Wednesday, February 29, 2012

First You Do the Sky

Oil on board, 6" x 6"
$125 plus $6 shipping in U.S.
Click image to enlarge

Couldn't resist poking a little fun at the "rules" of painting with this title.

Part of the intimidation factor for many aspiring artists is the perception that there are a ton of precepts they have to follow in order to make a successful painting. Don't misunderstand, I recognize the beginner's need for fundamental grounding. There's much to learn--things like the use of tools and materials, elements of effective design, properties of color and value--to name a few. And the more one learns, it becomes clear how much is yet to be comprehended--enough for a lifetime of growth and development.

The rules didn't come from nowhere--they represent centuries of accumulated art-making wisdom. It's just that if you follow them to the letter you are almost certain to end up with a boring, predictable, formulaic painting. I know. I've painted plenty of them. Over time, good ideas tend to harden into dogma. There's an element of truth in the old saying that one learns the rules to break them intelligently.

When trying to look objectively at my own work, it seems like the most interesting pieces push a bit on some kind of boundary. If they don't break a rule or two, they at least bend them pretty good.


Anonymous said...

that's what makes your work have its own unique touch Don! i have always questioned formulaic painting perhaps because I don't like anything to limit me when I paint and also i have such a bad memory and can't really remember what i did from one brush stroke to the next ;)
Another great painting but this time with the energy of the artist's painting hand painted into it... it is almost surreal ;)

Susan Roux said...

This painting cracks me up! Love the originality of it. Breaking rules? isn't that the creative part of it?

Don Gray said...

Hi Rahina--thanks for your thoughtful comment. I know what you mean about not remembering what you did. I always have a hard time telling someone the steps I took in a work. I think it's the result of working pretty intuitively.

Don Gray said...

It's the fun part of it, at least, Susan! Thanks a lot.

Patricia Cochran said...

I love these little paintings Don. This one made me smile when I noticed the signature Gray was painted in Blue. :)

Don Gray said...

Thanks a lot, Patricia.