Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Imagine and Paint

The dog days of summer are starting to get to me. It's hard to know where these experiments are coming from, but here's another one. It's 8" x 8" on artist's board.

I read once or twice that not having a defined style can be the mark of an immature artist. Then again, I read a few more times that an artist with several approaches is one that merely has a diversity of styles. You can probably guess where these two perspectives come from...and from where they don't.

Naturally, I like the second observation. This painting is a landscape straight from the tips of my fingers, using up paint from the tube, wondering what would happen if I didn't have a plan--kind of a challenge from an artist who usually likes to have one.


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Melinda,

I love this a lot. I've noticed that many of our blog friends are getting more way out by the day. So fun.

I waiver back and forth, and I feel if we need them we've got lots of historical precedents for moving between styles -- Mary Cassatt and Diebenkorn to name two. I could add to the list. I think the most tedious thing about making art, and
probably the most oppressive and time wasting is trying to justify why we do what we do. Sometimes the best of what we do is like all creativity, like the core creativity, like the act that brought us here, not all conscious, but highly enjoyable -- we hope.


Karen said...

Just what I needed to read...sometimes I find that if I don't have an abstract concept, or a formal concern, or some involvement in the literal application process of the paint...I get bored and start trudging through the work. A bad thing for something as beautiful as painting.
I'm going to do this!

Melinda said...

It does seem that there are a lot of experiments going on lately. That IS a good thing!

I really love what you wrote, Barbara, about justifying what we do and how wasteful and unnecessary it is--a balm for my soul right now. Thank you!

Melinda said...

I'm so glad this resonated with you, Karen. You're doing such exceptional work. Your paintings are wonderful and I've been enjoying your variations.

Yes! Be free. Be confident. Throw out the rules once in awhile. ;-)

Edgar said...

"Throw out the rules?" YES! That's what I need to do.

If I credit you in the footnotes, can I use that in my forthcoming, updated and fully revised edition of the "Art Rule Book"?

I could probably make a whole chapter-full of rules from it. :->

But seriously, it's amazing how a little blurring of the strokes suddenly makes motion, and reflected light and fluidity in a simple canvas. Thanks for making us smile with your good work Melinda!

You've got a great talent, to make land and space out of a blank canvas, putting tubes straight to it. Talent, and courage. It might have been sheer curiosity on your part, but it looks like it takes fearlessness from out here.

Melinda said...

Thanks, Edgar. It doesn't really feel like fearlessness at this point. It is unremitting curiosity. That's all. Remember, no one dies if a painting doesn't turn out. And, my momentary art angst ends and it's time to begin again. See?

kathrynlaw said...

Well, you know where I stand in terms of constancy of style vs. change and exploration... I think of art as a journey of personal growth and exploration, and as with physical growth and development, variety is crucial. We wouldn't try to get into good physical shape by only doing sit-ups, right?

The people who promote consistency are usually the ones concerned with finding a "niche" and selling successfully. They have a point, because clients and galleries want that. But it's not conducive to the artist's growth and development, and sooner or later, it stagnates. I think the whole point of a blog is to chronicle our growth and exploration. It's not a professional website or portfolio, so why not!

And, one of my favorite quotes from my favorite art book: If for any given time only a certain sort of work resonates with your life, then that is the work you need to be doing in that moment. If you try to do some other work, you will miss your moment.
--Art & Fear

BTW, I *love* the colors in this. The way those greens are subtly reflected in the foreground, yummy!

Janelle Goodwin said...

Yes, you've inspired me to experiment too, Melinda. Your "experiment" is very appealing in color and composition. I guess that attitude could open all kinds of new doors!

Melinda said...

Wise words, Kathryn. Sometimes the gallery owners are so invested in maintaining status quo that it locks the artist into painting in one genre. Sometimes artists do it to themselves.

I'm with you. Art & Fear--excellent book.

Melinda said...

Hi Janelle,
Yes, please do experiment as much as you feel comfortable with. It is liberating and safe!

Thank you for stopping by!

Linny D. Vine said...

I see reflection in your landscape, Melinda. Experimentation is good.Does experimenting feel like play to you? Or? My styles can change to reflect what I'm feeling and I like to say that "there are no rules!"

Melinda said...

Hi Linny,
Yes, experimentation feels like play--on good days and like a train wreck on bad days. :) Yet, I am seeing real value in the process no matter the outcome.

I like that you also say "There are no rules" and hope that your experiments are always done on good days!

Anonymous said...

So much in this post! Both the artwork and the writing about consistency of style vs experimenting and going in different directions. I've given up worrying about trying to maintain a similar style or approach or subject. I was told once a long time ago that my work all looks like it was done by different people. But I paint to please myself, to explore and go on adventures. Why would I want to hamper that by saying it must be like the previous one?

What I loved about this painting is the world I saw in it because it was just abstract enough for my mind to make up stories to try to understand it (and also because I'd just been admiring your painting "Learning How to Be A Dog"). The story that I made of it is probably to complicated to explain but tell me if you want to know.

Melinda said...

Thank you, Jana! I can see that leaving something to the imagination is a good thing. I like that you imagine your own story and that you are giving yourself the freedom to paint as YOU would like.

susan hong-sammons said...

Hi Melinda, This painting is so wonderfully full of life and passion,it really sings. I think your on the right track and hope to see many more with the same approach

Melinda said...

Thank you, Susan. I've been a bit under the weather lately and hope to get back that "life and passion" you wrote about...soon, I hope. :)

Jala Pfaff said...

Marvelous color.

Come back! :)