two other paintings from two other potential buyers.

Here's hoping!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Two Fridays Left!

I probably won't be able to paint at Goldsmith's on Fridays in August (have to earn my paycheck so I can pay bills, buy groceries, and keep the cats supplied with food so they don't do cruel and terrible things to me). That means there are only two Fridays left to watch me paint the horse on the Green (for a good story about that, read the Lady Godiva post on my other blog).

I forgot to take a photo last Friday, so I have nothing to show you here, but I am getting close to finishing. At least, it looks that way. The reality is that, while there will be paint on all canvas surfaces by the end of the month, there could very well be a month's worth of "fussing" to do.

Meanwhile... I've enjoyed painting small canvases, so yesterday I bought several more. I'm going to try working on those in my spare time. First, however, I really need to paint my front porch!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

More Art!

There's a slow but steady trend towards more and more art venues in downtown Waterbury, which is absolutely fantastic. Be sure to check out the Freight Street Gallery--finally, someone has converted one of our many factory spaces to gallery space!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Well, Crap!

I was really hoping to be able to work on my painting at Goldsmith's tomorrow, but I have to go to Jury Duty instead. There's always the off-chance that I'll be dismissed early in the day, in which case I'll go paint, but I'm prepared to spend the day at the courthouse instead. I've printed out all my notes and draft for my next article in The Observer to work on, and I've got a novel (Tears of the Giraffe) to finish, so I guess it won't be all bad.


Friday, July 3, 2009

Today's Work

This probably represents just under three hours of paint time and fifteen to twenty minutes of pondering time. Keeping the canvas in progress at Goldsmith's is a little challenging, since I don't get to spend as much time thinking about my next move, but I think I'm doing okay. ;)

Today I decided that it's time to get the main focus, the fountain, filled in. Once I finish fleshing it out, getting the right contrasts, colors and intensities, then I will know how to finish the trees, background and people. At the moment, there are only one or two small areas of the painting that I consider to be "finished". Most of it needs a LOT more work.

I'll be back at Goldsmith's next Friday, unless jury duty gets in the way. [I have jury duty next Friday, but maybe it will be canceled the day before, or maybe they'll let me go early, in which case I'll head over to Bank Street.]

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Technically Proficient, But Lacking a Soul

I've been working in NYC this week and last, and this past weekend I came down with a bad case of the common cold (how I hate thee, common cold!), the combination of which has left me without the time or energy to do any art. However, working in NYC means I get to walk past galleries on my way to/from work.

Last week while walking to work, I came to an abrupt stop in front of the Hammer Galleries. They had placed a large and very eye-catching painting in one of the windows. At first glance, it seemed like the artist was pursuing similar interests to my own--realism and urban genre. But after a moment of looking at it, I discovered an instinctive dislike for the painting. My basic thought was "it's crap!", but I couldn't figure out why I thought it was so terrible.

Here's the painting, Louvre, Pyramid by Robert Neffson:

There's a lot of important detail that you can't see in the small photo. I wish you could see the actual painting, as it would make it easier to understand why I think it's crap.

I spent most of the day puzzling over my reaction to the painting. The best explanation I could come up with was "it has no soul". Technically proficient, yes, but lacking in some fundamental quality to make it great art. This bothered me largely because of the similarities between Neffson's painting and what I am trying to achieve with my own art. What is that fundamental quality that elevates art to greatness?

The trend throughout much of the 20th century seems to have been the belief that "great art" does something new and different, but that's just gimmick marketing. Truly great art, that continues to inspire awe in the viewer for centuries afterwards, has a sublime, inspirational quality.

That still didn't answer my question about why I felt such a strongly negative response to the Neffson. Plenty of paintings aren't great masterpieces, but they're still good. I showed the painting to a friend, and he hit the nail on the head: Neffson's painting isn't art, it's what an architect or interior planner would create to show a client what their proposed design would look like, complete with museum visitors carefully arranged throughout the space in staged poses showing the many ways in which visitors will interact with the architectural space.

It's not art, it's engineering.