Next: Robert Colescott, 1925-2009 (51)
Post #1363 • June 10, 2009, 1:27 PM • 26 Comments
Easter radishes, a nude, and another nude. I submit this conversation as evidence of superior life forms chez Einspruch:
Yours truly: I've been having a tough time in the studio lately. Everything I put on canvas turns into garbage. At least the watercolors are coming out.
Supergirl: Why don't you just paint watercolors, then?
June 10, 2009, 1:47 PM
Ditto on comments.
The radishes are my favourite, but there's something about the diagonal on the left that hits my eye too strongly... I think if the stark contrast were toned down (the white darkened) the problem would go away for me.
Thanks for sharing the new work.
June 10, 2009, 2:29 PM
Re your tough time in the studio lately: The paintings I make always start out awful. I slam away on them until they don't look awful anymore. Like the old song says, break on through to the other side. It's something like meditation practice because it's about tricking self consciousness out of the picture so the act of painting is something like a bird making a nest. It comes for me, usually, when I've painted myself into exhaustion and I'm practically blind. At that point I don't have the energy to get in the way of it.
The suspect sits in a chair, a bare light bulb over his head. Interrogators circle with questions until the suspect is so worn out that he no longer has the energy to keep from telling the truth.
June 10, 2009, 3:16 PM
I also enjoy the radishes, but concur that the diagonal is distracting. I could see an arbitrary handling of the negative space. The lower body of the second nude has wonderfully implied planar transitions. I greatly enjoy the bleeding of the red negative space into the hip of the model.
June 10, 2009, 9:06 PM
Hurray for Supergirl. To her comment I will add: now paint your watercolors with your off hand.
There is a narrow path between talent and discipline that artists must walk. By using your bad hand, the picture will be much more vulnerable to your talent which is the kind of vulnerability that counts in the studio. Try it. You have nothing to lose, which is one of the hinges that can turn freedom loose. "Freedom's just another word ..."
June 10, 2009, 9:12 PM
BTW, if you try my suggestion, you may need to use a larger surface to make room for the clumsiness of your off hand. Talent can be just as precise as discipline, but it needs room.
June 10, 2009, 9:25 PM
John, there's a big difference between Nude 2 and Nude 1 - I figured out that the outline didn't have to be the same color all the way around. I'll figure out what I can do with that before switching hands.
A dear teacher back at RISD - Victor Lara - introduced me to drawing with one's subordinate hand. We also drew with both hands simultaneously. That's mind-blowing.
Tim, honestly? That has never functioned for me. I find that things go best when I'm pursuing the opposite of good work ethic. It's too bad, too, because otherwise I could just get in there and pound. Instead, I have to wait. And relax.
June 10, 2009, 9:41 PM
OK. Just paint like there may not be another tomorrow.
June 10, 2009, 10:31 PM
Me, in 1974, in my studio, to girlfriend: "I am so bored with these paintings. All they are is just symmetrical groups of colored lines.
Girlfriend "Why don't you just push the lines all to one side?"
Me: "What? Huh? hmmm...
Recognizing the obvious is too much for us. We need those other eyes!
The pix are very good, especially the radishes. Supergirl is right; when you get something going run with it until it runs out.
Please keep comments open. I need to vent. I looked at other blogs but they are all too pathetic to bother with.
June 11, 2009, 12:39 AM
I'm shocked, shocked! I say, that comments are back on. Additionally, I'm pleased, and relieved, and a tad grateful too.
I don't savour radishes, normally, but I'll make an exception for this tasty picture. I disagree with MC's quibble about the 'horizon', meaning I think it's fine just where and how it is askance.
re: the nudes - I've been trying to find a more helpful, specific way to say it, but the blunt blurting truth of it is I just don't like your mouths.
June 11, 2009, 12:44 AM
Franklin, I'd like to see what you're calling garbage. There's always a chance of one's not recognizing the worth of one's own mark because one hasn't seen it reflected anywhere. A good painting is possible when a painter happens upon a way outside of him/her self. Vanity is always the issue, the Serpent.
June 11, 2009, 8:20 AM
i agree with these folks, the radishes look ravishing and especially the actual orbs.
another nude is pleasant too.
June 11, 2009, 9:29 AM
Although the 7 day deadline has expired for the "Work" entry, I have to comment that your statement "Ideas have enormous value to art, but they have zero value as art" is the most to-the-point observation I have ever read about ideas and art. Kudos.
June 11, 2009, 9:36 AM
Jim is right. Don't judge your own work. Or better, go ahead and judge it and take pleasure in frequent changes of mind.
Very seldom do you get a clean take on your own pictures. It takes me months to even be free of recognizing and revisiting the various emotional ups and downs I had with a painting while painting it. Once in a while, if you are lucky, circumstances let you see a painting before you recognize it as yours. For an instant you may have a "pure" take, and if it is a good one it is very affirming indeed.
June 11, 2009, 9:38 AM
John is also right. I noticed that succinct and absolutely accurate sentence too. You should send it to Robert Genn's art quote page.
June 11, 2009, 1:11 PM
"Ideas have enormous value to art, but they have zero value as art"
True, certainly, but good luck trying to convince those who can only come up with ideas and still insist on being (or posing as) artists.
June 11, 2009, 1:19 PM
And there is a problem with the background to the radishes. It's not so much the design, but rather the coloring.
June 12, 2009, 8:21 AM
I'd be happy to have any of them hanging on my wall.
June 12, 2009, 9:01 AM
Opie: "Very seldom do you get a clean take on your own pictures."
That is pretty much exactly my experience. I have to have moved away from the state I was in while making a painting before I can see it for what it actually is. It takes anywhere from months to years. Then, for a brief time, I can see it the same way others see it, as though it was not me who made it. This is, I think, because self consciousness/self-preservation has to be suspended in order for me to make a painting. Then, when I leave the painting, I have to shift back into self-consciousness to keep from being run over by a bus. But if I stay inside of self-consciousness while painting, I'll rather quickly paint myself right out of the painting, because self-consciousness is all about appearances and not essences. I'm interested in what the one behind the green curtain has to say. I have to coax that individual out, part of the process of making a painting.
June 12, 2009, 4:54 PM
Nevertheless, if my eyes tell me it's rotten, I'm probably not going to entertain outside advice on the matter. The painting has to be no worse than, say, largely bad.
June 12, 2009, 5:39 PM
Franklin, I don't think the idea is for you to take the advice of others. It's more like, if you're going to keep your own counsel, then that counsel should come from a perspective that I don't see how a painter could have with work he is or just was involved in.
June 12, 2009, 6:18 PM
You should entertain outside advice if you trust the eye of the advisor, at least to the extent of reserving judgement.
June 12, 2009, 8:21 PM
although i already liked it, the more i look at "another nude", it is a very solid good pic.
June 12, 2009, 8:48 PM
still, i think your best pic over the last few years is your 2007 "june: self portrait". it really stands out above the rest for me.
i also recall some of the comic pieces fondly, the one with the diamond landscape motif sticks in my mind. and some other watercolors.
June 16, 2009, 4:09 PM
I like radishes a lot and their variety of colour, creating a nice rhythm, and I also like the diagonal (say, is that plain-old Payne's Grey just hangin' out on its own without mixing with other colours? I like it!).
Extra tasty elements: the wispy roots.
Thanks for sharing.
June 16, 2009, 4:10 PM
That should've been "I like *the* radishes..."
June 10, 2009, 1:08 PM
Glad to have comments back.
I like these a lot, especially the leaves on the plant - the "feel" real.
And good work listening to Supergirl - my wife is consistently smarter and more clear-headed about my work than I am - it's lovely but infuriating.