I went through art school. I am not sure that I was taught very much. I was left to discover for myself my style and path. Going through uni is not necessarily a ticket to success. Did you know that in 1862 Cezanne sat the entrance test for the Echole des Beaux-Arts and failed. This meant that his dreams of success and the prospect of finding a patron were shattered. How did you make your way through the art maze? .
A year of planning and painting and I end up with paintings on the floor like a game of 52 Pickup. Agonising decisions about which ones to include and which to leave behind. Like children they call "Pick me! Pick me!" Some sort of order reigns now, with like sized piles mounted near the door ready for the long drive towards Melbourne tomorrow. Excited to be interstate and on fresh walls! .
A patchwork quilt of colours. A good way of checking to see if a painting is balanced is to distribute the blocks of colour. Look for the blue, does it balance out. Observe where the green is. Even the tiny spots of highlights, can I connect three to make a triangle? .
Sometimes it’s helpful to see a landscape as a portrait. Head and shoulders above the rest of the composition.
Never exacting symmetry, but having the form of a mirror. See the land as negative space, now see it as solid rock.
See the light as the form on face, now space.
See the inlet as material, now as fluid .
Symmetry divides but balance binds. Balance in colour - cool with featured warm focus. Balance in direction - mainly across and wide with counterpoints of refection and updraft diagonals. Balance in shape - long and angular against rounded clouds and trees. Balance in mood - broody but light on the horizon - all clear ahead .
Galleries. Prizes. Competitions. Art fairs. People.
Artists face an obstacle course life. Gates and gatekeepers. Passion and funds. Time and lots of uphill. Much uphill pushing and striving. Often thin skin needing thick impervious layers on layers to survive the howling winds of fashion and fickleness. Finding favour. Falling out of. I used to enter a lot of art competitions... nowadays I am very selective.
Judy Cassab – artist, survivor. In the midst of a life marked by tragedy, deprivation, loss…. great loss… Cassab pursued her art. She won two Archibald prizes. When asked what she had learned from her experience she replied: “perhaps a sense of proportion. I know what a disaster is - and it is NOT a bad review for an exhibition”.
The temptation to gild the lily and make a photograph of a painting look ‘better’ than it really is... an airbrushing too far. The viewer wants what it looks like in real life. The opposite holds true too. It is not a fair representation of your work to portray it photographed in poor light or a blurry, skewed cut off image. When you put the makeup on, make sure your work looks as true to form as possible .
Seeing a painting from the side shows depth – the layers of the paint. How thick the surface is. The rising against the grain. It gives perspective. The front on lacks this information that only a sideways glance can give .
The squall is coming.
The light of the day shadowed.
Quickly. Breaking the day in half, the canvas in half. Breaking the land and the rocks. Bringing the sea into itself.
The brush strokes the canvas like the water on the pane .
Curating an exhibition is a question. Theme or not? Cohesion or not? Too many or not enough. My favourites or other tastes? How much is for me, and how much is for them? In the end I hope that it is seen for what it is... what I have to offer, a part of myself. A large part of me out there on the wall .
Richard Claremont - artist. A peek into my studio. How I think. How I paint. How I run my art business. Bite sized daily chunks of goodness. Just me talking aloud, really. Join me for a chat over a cuppa.
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