Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Finding The "Sparkle" In Painting

To paint on a regular basis, has been a journey for me. Starting with oils and then moving back to acrylics I find that each has its pluses and minuses. As the paintings mount up, I find that I usually give them away as gifts as the sales so far have been few and far between. Yet, when I take the time to look at the earliest to the newest items I see growth, a kind of depth that I didn't have at the start. This is what every artist hopes for; growth!

However, while every artist hopes to get better at painting what they see or imagine, every artist of any kind, here we'll discuss painting, hopes to find his or her "voice." Or as a friend has recently put it, their "sparkle."

After a discussion about that word and what it represents in an artists art, I find that it is not easy to identify. He has defined it as allowing your own personality to shine through. I have begun to question that very statement. What is your personality and how can you express it in your art? What gives one artist's art something that arrests the eye while another artist, whose renderings are just as well done, are something that you would pass by murmuring nice but never giving them a second glance. Sparkle, just like the word quality, it is very hard to define but oddly enough, it appears that just about everyone knows what it is.

Reading the letters of Van Gogh you see a kind of innocence, a way of looking at the world that is different than what he fellow artists looked for and saw. He wrote, often in detail about his struggles getting something just right. As his art became more open, with color and light, you saw his art emerge into something very different than his earlier paintings such as the dark and crude "The Potato Eaters."

Here is a painting that was started months ago and then left because I just didn't seem to be able to finish it. Looking it over last night, I decided that it could be finished but that the direction of my art had changed since this was started. In fact, it is very different than the cactus I am currently working on. It has both elements, the older more detailed painting and the newer, looser underpainting with contrasting lines defining the subject, a single waterlily. More a sketch than a painting, it does glow more than other things I've done and possibly is the start of my journey to find that sparkle, that voice!

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