Friday, February 18, 2011

Painting: Technique vs. Subject

I had a laugh as I was blocking in a new painting. It reminded me of a painting I made in 1975. I was in a painting class at the University of Cincinnati, College of Design, Art and Architecture. I was officially studying fashion design (humorous, no?) and my true gift was for fashion illustration.  I'll always be grateful for this because I was given a pretty sturdy education in rendering the figure. Our core-curriculum for design included graphic design and painting. In the graphic design course we used Color-Aid to create all sorts of transparency effects and shadows, etc.  It was a real education in seeing color. But painting was another issue. During my childhood, I wanted to be an artist, but it seemed too impractical and I did not have a particular message to sing out from the canvas.  I have to say, even though my technique was not bad, my paintings were pretty stupid! One day, I was painting along featuring an inane collection of objects and the painting professor suggested I just paint over what I was working on. So, I did. In no time at all, he came over and said, "Stop! Stop! Leave it like that."  So that is how the painting to the left came to be.  My stepmother liked it sufficiently to want it in her house for a time.  So the prof was on to something for sure. Technique will only take you so far.  Passion for subject is what ultimately makes a painting.  It would take me another twenty years before I discovered my calling to paint the landscape.  It is that love and passion for the landscape that informs me how to paint. Painting is a lot easier now!

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