Thoughts on Painting

Oil painting to me is the perfect medium for what I am explaining in my art.  The quality, or texture of paint and surface, color, light, shadow, and edges are all attributes which can be controlled to a certain extent within the pictorial plane.

Painting is a life long learning process.  There is the “science” of painting, which deals with all things technical, and how the technical, or visual aspects of a 2 dimensional space relates to the 3 dimensions.  And there is the artistic side, which is not completely definable in my opinion, but here is a crack at it.  This deals with how the artist applies the “science” side to the actual work.   How’s that?  (Purposely short, vague, and open so to allow me room not to completely contradict myself!).

Speaking of contradictions.  As teaching a workshop and an on-going class has taught me, I find myself sometime saying things that could be understood as contradictions.  For example, “rules”, or “principles” in painting apply in most cases – but there are exceptions. We may say for example that in traditional painting a dark, or shadowed silhouette of an object against a well lit background will have a sharper edge than light area or object against the same well lit background.

This relates to the science of painting – and can be understood as a generally accepted principle.  BUT, but this is art and the final determination is ultimately up to the artists.  It may come to pass that the way something like this is painted adheres to the principle almost all the time, but once in a while the work could demand a different treatment.  So in my classes I am fond of stating when something is a principle, but always try to remember to add that nothing is “written in stone”..


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