Tag Archives: dilapidated

The forgotten America

P1040082 Once, under my roof

These are from the new series I am currently working on: abandoned – neglected – forgotten, yet beautiful! America has a lot of them. Old School houses, depots, Victorians beyond repair, and so on. For a European like me, it is quite fascinating and also a bit alarming to see these! When I grew up I learned about the gold rush in the American west with ‘boom towns’ and ‘ghost towns’. I think ghost towns are interesting places, especially from an artist’s perspective. You can’t help but wonder what happened to the people that once lived there. Why did they leave? What were their hopes, their dreams?

It may be a bit of a sad subject, but of late, I find myself looking for more than just a beautiful setting to paint. I’d like to dig a bit deeper. Maybe move my art forward, I don’t know…we’ll see where it will take me.

The importance of looking beyond technique

Once under my roof, children were educated

“Once under my roof, children were educated”

The last blog post and the number of hits on this blog really made me think. One one hand, I wasn’t surprised that progress pictures of a painting would attract all kinds of fellow painters, if only out of curiosity. I guess it’s only natural that we want to know, how does this guy do it and maybe even learn a thing or two.

In my workshops and classes however, I notice a certain obsession with technique, color mixing and to a lesser degree, art materials.
Sometimes it seems to me that that’s all people ever think about when it comes to painting! As if technique and color is all we need to create art! The fact is, that is only the beginning. It is one of the very first things. Comes right with understanding of perspective and drawing skills. Sure, we need to know how to paint that certain something, how to paint the light etc. But does that ensure a great painting once we know all the ‘how’? I don’t think so.

Technique and color mixing is a bit like being a novice carpenter with all the Snap-on and Milwaukee tools on hand. This man or woman can make straight cuts with the saw and does perfect 45 degree angle cuts on the molding. Is that enough to create an amazing piece of furniture from scratch? Of course not. It is only the first step! It takes a lot more to build that custom chair, that beautifully shaped cabinet. It takes something you can’t really put your finger on. Something that can’t be copied, acquired from books or dvd’s. It is the magic that comes when you put your heart into it and thousands of hours of your time! That is the most important thing, not technique.

Being preoccupied with technical painting issues clutters our minds. You never really get to
paint. It’s just a picture once it’s done. It’s techy! Sure great, impressive drybrush work, nice runs and wet on wet washes…but that’s it. Otherwise lifeless, no mystery, nothing that draws us in! There’s a lot of artwork like that out there.

Paint with your heart. I finish by leaving one of my favorite quotes by a guy named Fritz Perls
‘Only when we loose our minds can we come to our senses’  For painting, nothing rings more true than that!