Sunday, August 28, 2011

Looking at Art

evening on the water for blog and e-mail I have a couple of paintings almost done, this is new but it isn’t one that I’m talking about. I’m going to spend some time looking at the others to decide if they’re done or need some tweaking.  That made me think about looking at art. 

I was in a gallery the other day and listening (I do eaves drop now and then) to a couple looking at a painting I had just looked at.  They wondered why it warranted wall space in a gallery.  It was a good piece but there were a lot of splatters and drips, something I love to see in a watercolor while others think it’s just plain sloppy.

There is no right or wrong here but it helps to know a bit about why the one that you wonder about is in that gallery or museum and sometimes you have to study it awhile to figure it out, especially if you don’t particularly like it.

To help, most museums have docents who can point out what makes a painting work.  Galleries don’t generally have docents, they have sales people and while they do want to help you, they’re still sales people.  In order to enjoy looking and to learn more about what you like and why you like it,  here are a few general questions that docents at the Grand Rapids Art Museum ask.  They’re good ones to ask yourself when you’re looking:

1. What’s going on in the painting?

2. What do you see that makes you think that?

3.  Is there an element that makes your eye move around the painting to see what’s going on?

4. Does the title tell you what’s going on?

5. What images/objects do you see? 

6. Is there a dominant color? What is it and how does it make you feel?

7. To really stretch yourself try imagining the main color area as a different color. Would you still respond to the painting in the same way?

These are general questions.  Another time I’ll deal with looking at specific subject matter.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Week of R&R

Every summer for the past 21 years my dear friend Terry and I leave our families for a week to devote all of our time to our art (and catching up on what each of us are doing.)

Last week was the week, we were at a lake just outside Traverse City which is where we have gone for the past 19 years.  Eighteen of the 19 years were at Spider Lake thanks to my brother and sister-in-law.  Here is a view from the dock….view of the lake 1

That rowboat will be in future paintings.  Paintings that were done while I was there include these two


waitin' for a rower for blog

They are not the same size – top is 7 x 7, bottom is 14 x 14; however, the camera doesn’t seem to know the difference.  I have a couple others but when I saw the images on my computer I realized they weren’t done. 

Painting isn’t all we do, we swim – at least three times a day.  Swimming in a cool lake feeds my soul.  Somehow a pool isn’t the same, most likely because I grew up swimming in a lake.  And one day during the week we go in to town for lunch at our favorite “Amical” where Sebastian has been our waiter two years in a row and he gives us great service.  We also make a stop at the college bookstore because they have an excellent selection of art supplies and the prices are good.

An aside – while searching for something else I came across a blog entry titled Enjoying the Gallery Experience.  If you hesitate to visit those places read it.  While it’s primarily about visiting galleries and museums in New York, it could be any city.  For that matter, even if you’re not hesitant about visiting, it’s worth reading.

Enough today, I’m working on getting more paintings done as I have to have 2 for ArtWalk, several for an exhibit at The Edge Gallery in Fenton and 2 or 3 pieces for Lemon Creek Winery’s Grand Haven Tasting Room.  All happening in September.  Yikes… I’m off to work!