Thursday, December 18, 2008

Getting to you

I know there's a book out there called Getting to Yes,
by Roger Fisher and soon there will be a Jim Carrey
movie on the same topic. But in art, as in life, the hard thing
it seems to me is getting to you, or me, if you are
me. Not to be too complicated -- what do I mean?
In every art group or class I've been in there are
artists who are admired greatly -- frequently for
their technical prowess. New artists, and people
who have taken up art again after a long stretch
of absence flock to these people like birds to
the best bird feed. Then -- and this is where the
problems begin -- they try to copy them. I say
try because they can never get it right -- and it
drives them crazy. Sometimes they so want to
paint like Jane or Bob, that they give up after
a few months and stop in despair.

Art class study
conté pencil and acrylic on bond paper

I do know artists who can successfully copy
another's style. Theresa Rankin can produce
a convincing Sargent. But she has her own
fully developed style and did so for teaching
purposes. Most people cannot be another artist.
I know there are forgers who make a living
from that skill -- but for the rest of us, the
thing that matters is finding our own style,
our own method, our own colours, our own
brushstrokes -- what makes us different from
the thousands of artists out there.

To that end I have tried so hard to be different
without putting motors on pine cones, or
sticking pigeons in a cage and making them
play music. To me that is not art but some
science experiment gone awry. Sometimes
I go too far. I found this drawing tonight that
I did with my art group, and wondered at
first why there was paint smeared erratically
across the model's face. Then I remembered
that I was "into" finding the model's form
with paint on a paper towel. I'd drag it in
broad strokes across the page then begin to paint.
And the result is here. A very conventional
drawing with some smeared turquoise.
I like it anyway. The mood appeals to
me, and the warm almost classical colour.

Have a you-are-just-fine-as-you day.


Theresa Rankin said...

Oh ...I love this...this not erratic color at all...very expressive and it works very well...not only is the drawing well done but the simple approach is stunning...and thank you for your kind comments.

Susan Carlin said...

I love your bravery, Barbara. And that you extend the invitation to that bravery to the rest of us.
Thank you.

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Theresa,

You are sweet. It is a bit erratic up close. The swipes of blue on the face don't make complete sense.

Thanks for being so supportive. One thing is true, it's not chickens on a treadmill. A Canadian artist got a Canada Council grant to do that in London, England.

Take care xoxoxo Barbara

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Susan,

Thanks so much, but I'm not brave
I just want to keep on moving to the extent that it's possible. I don't want to be married to one ground colour, even when it works very well. I want to keep learning. You are so helpful in that regard.

Take care xoxox


Anonymous said...

I love that Orange and Blue just sparkles!!

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Flora,

Thanks Flora, I hope you're not
snowed in down in Nova Scotia.

Have a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year.


Portrait Artist

My photo
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I paint and draw on commission and for shows. To commission a portrait, or purchase one of my paintings please contact me at:
A major highlight in my career? Drawing Oprah Winfrey live via Skype for her show "Where in the Skype are you? Galleries: Studio Vogue Gallery, Toronto, Canada. The Amsterdam Whitney Gallery, New York City. Gallery at the Porch Door, Kingston, Canada. Your positive comments on this blog mean the world to me. I'd love to hear from you!