Wednesday, May 18, 2011


20x20x1.5", oil, gauze, and sand on gallery-wrapped canvas

I pulled together a handful of ingredients for this painting. A friend gave me some gauze, which I used earlier in Reticulate. I also mixed some paint with cold wax and marble powder for some thickness and used it to embed the gauze and the some sand. Sand is tough. It comes off and sticks to your brushes and oil crayons, and falls on the floor. If I try it again, I'll use it later in the process.

This one was a bit of a battle. It sat on my easel for days and days and I played with it off and on. I finally had the time to dive in and I worked it. But, yeah, some paintings paint themselves, and some paintings are fighters.

Switching gears here, I'm playing with the idea of how one develops as an artist. Do you direct your own learning or just do what appeals to you? I'm guess I try to do both. First, I must do what I want in order for it to have passion. But I can also tell when I lack a certain skill and need to direct my learning that way. Classes help.

And I've found that taking classes is opening me up in ways I hadn't anticipated. I guess if I'd anticipated them, I wouldn't have needed to take the classes.


  1. I do find classes give me new ideas and ways to do things that I had not thought of, but I also noticed that they somewhat confuse me in that I then have all this “stuff” in my head and can’t narrow down one style I want to stick with (at least through a few series of paintings). I think I will quit taking classes for awhile!

    You said “Do you direct your own learning or just do what appeals to you?” I suppose a real artist would indeed do both! As it is said, no artist ever painted anything that doesn’t exist, so really aren’t we learning all the time just from observation. Add some learned knowledge of art techniques on top of that and you now have an arsenal to direct your own appealing creations onto a substrate using your imaginative ideas and unique philosophies. No one else has to like your work (I like yours by the way) nor do you ever have to make a sale to be a really great abstract artist.

  2. Hi Mark. Thanks for dropping by. I looked at Modern Art Talk and enjoyed it. I'll have to spend some more time there. I read the article about whether an artist needs an MFA.

    I guess that what I see is that artists who round out their education -- who learn techniques, expose themselves to other artists, learn some history -- seem to do more polished, more creative work. There's something about seeing a broad range of work that also makes your perspective broader. But, no, you don't have to have an MFA to do this. It can help, though.

    And thanks for the kind words.