Monday, December 11, 2017

Paint the Town Kingston 2017 - The Judge's Comments

"Another fine example of the sure hand and bold composition we've come to expect from the artist. Instantly recognizable stylistic approach – simplified, yet with sufficient detail to convey character. (I just checked, and found I'd said pretty much the same things last year!)

Because your “style” is so destinctive and predictable (not intended as a negative comment), I feel I have to suggest you ask yourself: Does your style serve the subject, or does the subject serve your style? Which do you consider more important? I guess the second question would be, does it matter?

As an example, Van Gogh's paintings are usually easily recognizable, yet his “style” tends to vary – perhaps in sympathy with his subject matter. Just a thought."

I was and am honoured to have anyone appreciate my art. Bruce, an Instructor at the Kingston School of the Art really thought about his comments... and they in turn, made me think as well. Thinking is always good. I seldom rework my plein air records in the studio when I get home. The effort seldom improves on the honest inspiration of the moment.

Here are my thoughts sparked by Bruce's observations...

My style as determined how the pigments "look" on the support does indeed vary. An early critic in the 1980's thought that my art varied too much. She didn't quite know who I was as an artist... maybe I was still finding myself as well. The classical education from Mario Airomi lent itself to photographic realism. The time and effort was not wasted as it was a great way to learn from the renaissance masters.

Certainly my style is influenced by the range of supports that I employ. I work on everything from coarse canvas to ultra-smooth panels. The age of the brushes and the oils also have a part to play within the brush strokes.

The subject matter is the vital element and I am very sensitive to the requirements and individuality of the motivation to record the particular star of the scene. My brushwork can be delicate and precise but can sometimes be jabs and slashes of raw colour. Of course the weather and the elements also play a major role – especially when I am out en plein air as I prefer to be.

Perfection can be over-rated. Sometimes the accidental strokes can subconsciously surface to reveal the soul of the subject. I try to preserve those imperfect but eloquent blobs of pigment. A thousand strokes striving for perfection can slay the soul of the painting.

To sum it up each painting and subject are individuals. My respect for them is always high which is why I decide to devote considerable effort in recording them anyway. My bold approach to colours and brushstrokes should be the recurring theme through my work. The influences above do influence this boldness but the distinctive passion for painting must always shine through.

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