Last week I was talking about a space feeling “right.” This week is about a painting feeling “right.”
I mentioned last week that when I walked into a room I liked being able to feel comfortable and have the space around me feel that ever-elusive feeling of “right.” The same thing happens regarding a painting. I find I can design a thing to death, and yet still something can feel “off.” Is it an innate sense of balance or harmony talking to me and I am not listening?
Ugh. Those nice, floaty, undefined terms applied to art. BALANCE. HARMONY. Where can I purchase some of that? Can I get it through Amazon Prime?
But I know you know what I mean. I am sure you have felt it too. And I can give examples of paintings that everyone agrees is visually “harmonic” but how to get it? Implement it?
Sometimes it is a gut reaction. I had an oil painting I was working on recently and I knew I wanted a sense of light glowing on the figure. But it just felt wrong to try and “render” it and paint it “perfectly.” So, after ignoring the painting for a few days, the next time I saw the painting my gut told me to grab a rag, dip it in the color of the light and rub it – fast and furious- all over the front of the figure. It worked. Better than I ever thought it would have if I had thought about it too much. (sorry, it’s a tease, but I can’t show you the work- still not finished yet)
Vincent van Gogh wrote the following to his brother in a letter …
“If one wants to be active, one mustn’t be afraid to do something wrong sometimes, not afraid to lapse into some mistakes. To be good – many people think that they’ll achieve it by doing no harm – and that’s a lie. That leads to stagnation, to mediocrity. Just slap something on it when you see a blank canvas staring at you with a sort of imbecility.”
Imbecility. Yes, that fits. When you turn off your brain and just go with your gut reaction a beautiful “grace” can sometimes be tapped into. Maybe we instinctually know on a subconscious level what needs to be done to an image to make the image feel complete or graceful- if we can only get out of our own way.
Or maybe we just get lucky. I don’t know. But the desire for harmony is there. The reaction is real and feels fantastic when something “clicks.” Turn down the brain and turn on the heart.
Or, my humble advice is to take a shot of whiskey before starting to paint.
I LOVE your blog!
thanks!!! I appreciate it!
Oh I love your humble advice!
hehe… take two shots of whiskey then….its twice as good!
Early on, after learning a lot of technical skills, I realized they were just the vocabulary to express the creative torch and idea burning inside. Those skills are what words are to a writer, what musical notes are to a musician. It’s merely the furniture. How you arrange them are where the art comes from–the form that they take. “Boy meets girl and their parents don’t approve.” There. That’s “Romeo and Juliet.” But look what the writer did with the FORM that ancient story took. Every great novel is in the dictionary. One of Dan Greene’s assistants told me they went to a group gallery show in CA one time. Said there was all this strong work on the walls. Dan walked past all of it and studied a nice little drawing in the corner. Dan’s assistant asked him, “What about all these paintings? They’re very good.” Dan said, “Oh, that’s all just technical competence. Thee is more art in this fine drawing over here.” Some things can’t be measured with math. I can’t measure my love for my parents with math. Some things are measured by feeling. I agree. But, sometimes, depending on the degree of mess, one needs to clear out the space to get to that inner measurement. Good blog.
thanks Vince! once again you add a nice footnote to my quirky chats…..
Awww. Christine!!! You continue to bestow upon me the gift of a smile, a chuckle, an “ah ha,” a few tears, or a confirmation of what I feel and think is ok right now- as I read your weekly emails.
Thank you for being one of my “simple delights” as we continue to navigate through the muck and the light of this time!!!
aw shucks! love you too! 😁😁
Or L’s special chocolate
Grace!!! I’ve been called that before!
Thank you. Enjoyed!
Thanks for your blog, nice to read. Do not stop.