Wednesday, June 26, 2019

An Artist's Statement

In my recent readings, I came across an article that discussed the need for an artist to have "an artist's statement."  The author wrote that a statement drives one's art to make sense and it keeps one's art unified.

How do I come up with my artist's statement?  First, I will make a list of my WHYS and HOWS. I also need to list what's important to me in my painting. Those will help me solidify my focus and purpose.

WHY do I paint?
  • Because I can - and because I like it
  • The process is enjoyable - not in a "Wow! This is fun!" way but in a "Wow! I can see progress!" way.
  • I enjoy looking at my artwork on the walls.
  • After feeling incapable of decent art for so long, I still feel enormous satisfaction (and surprise!) when I look at a painting I've created that speaks to me - that moves me in some way.
  • I like connecting my art with moments and people in my life. The feelings of nostalgia and reminiscing are strong in my art. A painting has to mean something to me.
  • I like the challenge of taking classes or watching videos, and then I enjoy taking what I learned and applying it to my own art.
  • I remember clearly a moment in April when I was at PACE19 in San Francisco, walking back towards the bus from the ridge at Lands End, looking at the scenery and all the artists scattered around painting and thinking, “I LOVE this!”  
HOW do I paint?
  • I take a LOT of photographs. I'm always on the lookout for scenes I want to paint. I use the camera on my iPhone. 
  • After I settle on a photograph I like, I print it out in color.
  • I use the photograph as a reference as I paint.
  • If I'm doing plein air painting, I narrow my focus as much as possible so the painting doesn't become too busy.
  • I still take a lot of photos - even with plein air painting.  It lets me capture a moment in time to hold the light for however long it takes to complete the painting. 
What's important to me when I paint?
  • I must have a connection to what I'm painting.
  • I want my art to be "painterly" - meaning I want it to look like a painting.
  • I like a little quirkiness in my art. I want to see brush strokes and layers of paint - texture. I want colors that may surprise and seem out of place at first glance but then bring the scene together. Maybe "quirky nostalgia" would be my buzzword.
  • When the connection to the painting is strong, I often deepen that connection via poetry. That has become one of my favorite aspects of my art - joining the visual art with the written art.
My Studio
  • I've set up a studio in what was formerly the bonus room in our home.
  • Because of back issues (back surgery a few years ago), I sit when I paint. I can walk all day, but I can't stand still for a long time. So I've set up three "stations" in my studio.  I have my oil painting station, my acrylic painting station (used most often by my granddaughters), and I have my framing station. Each station has a desk with a chair. 
  • I don't worry about getting paint on the carpet - or the chairs - or the desks.  It's an art studio. When Ron and I are gone, whoever buys our house can replace the carpet and repaint the walls.
It is interesting reading back over what I've written. I've spent a couple hours, thinking through all this and writing it down. I just went back over what I've written and highlighted certain sentences/phrases in green. Those are the key statements about my art. 

My artist's statement is something like this:
I connect my art with the people, experiences, emotions, and places in my life. I strive for my art to evoke a sense of nostalgia and reminiscing - but also contain a little quirkiness.  When people view my art, I want them to feel a connection. My style is "painterly" with visible brush strokes and texture. One of my favorite challenges is to incorporate poetry whenever a painting is particularly meaningful to me. I love combining written art with my visual art.
It’s definitely a work in progress, but it’s a good start. 

1 comment:

  1. Interesting! I have never thought about an "artist's statement."

    ReplyDelete

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