ARTIST’S STATEMENT

I need a philosophy of art to which I subscribe or at least aspire, a concept into which I can box myself, so that I am satisfied when something I paint has harmony and color and texture that moves or inspires the viewer, especially me. I guess that’s my philosophy and my statement, arrived at after the fact, as I pondered which paintings please me and why. I want my paintings to invite the viewer to stick around and enter them. They are an invitation to relationship with each painting that strikes a chord, but relationship with the paintings, not with the painter. If there is to be any relationship between painter and viewer, it will arise in the future, when the painter has developed her unique style for communicating with her art, and through her art, with her viewers. 
I believe there is nothing more important for human beings, at least this human being, than relationship, especially with other human beings. It is the crucible in which one is burned to ashes and reborn, over and over, to rise each time in Phoenix fashion. I think of relationships as sort of tests. Maybe that’s why I can’t make one last. But, hey, thirty years in one relationship, I consider that I’ve passed that test and no longer need to matriculate in that particular school. I’m at the point where I believe my relationships deserve to be easy, not fraught, and when they’re not, I’m not interested. That doesn’t mean I necessarily dance around the challenges. I don’t. I may take a while to get there, but that’s not new, it’s history. 
When someone asks me what I do here on this island in Greece, especially off-season, I might tell them that I write and paint and take walks and do my laundry and such. Or I might say, “I’m a writer and painter.” Those are two very different ways of answering the question and which way I choose depends on a bunch of variables, including how I am perceiving myself these days and, how I want others to perceive me these days. Which changes day to day. Now that I’m painting on stretched canvases that pose a logistical problem, how to get them cheaply back to Madison, I’m more inclined to sell them if someone wants to buy, rather than keeping them around for my own pleasure. For that reason, I would call myself a painter–painters sell their pieces. 
I like movement in my paintings. My colors surprise, even me. These days, no two are alike, a clear indication that every painting is pure accident. Does that make them less authentic or valuable? Because they’re not intentional, but rather like a hundred monkeys randomly typing the encyclopedia. One of my art mentors, Peter, with his instructions to do “variations,” is trying to get me to go deeper into a style, but I’m not ready for that kind of exploration. I’ll refine and discover “style” sooner or later, but right now, it’s all too new, exciting and frustrating for me to want to narrow my focus. I like being a beginner; there’s so much to discover. I avoid revealing how long I’ve been painting (since the year or so before I moved to Greece), because it’s getting to be four or five years, and I’m not doing it seriously. But I feel myself to be a painter, nonetheless. Just not a serious one. A silly painter. A painter who paints for fun, not to get better at it, whatever better would look like, except that I’d like what I’d inadvertently yet purposely created even more, probably. 
I currently am completely out of touch with whatever it is that compels me to pick up a particular color when I first sit in front of a blank canvas. I have no interior visual that prompts me. Instead, I just let my hand do what it wants, and choose the color to first apply. And I have no preconceived notion of how I would want the form, texture or color to be. I sort of rely on the accident of the state of the Sennelier Oil Stick I’ve chosen and see what happens. Instead of cleaning and preparing my oil stick, I sometimes start out with some very dry, dirty colors on the end of the stick and that’s what comes off on the paper or canvas, instead of clear creamy thick colors, which apply so very differently. I’m getting to know my medium in a deeper way, as I learn how it responds to stretched canvas instead of paper, and how I need to learn new techniques and tools for moving the paint around on the canvas, which responds so differently than the paper we use at Peter and Heidi’s. I wonder how long he’s used the oil sticks as his primary medium in painting How long it’s taken him to come up with his own techniques, like the towel rollover, for instance. It’s frustrating not to have more techniques to get the movement of paint where and how I want it. I approach the canvas with an intent, usually not well-formed, and only tentative, and inevitably, I haven’t the skill or tool with which to achieve my intended stroke, so it comes out differently and I have to deal with what I’ve done and make it harmonious and interesting and inviting and that’s how I learn what to do next. 
This afternoon, I faced one of my artistic fears and painted alone at home when I was bored. I took out a watercolor paintbox and paper and played with the colors and the textures and had fun. 
It was an activity that engaged me and satisfied my need to play and create. Then, even though the sun had already set, I bundled up and walked for an hour in the dusk to Ysterni. It was beautiful. I saw two types of orchids, passed a runner, a bicyclist and two people sitting at the chapel by the sea. I saw many houses lit up with open windows–occupied for the first time this year. It feels good to have people visiting my island, bringing more life. 

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One thought on “ARTIST’S STATEMENT

  1. You know my “philosophy” about paintings and what is considered to be an interesting painting. Well, I am trying to figure out a “story” that this painting tells.
    I am seeing a traveler that is seeking. Don’t know what this traveler is seeking. But he is trying. He goes over small hills, moves to a smaller one, than to a happier one, etc. but he is seeking. The colors tell that it’s not a stressful seeking, it’s kind of “I wonder what would come next”.
    Has the traveler reached the pint of satisfaction? I don’t know. Only the artist can tell.

    Liked by 1 person

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