Saturday, October 28, 2006

Painting

Y’know, even though this blog is titled “Ramblings from a Painter”, I haven’t written much about painting. Over the past few days, I’ve had some interesting conversations about painting with different people. Might be time to share the substance of them here.

A couple of years ago, I was asked, "What do you really want to do?" At the time, I had gotten very concerned with selling my paintings, and was painting pictures with only sales in mind. I wasn't at all happy with myself or the work, and they didn't sell worth a hoot anyway. Then, out of nowhere, came that question. It brought me up short and I thought about it for a long time. I finally realized that I had to tackle the issues most important in my life. All this occurred right after the 2004 elections. I decided to plumb my own feelings about the state of the country, and it led me to much stronger paintings. This year I've added a series on another subject that has affected me personally: war. And lately I'm beginning to see these two series start to merge.

These works (particularly the satirical ones) are often overt and didactic. I felt they had to be. Nothing like a sledgehammer between the eyeballs to get somebody's attention! They've proven to be attention-grabbers wherever they've been shown. But there are a lot of subtle details in them. I want people to get my idea immediately, but also be able to discover new things in them no matter how many times they look.

While sales would be nice, my goal for now is just to get them seen. That's proving to be difficult, since even most non-profits have an eye towards either sales or continued support from their major donors. I approached the local Democratic Party office to see if they'd be interested in using them in campaigns or fundraisers, but when I had to explain that the paintings were satire, I kinda lost all hope! But I'm keeping on with this theme. Don't know where it'll lead, but this is the kind of art I need to make.

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