Not working on a painting today but for the next few days getting reacquainted with my watercolor supplies. In the picture above you can see what my watercolor tins look like. Many of you are familiar with my work and understand that I like big bold color. Choosing the cupcake tin for my watercolor paints wasn’t my idea but when I saw other artists doing it I knew it was for me. I had been trying to come up with a palette that would hold at least one large tube of paint. The cupcake tins actually hold two if I fill them to the top.
Lately, I’ve been busy but when I find the time to paint I’ve been oil painting. I’d like to start my daily painting regime again with watercolor so I’ll start by giving you a re capp of my supplies and my process. Check back and I’ll post this information as the weeks go by.
Since I’ve been painting for a number of years I have a pretty large inventory of paintings and of course many are of my favorite subject…KOI. Its interesting when often I’m asked about my Koi paintings. It seems some people think I should always paint them while and equal number of folks thinks it would be boring to paint the same thing over and over. Although no two of my paintings are the same the subject matter usually centers around water and Koi.
This leads me to ask how often should we change our art, style or process? Is it better for artists to cultivate variety or consistency? Galleries tend to encourage artists to keep creating the same thing (that sells) over and over again. While artists, in general, like variety to stay motivated and inspired.
There are two schools of thought here. The first is consistency. Consistency in our work allows us to keep experimenting on one theme and to go deeper. Many artists paint one type of painting and become “known” for their Portraits/figures, or landscapes, and even wildlife. They continue to explore the endless methods and palettes until they approach what they believe is their own style. Usually an Artist will get very good at what they do using this approach.
Variety, however, is an important ingredient in our work, helping to keep our ideas fresh and our approach on the leading edge of the trends and new materials available to us. This is another important aspect of being an artist. If we are so consistent that our work is repetitive, we do not grow as artists and the work will suffer. Yet, when we are so insistent on variety that we will not allow ourselves a chance to see the things from every angle. We don’t allow ourselves the permission to paint the “thing” over and over. Then work may suffer as well. Sometimes it is important to continue in a series until its right for us. By using or incorporating and throwing out ideas without fear of poor paintings then we may find what we are looking for. Rather than bouncing around from style to style and never allowing ourselves to take a concept deeper. we may find it difficult to “find” our style. If this sounds like you, allow yourself the PERMISSION to work thru a subject if only to explore the thing until you have tried everything and thrown out what doesn’t work for you and hopefully you’ll find a more personal or meaningful way to express yourself.
Of course “balance”, may be the key here and the key to successful personal balancing is paying attention to how we feel. As our needs change, our feelings will let us know. Sometimes we may need to allow variety and experimentation to take us out of a rut, and re-energize our work. At other times we may hit on something that really gets us excited. These are the times to stretch 10-15 canvases ( or paper) all at once and create a series to see how far we can take that one idea. We can be anything we decide or so they say, we can also paint anything… anyway, this is your choice, we have the ability and the freedom to either be consistent or ever changing.
Here is an interesting take on our ability for variety, taken from a quote from Robert Anton Wilson in his book “Prometheus Rising” (New Falcon Publications, 1983, p.125). Just prior to this, Wilson describes the human survival instincts that involve both consistency and variety;
“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, design a building, conn a ship, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve an equation, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”
so with that said….Buzz off…