In an effort to further find my own style, I decided to put myself in class this week. I spent a lot of time watching youtube videos of various portrait artists this week. And I started painting faces without putting them in compositions, on backgrounds, etc. Just practicing different approaches and mastering the media.
I was trained in design, but in most all actual art media outside of fiber and fabric, I am self-taught. This means I’ve learned on my own how to handle the tools and the media involved. I have taken a few watercolor classes. I had drawing in college. But for the first few years in polymer, I worked on my own, with the help of magazines and the few books that were out there. I’d been in polymer for seven years before I took a class (Arrowmont 1997!! yikes). When I got into metal clay, I went off in my own direction almost immediately. I only took one class for certification.
Anyway, in this new mixed media painting endeavor, I’m trying to be patient and remember that it simply takes repetition for the eye and the hand and the mind to develop a sympathy with a different set of tools and materials. The youtube watching helps also to synthesize different techniques and painting styles to eliminate a dependence on one approach which can feel too much like copying.
I think today’s painting shows some of that expansion. The figure is richer and deeper. This one is still fairly flat compared to some of my practice faces. But there’s a need for contrast with the busy background…
I’ve also been thinking about the messages I choose. I’ve dived into the net and found lots of sites for Christian artists. There seems to be some debate about defining and developing Christian themes in artwork without relying on the inclusion of scripture verses or traditional icons… If you know my jewelry at all, you know that I rely on scripture verses as part of my purpose. So, I’m a little offended that that’s considered cheating by some. It’s a debate that I’m continuing to process. I’ll hope to have something to say about it in time…
Have a great weekend.