Thursday, April 1, 2010

When all else fails...

blog about your work in progress. For the first time in a long time, I don't know where I'm going as a painter. In the past, I've always had an idea, sometimes incoherent but still some idea, of what I wanted to do as a painter and how to go about it. For lately, I have to say that I haven't a clue. I'm not unhappy with this work but then, I'm not happy either. I am still working - and hope to continue working - on my sporadic paintings of people in restaurants, bars, coffeehouses.

For instance, this is one of them that I've tentatively titled "Tête-à-tête." Of course, it's a lousy photo because my camera is old and my photo skills marginal but it's not bad. I'm not sure it's any good either and if it's not good, how to make it so. I seem drawn to more simplicity of line and form but I don't want my pieces to look like an amateur's idea of anatomy. I suppose I could go the way of Robert Coldescott and try make really really good "bad paintings" but I'm not as skilled as he was.


This one I like better - I like the intense red against the blue and the hint of crude painting works in this piece or, I think it does but I sure could be wrong.


Usually I have SOME idea if a piece is decent or not but this one has me completely puzzled. The palate is far more muted than my usual colors but I like the paint texture. When I go to work on it, I just can't decide what to do - leave it as is or what....In a way, I like it but I'm not sure that I should. That is, maybe I can't recognize mediocre when it's one of my pieces. It's certainly more traditional than some of my other pieces but lately I have been veering toward more traditional painting so that's nothing new. This is when I miss my old teacher and critique group the most; N'Ima could bring a new vision to the most tired old piece. I always left the class, recharged and full of energy. Now, I find myself wondering all the time if I'm just a 3rd rate painter and should accept the fact. Of course, looking at all the good work that I do look at in the course of my journalism "day job" doesn't help. Some days it really seems like I'm the proverbial little old lady, showing my boring pieces to people who are polite enough not to tell me that "the Emperor has no clothes."

6 comments:

Zoomie said...

P.S. Knowing you, Nancy, they should all be artists you respect.

Zoomie said...

You need group critique and feedback - it's hard to work alone. Can't you invite some of the people in your studio to come to tea and look at these three paintings for you with fresh eyes? The group needs to see them in the flesh, so to speak, not just photos. You could offer to do a "round robin" where next time the group goes to critique a different member's work.

namastenancy said...

Believe me, I've tried - but people in the studio are tied up in their little lives and can't be bothered, certainly with the likes of me. The only time I get them to talk to me is when they want me to write about their art shows. It's enough to make a woman cynical.

Sherry Miller said...

I'm in Switzerland today but I'd be glad to come to your studio when I return. I like the paintings with boats. You don't have an enlargement on your blog so I'm not sure, but I suspect you could benefit (as most of us can) from using twice as much paint for the same subjects. Anyway I'll come in a few weeks, so there! (Meanwhile the word I MUST type to submit this looks like fellation but is spelled "flecatio." What a world!

Zoomie said...

Okay, now, that really is discouraging. I like to think of artists as helping one another and enjoying looking at each other's work, as they did at SFAI when I was there. How about an SFAI alumni critique? I wonder if SFAI would help you found such a group, who just come once a week with a painting to show and get feedback? Might appeal to SFAI as a possible money-raiser? Just an idea. If you want to pursue it, I'd call the development office or the alumni office and see if they have any interest. All they'd have to do is provide a space and some publicity to their alumns.

The word verification - no kidding! - is "dablogia"!

namastenancy said...

Sherry - I would LOVE to have you come and look at my work. I got a wonderful e-mail from an artist whose work I reviewed and she made comments similar to yours - so THANK YOU! That's very helpful.
The word verification process is a mystery to me but sometimes I think there's a mischievous imp that is making up these words. LOL!