Saturday, December 6, 2008

EDM #13 AND OPINIONS ON ART!



Here is my latest Everyday Matters drawing. My office phone wasn't that interesting so I added the surrounding "stuff". I love my artist "Jack-in-a-box". It was a gift from a cousin.

I have added another website to the list. Susan Webb Tregay, a nationally recognized watercolor expert, has started a blog. Check her out. Her very first post has 3 things to thing about when looking at the art of others.

I saw this letter to the editor in the latest issue of The Artist's Magazine. What do you think of his observations? Food for thought.

"I've been a watercolor painting instructor at the American Academy of Art in Chicago since 2001, and over the years have seen my share of watercolor shows. Pretty much without exception, they are interchangeable collections of beautifully crafted images: still life, landscape, figure, etc. Once you get past the technique, what's left? Nostalgia? Don't you ever feel that if you see another bowl of fruit you're going to wreck something? There are many painters in other media who deal with the "pretty," but there are a great number of artists who are out there creating images that are intended to make us think-to enlighten us, to scare us and make us ask questions - images with content that we can agree with, disagree with, be revolted by or find great joy in. I find it hard to believe that so many talented watercolor artists are only interested in creating images for decoration. I'm also amazed at how revered this practice is within the watercolor community; it's like a self-perpetuating type of inbreeding. Maybe it's the show scene reinforced by the "how to" art book publishing industry. Maybe the watercolor painters of content are more common that we realize but the watercolor establishment seldom exhibits them. Perhaps it's the notion that unless a piece is pretty, it won't be accepted in a watercolor show, so why pay the fee and go through the trouble of entering it if there's no chance a provocative painting is going to be accepted, much less win a prize? Yes, you will see the occasional watercolor appear in broader or specialized art shows, and there are even the occasional watercolors that show up in museum shows. But, I'm afraid that the passive contentment for the status quo continues to cause watercolor to be marginalized by the greater world of art as a second-rate art form/ Tom Herzberg, Chicago, Ill.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I guess Tom Hertzberg is right, maybe that's the way he needs to paint. I think people should paint what they feel inside. Myself, I've always been drawn to beauty rather than the disturbing side of life,so that is what i feel like I want to come through in my painting.

Hilda

RHCarpenter said...

Well, Myrna, we both read this and I think probably had the same reaction - what is he talking about and what watercolor shows has he been attending? Certainly not the American Watercolor Society show or the Ohio Watercolor Society show - and he hasn't been looking at Watercolor magazine - the artists in these shows and at this level are really doing some out-of-the-box, interesting, thought provoking work. And for heaven's sake, hasn't he ever heard of Alex Powers, whose work is there to make us think? I can't believe in Chicago they don't have a higher standard but maybe it's the shows he chooses to attend. Pretty paintings can also be thought-provoking and it doesn't have to be ugly to be good art :) but I think he's uninformed. Perhaps you should send him in the right direction - even just checking out a number of artist blogs I know, including your's, would open his eyes a bit more.

Nava said...

Oh yeah... so many shows, especially when it comes to watercolors, seem to give the message "if you wanna be in this show or get an award - don't even think of getting expressive or going beyond perfect washes".

So, if pretty is what you're after - then it's the right era for that. However, for artists who are more experimental and go for emotional paintings, it pretty much forces them to think hard and decide which is more important: getting into shows, to being true to yourself. It's a shame that watercolors seem to have the tag of clean and pretty, as it puts more emphasis on the technique rather than design and content. Even when you look at books and DVDs, most of the watercolor-related ones are all about technique, with very few that concentrate on design and composition and creativity. If you look at other media (oils,acrylics, collage) - then it's a very different scene.

Maybe more people (and curators!) should take Mike Bailey's class...

Carol Feldman said...

I wanted to go crawl under the bed when I read this article.

Carol Feldman said...

Oh, I almost forgot the real reason I came here...Great drawings, by the way!!

RHCarpenter said...

If you have to paint still lifes with fruit to get into shows, then I'll never get in! ha ha I'm really going into another direction, but hey, maybe I'll get an article in an art mag some day :) 2009 is going to be my year for trying to get into juried shows (I have been in 1 before with a watercolor/collage painting) just to see what's out there in my area.

Maggie said...

This really is an ongoing issue in art. Do we paint from our hearts or do we paint to the requirements of the show or gallery? Fortunately, there is some overlap. In a back bedroom I have a painting of a rather elegant man, probably homeless and in need of mental health services. It will probably stay there. On the other hand, thanks to Sal Valencia, I have a new appreciation for junkyard treasures.

Cecelia said...

I think, too, that it is a matter of what will sell. Many people want to purchase decorator pieces to go with their furniture or a particular spot in home or office. And, a lot of shows are looking at that type of thing. I have almost taken my things out of local shows because my expressionistic style stands out like a sore thumb. Realistic still life, figures, landscapes, the southwest look, are what seems to go around here. The art market is pretty weak in our area, and always has been, although there are a lot of artists. Most have to go elsewhere like Houston, New York, etc. to get recognition or to sell.

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