Thursday, November 17, 2011

Q is for Questions

In the style of Richard Diebenkorn
Is this good? What is wrong with this? How can I do this? Why doesn't this look right? Who can help me? Why is this so hard?

Artistic confidence is not always my strong suit. Sometimes, no matter what I do, the image I am working on fails to satisfy my toughest audience ... me.

Maybe the only thing I do not question on my creative quest is my own  sense of what is beautiful to me. In my eyes, either it works or it doesn't. I trust my sense of esthetics, just not my ability to create it.

Sometimes, as I am working along I suddenly know - this is good. More often, far more often, I know I am off - but I am not sure why.

One of my teachers suggests that a good way to learn technique is to copy the work of masters. I have learned a great deal about working with pastels in this way - and the results are often pleasing, and always worth the effort.

Today, in preparation for my Saturday Dynamic Abstract Painting class, I decided to explore the work of the artist we are going to study - Richard Diebenkorn. As I scrolled through images of his work, I found this simple semi-abstract seascape. I decided to copy this and see what the artist was doing  - how did he use such simple forms, and yet tell a clear story of time and place? How did his colors impact the affect?

Though the original is painted, I knew that pastels would work well for me. I started by drawing the shapes - and began to color. Something was off - the questions started up - why doesn't this work? What is wrong? Stepping back and staring at the work for awhile, an answer appeared - I had drawn the trees too large and they completely threw off the perspective and depth. Once I redrew them, the proportions fit. Then, of course I had a few more questions - how can I create the depth in the clouds? Are the colors right? Is it raining too hard to take this outside to spray?  After awhile - it all worked out - at least for now.

It is good to know that sometimes, if I ask the right questions, the answer will come. So. my questions to you - and I would be grateful for answers posted below ... What questions do you ask yourself as you work? Where do you find answers? Who do you trust to help you? What is the hardest part of creating art? I look forward to learning more about you.

By the way, this is 18"x24" on Canson Mi Tiente paper. It felt so good to have my hands back in the messy pastels for a change.