It is a widely accepted notion among painters that it does not matter what one paints as long as it is well-painted. ...There is no such thing as good painting about nothing.” —Mark RothkoIs
Rothko right, or does it really matter if our work is “about” something or nothing? Does it matter if there is a rationale or story behind our artistic choices? I think so.But why does it matter? Why not be content to do technically superb work and not worry about the “why?” In order to sustain our work and to become even better artists, I believe we need to think about our process and how each choice we make tells the story we want to tell. By finding that story, new options present themselves and the work becomes more profound.
Further, when we don’t find our story, we can have problems sustaining our interest in a piece. I have a portrait I’ve been procrastinating for some time and I think the reason is that I am not in love with it. It doesn’t fascinate me. It is just a drag to work on and avoiding it keeps me away from my easel for days/weeks on end. I seem to be able to rationalize almost anything to avoid it. The piece tells no story for me and sometimes that can be paralyzing.Your strongest work will always be ofthe subjects that fascinate you and tell a story, whatever that story is. (It could be purely abstract).
Are you fascinated by your subject? What do you do to keep your interest up? What is your work about?This Summer, I challenge you to pay attention towhat fascinates you and what draws you to a subject, to the story. Pay attention to what keeps you at your easel and maybe even think about what keeps you away. By doing so, you will move your work to the next level (Leveling Up!)
Yours in creativity,
The Louisville Art Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the visual arts in our community and state wide.