May
12
2010

Artist Statement: Sell the Sizzle by M Theresa Brown

Sizzle! That's what an artist's statement should be! It's not your biography or your story. It's about what makes you tick as an artist in your particular field. To quote Elmer Wheeler, "To sell the steak you have to sell the sizzle!"
What does that mean? Well we have observed two very relevant target areas of interest here. That of the person looking at your art or browsing your website, and that of the Gallery who is getting ready to show a few of your pieces.
When we are representing our own work, the average viewer asks predictable questions similar to: "When did you first learn that you had this talent?" or "How long have you been doing this?" To which we all answer something like "Oh, since I was a child" or "forever" or "I just started" or something along those lines. In self representation we are rarely asked what awards we have won, what galleries our work is in, or who else had bought our work. So it is easy to see why, when an opportunity arises for an artist to present or show his work in a Gallery setting, we might easily write our artist statement based on the questions that our clients ask. It makes plenty of good sense!
Save the Gallery some time and impress them by re-thinking your bland artist statement. If you are not marketing yourself, then these people are. They have to write blogs or post on Internet sites or insert a piece to the local arts calendar to market and promote you. YOU can actually do it best if you think outside the box.
Galleries also want specifics. Interestingly enough, your awards or who you studied under or who most influenced your art are of most interest to Galleries as it is their job to make you interesting to a prospect. Even if you don't have a wall of awards, the Gallery (as we were told) will "puff it up." That's their job!
As a general rule, when self promoting, your client is face to face with you and so your artist statement is, in essence, you. You are building a relationship with that client as part of your artist statement..
So how are you going to present yourself in that statement? How are you going to deliver the sizzle? Art galleries will tell you that the biggest mistakes that artists make when creating an artist's statement is make it predictable and boring. For starters, don't begin your statement with "I loved art as a child" or something to that effect. Everyone loved art as a child or started with a box of crayons! That sentence alone brings in the "ho hum" factor before the next sentence has even been read.
With that in mind, no one really wants to read a chronological history of your life leading up to your career as an artist. Use adjectives to add sizzle. Use a thesaurus to help you replace predictable words or boring phrases. There is nothing wrong with studying how another artist writes a statement but remember that you need to make it your own. What would happen if several artists decided to copy an identical statement and they all sent it to the same Gallery? Or all put it on their blogs?

Think outside the box with your artist statement. Be unpredictable but readable. Can you surprise a Gallery? You can if you back away from the standard statement and don't go all wordy and predictable. You may think that all of this is obvious but you are just one of dozens sending an artist's statement to a Gallery. Make yours the one that stands out!

ArtCareerExperts.com

May
12
2010

Creating A Classic Still Life by Wilson Bickford

 

Still life is one of my favorite subject matters. For me, it's the challenge of capturing the realism of the objects involved. Quite often, I will utilize the Old Masters' "indirect" approach of laying down a "grisaille" underpainting, then layering glazes and applying final highlights. There's no question that this is a very effective method which yields very convincing results.
However, there are times when I take a more "direct" approach, as in the sample shown herein.
This painting was rendered "alla prima" ( basically wet-on-wet ) on a Black Acrylic Gesso primed canvas. I used no preliminary sketch, but rather laid out the objects and composition with a flat brush as I went. I simply roughed in the shapes and defined and refined them as the work progressed.
I knew in advance that I would want to glaze certain areas to bring out richer hues, so I added an Alkyd medium ( Liquin ) to my paints, which literally dried my canvas over-night. The next day, I was able to add glazes and brighten highlights to bring it to the finished degree you see here.
I used Jerry’s own SOHO OILS for this work. If you haven't yet tried them, you should.
Remember that when rendering still life, it's very important to show a broad range of values; lights, mid-tones and darks. Notice how I emphasized some really dark passages, but balanced it with some very light accents (and all the tones in between).
Also, note that by suggesting "reflections" of the fruit and crock, a table surface was only implied and not actually spelled out to the viewer. It wasn't necessary because I was able to make the viewer "see" it and "sense" it, even though it's minimal in the interpretation. Ah,... the power of suggestion!
www.wilsonbickford.com
May
12
2010

Levels of Observation by Cheryl Whitestone

I have to say, after 45 years of painting, I have truly trained myself to see. To see in a way that not only understands the energy, feeling or beauty of something or someone but the minute details and nuances that compose the thing I am viewing. I believe if you can truly see, you can paint anything. It is like putting a subject under a microscope. But be careful because this can leak into your life, and it can be easy to see all the imperfections that reside in the world and even in yourself. That's when you need to put on rose-colored glasses and know turning away from irritating issues or resolving them quickly is the best medicine.
I had a friend that confessed that he was scared of me, or rather artists in general. He said it was because he felt they could see through him. In some ways, this is probably true. But I assured him artists, or at least myself, were more curious than anything else.

Audrey Flack said in her book "Art & Soul, Notes on Creating" about seeing:
"When I am working from a photograph, a transparency, or direct observation, I am always amazed at how much more I see as the painting progresses. After I think I have completely perceived a particular area, something else reveals itself. As the work continues, the level of awareness deepens. The process takes its own time. I have come to accept that time and not fight it. I know when I begin my work, no matter how hard I try,
I'll never observe as much on the first day as I will on the last. Life like development will not be rushed, nor will there be full realization before completion..."

I understand DaVinci sat and observed the paintings he was working on for days without making a single brush stroke. Here's what I have been observing and working on:

"The Murphys' Walk on the Beach" 24"x36" Oil Portrait on Linen

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