There’s some grumbling out there, it’s about artists who paint realism. I paint realism, mostly. I hear the criticism… “it’s just copying”, and “there’s no creativity in it”,.. “why don’t you just take a photograph”.
But art is more than just how it looks to the casual observer. Whether abstract, impressionistic or realism. There are many choices to make before even starting a painting. Subject matter, concept, composition, colour, mood, intention… and more.
All these things are essential in a good painting, no matter how one approaches it, or expresses it. A painting, or any piece of art can be bad art if these elements aren’t considered well. They can also be bad if the skill is missing—it’s not one or the other and it applies across the board. Being ‘artsy’ is different from being an artist… and snobbery has infiltrated the world of art. Promoted by art sellers and art schools, they try to dictate what is ‘real art’… mostly to enrich themselves. Preference is a different thing altogether, and is very personal. This post is not about that.
Good art is, IMHO, a combination of vision AND skill. The method of expression varies from artist to artist and I refuse to think that just because someone has a different way of expression, that MY way is better than another’s. Realism is just as valid as abstraction, or impressionism, or cubism.. or whatever form that artist has chosen to develop.. they all take vision and skill and this snotty, unfounded criticism does all artists an injustice.
Soooo.. I showed my art at the Joseph Brant Day Festival in Burlington last Monday. I set up my canopy, it was a crazy hot day. The staff of the Museums of Burlington were incredibly organized, helpful and all around really nice. I was impressed.
Other than the heat the day was going very well. It was a short show.. only from 11am to 4pm. About 2pm the thunderheads moved in. It looked very threatening. The event staff came by and told us to go ahead and pack up as inclement weather was coming in (at a show you agree not to leave before the end)…. we heard thunder.. and the lightning crackled. We had JUST taken down my work (all framed, with glass!) from the canopy and packed it when a powerful gust began and grabbed the canopy and almost blew it across the venue. We managed to grab it, and with the help of a Fireman from the venue that had been there managed to keep it from blowing away as we frantically untied the canvas walls and roof and secured it. Then it began to pour rain…
The staff came out and assisted the vendors in getting their (and our) materials and displays packed up and in our vehicles. At least 5 other vendors steel canopy frames were damaged beyond repair. The event staff were amazing. I have nothing but the utmost praise and respect for how they dealt with this unexpected and sudden issue.. as well as their handling of the entire show.
The Museums of Burlington are a class act.. and I am grateful they worked so hard to help all of us save our work, our displays and kept everyone safe.
Today, I’m featuring an article from one of my favourite Youtube watercolour tutorial artists, Steve Mitchell. He is easy to listen to and he has great advice from a lifetime of being a pro artist.
Art Critiques and Getting the Most from Input
“We all want to improve as artists don’t we? Growing as an artist is the key to more enjoyment and satisfaction as we tread this adventurous but sometimes frustrating path. Practice is a given, but what happens when we get stuck and don’t know how to improve. The brave artist seeks appropriate, constructive input and critique. Its a tougher challenge, though, than we sometimes realize. Asking someone to tell us what is wrong with our art, which is so often a personal expression of ourselves, is also risky, baring our soul to the cold frigid winds of potential rejection. So if its done, it ought to be done right. There is good input and bad input. How do you tell the difference? Here are some pointers from my experience…”