“Painting is a funny business.” J.M.W. Turner
There is no telling in this world what someone else will like. The reality is as I stated in the blog on The Viewer: “What the viewer observes has been filtered by his senses over years of experience. Subsequently each person’s view of anything we as artists do, will be as completely unique as our voice.” No matter what our purpose, there is always going to be some unexpected responses. “Really, you see all that in there?”
I have frequently sat at art shows thinking: “what was I thinking when I put that color there? I really need to take that out and move that shape over. It’s not balanced.” Inevitably that would be the one that sold. It is true of judging also. What one judge thinks is a great painting and awards a prize to, another will past over. You would hope that they would be objective and all have the same criteria, but, objectivity aside, you can’t remove life experiences from anyone, and they do affect how people view things. It is one of the things I like best about abstract art. Everyone sees something different. I think realistic artists have a harder job at being unique. A tree is a tree. The question is how do you make your tree stand out from all the rest?
Emerging artists take classes from people whose work they admire. They want to paint in that style. If they are really going to be good at the art process however, it doesn’t take them long to figure out that; that style is not who they are. They will learn to use the same techniques and materials, learn about processes and composition, but their work will have its own voice. I love it when I have a class of 10 students and they are all doing something different. Uniqueness, authenticity, and your individual voice are paramount. The one constant in the artistic process, should be good composition. Even if every “John Q Public “viewer, may not recognize it.
Chances are, they are looking at the color or subject. I love to tell the story of a woman who came to my tent several times over a two-day period. She really liked this one painting. Late on a Sunday afternoon she came to me with a pillow from her sofa. She said, “if you can add this color, to that painting, I will buy it!!!
The bottom line for the art process is: know why you paint want you paint, know your purpose for painting, and say what you must say in a way that says this is me, this is how I feel. When engaging in art conversations, talk about composition, inspiration, processes. Ask your “painting buddies” how your painting makes them feel. Is the composition strong? Talk about what inspired you. But don’t let anyone else paint your painting for you.
“Don’t’ imitate, don’t follow others, or else you will lag behind them.” Jean-Baptist-Camille-Carot