May
12
2010

What's YOUR Style? by Wilson Bickford

As an art instructor, I often hear the lament of students stating that, "I don't have a style," or "My work doesn't look like ME."
Though we've all heard it before, the old saying, Don't worry about finding your style, your style will find YOU, is very true.
In the beginning, most aspiring painters learn by copying. Let's face it,....... there's not one of us who can plead innocence on this. And that's okay.

We learn by doing and by seeing what other artists do to create their unique effects. I truly think this is the best approach when starting out.
However, you will eventually come to a place where you're ready to "solo" and you try those first few paintings all on your own from an idea that YOU conceived. Yes, this can certainly be frustrating, but how you work your way through those paintings is the basis of your "style." The decisions that you make are what make that painting your OWN and what puts your personal stamp on it. As you progress, you will rely on certain techniques and approaches which are comfortable for you and give you the desired result. Then, guess what? You will have a style; one to call your own.
That's not to say that you can't dabble in a few different variations of styles and genres. With enough experience, you will be able to work looser or tighter, depending on your desired result and your mood.
While I'm more of a "realist" than anything, there are times when I feel I want to loosen up a bit and be more impressionistic. That's when I put my brushes aside and get out my painting knives.
As an example, I have included two of my paintings to stress my point.
The Calla Lilies were obviously rendered with brushes in a more traditional manner, utilizing glazing, scumbling, etc. A rather slick interpretation.

The barn on the other hand was created solely with a couple of painting knives. Pretty much the total opposite of the spectrum from the flowers, isn't it?
To most viewers, I'm sure they would assume that it was two paintings by two different artists. Nope, just one guy with a couple of opposing approaches.
In the end, the question is,................ do we really need a specific style?
I don't think so. In fact, I think it's a bad idea to get pigeon-holed into being anything predictable.
Yes, there are those who will disagree and say that your buying customers want to purchase the work that you're "known for."
The bottom line is that you should paint for yourself first. Just don't be afraid to mix things up once in a while.
Do it with conviction, do it with enthusiasm and do it with style!!
Once your style (or styles) has found you, your audience will follow.

www.wilsonbickford.com

May
12
2010

G40 The Summit - The Great American Group Show by TMNK

 


I've just returned from the opening festivities for the group art exhibition created by Art Whino, called G40 The Summit. To conceive of an exhibition consisting of 5 floors, 75,000 square feet of space, and over 500 artists is quite an undertaking. To successfully plan, coordinate, and deliver said show is an awesome accomplishment, for which the Art Whino team should be extremely proud of themselves for. This weekend they wrote an important page into the journals of art history.

Honestly, I really didn't know what to expect. Like most artists, I was simply grateful for another opportunity to share my work with an audience, and to perhaps make a few sales to a new group of collectors. And given the size, magnitude and scope of G40, it was also an opportunity for me to challenge myself to create cohesive visual experience. The goal was to create a show within a show that was powerful, poignant, and stimulating. And so I painted, delivered, then hung and installed my offerings to this great American group exhibition. Then, as if a child performing in their first school production, I sang with the group, yet inside quietly waited for "my part," that brief moment where I would stand out, and my individual greatness would be recognized.

But G40 is not your typical group show, and there are literally five floors of great artists, performers, each with their own powerful and distinctive voice. And as I walked around, I began to understand what actors appreciate about being a member of a great ensemble cast. It truly is not about your own individual performance. It's about the opportunity to meet and work with other great artists whose talents you respect and admire. Artists like Aaron Martin, Remi, Joe Iurato, Kelly, Michael Owen, Sueworks, and HermLife, Kelly Castillo, Jophen Stein, and Jim Mahfood, just to name a few. It's the indescribable feeling you get when one of your peers shares that they admire your work, and wanted to meet you. I guess what I’m saying is, more than showing, it's growing new relationships.

I left humbled, honored to have my small voice included, blended in with the rest of this historic choir. G40 the Summit is not to be missed.

May
12
2010

Looking at art in Person by Valerie (Valry) Drake

 

Have you ever seen a Picasso in person? WOW! I saw one recently and was absolutely mesmerized. There is so much about it that you just do not see from books or online representations. For one thing there was SO MUCH texture! Some areas were almost smooth and others had a LOT of impasto. It gave a whole new aspect of depth to the painting. Another thing I noticed was that there were areas of canvas that had NO paint. Now I don't know about you, but I just do not have anywhere near that much confidence. If I have a piece of bare canvas showing through I figure I just have not done it right and I dive right back in there with my brush and muck around and, first thing I know, I have muddy edges. Not Picasso, he just left that little blank spot and didn't mess with it.

Then there was The Goldsmith by Rembrandt that I saw in Chicago. I had seen this work in a book or online or something so I recognized it but it absolutely stunned me. This thing is only a couple of inches tall! And it is absolutely exquisite - the detail, the expression, the pose – intimate and loving and a total story. I have done some miniatures, but I will NEVER achieve such perfection. It was humbling.

I sat in front of a Monet for who knows how long trying to absorb those colors and the shading. It is just totally impossible for any reproduction to accurately reproduce the richness of the original.

O'Keefe is amazing. Did you know that she did not mix her colors on the canvas? She planned it all out ahead of time, what colors and where and then she pre-mixed every shade before she started painting! The Georgia O'Keefe museum in Santa Fe has some of her preliminary drawings and I realized how much planning and care she put into her work before she ever got near the canvas. Such discipline!

If you are like me you do not have large, unoccupied chunks of time to visit the museums. A lot of my studying the old masters is done on-line in the middle of sleepless nights. But every time I go to a museum I learn so much about art, so much that I do not think could be learned in any other way.

p.s. - My museum kit now includes: a folding stool that is easy for me to carry (there is not always a seat in front of the painting that I want to spend time absorbing), my camera (with a no-flash option) and a tripod (without a flash there is no way I can hold it steady enough to get the shot), and a sketch pad and pencil for notes and quick sketches - or take-my-time sketches.

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