Thursday, January 28, 2010

Self Expression Vs. Art

Who decides what is art? When does self-expression turn into art?

These are questions prompted by my Intuitive Painting class I teach regularly at the Arlington Center for the Arts. The class is designed to help students find their own unique content through a variety of directed exercises.

Does the individual alone decide to call something art? Does it depend solely on the maker's intent - i.e. if I say it is art, then it is art? Do we need an outside critic to declare something art? Does self expression become Art with a capital A when the maker distances his or her self, and edits the work? I believe the latter is true, but it really doesn't matter in the long run.

Sometimes the best thing to do is stop thinking about it and just do it.

What do you think?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Next exhibiting at Lynn Arts



Just found out I was juried into a show in Lynn, MA called VOICES: Mothers Who Create at the Little Gallery under the Stairs. I entered the show because of the way in which my work is derived from my son's doodles. It seemed like a natural fit, yes?

Here are the pieces.

Money can't buy you love

I subscribe to artist Robert Genn's newsletter, and today he included an interesting quote that hits home with me, as I work in a non-profit arts center and also am an artist, not starving by any means, but not making a living from my art work.

Back in the day, artists who thought of making a living from their work were considered not as serious as poverty stricken poets in their paint spattered lofts.

But here's food for thought:

"Money can extinguish intrinsic motivation, diminish performance, crush creativity, encourage unethical behavior, foster short-term thinking, and become addictive." (Daniel H. Pink)

Dan Pink's excellent new book, Drive, has some valuable observations about motivation and creativity. It seems money is the lesser of motivators in comparison to feelings of autonomy, a sense of mastery, and the performance of meaningful work. In one psychologist's study, for example, people offered a financial incentive for a job well done actually did poorly compared to those where no money was involved. The lure of reward narrowed focus and clouded thinking. More money--less creativity.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Gotta have yellow


This is a new piece, just started and not really completed. I decided to use some of the same yellow paint I had used in my bathroom installation. I have painted 6 sheets of 30 x 20 inch paper with this wonderfully sunny color as a beginning. I like the idea of keeping the composition pretty simple, allowing the glyphs to be singular and very present.

This black image -- it seems like a stand in for a person. Not sure yet...

Anyone living in New England knows what I mean about "gotta have yellow"...

Friday, January 1, 2010

Painting Research

I paint with acrylics because they are so versatile. They are easy to clean up with soap and water and can be thinned with water to resemble watercolors, or they can be thickened to look like oils - and SO much more.

In general, I would advise staying away from "how to" art books, but I highly recommend Rethinking Acrylics by Patti Brady.