Explanation of Works
Why it's Important to be Unsettled
As a completely self taught artist (no school studio classes), I have had the freedom to choose my own direction and working styles. Is this the best way to do things? – probably not. I've had to learn things on my own that could have been easily taught by an instructor. But all an art school really does is give you technical skills – it cannot give you ideas or create an imagination. It cannot even make you into an "artist", because that has to come from inside yourself.
So to get back to the point, because I have practiced various styles of painting: realism and abstraction and impasto and glazing; the most important works for me have been my Transition pieces. The Transition between styles in other words.
These are the jumping off the cliff pieces where I move into a new focus – from a brush to a palette knife for instance. I try to save these works because they carry a lot of symbolic meaning for me – moving away from the past to an uncertain future.
Art and life are about creatively solving problems, so don't be afraid to try something new and build your confidence – that's what I'm doing. You will always have the moral victory for at least trying. I know there are a lot of "quotes" and sayings and affirmations to go along with the concept of Growth; but I can't remember any right now. I think Mark Twain once said: "Get your ass out my stern hole". Twain had a way with words ...
Within this portfolio is a blending of my older works, i.e. drawings along with my current pieces. For the past 5 or 6 years I have completed portraits focused on those individuals who have embodied the Chicago Spirit. These series of paintings and subsequent exhibitions were a great exercise which forced me to refine my technique. And I really enjoyed doing it. There is nothing like a deadline to make you finish a painting.
But rather then turning into an oldies act, so to speak, of always doing realistic images of Chicago personalities; I again made the decision to go in a different direction – to Transition. This "direction" is not fully refined, but it will involve portraiture and it will be a combination of styles until I find something I like. These New Paintings are exercises which allow me the freedom to actually paint something without worrying if the eye color is correct or if the expression is too sour or melodramatic. Likewise, I am able to develop a new palette of colors which will be used on these works.
I cannot fail you see, because the Goal is to Transition and take a risk. The Goal is not the sale of paintings or some type of social recognition for being an "artist". Your Goal in painting and in life is to become better (however you define that term) – a better parent, a better teacher, a better listener, a better background painter.
An artist's goal is to be creative – so how can you Create if you apply the same formula to everything you do. What made Miles Davis great was that his music was always in flux. Rather than trying to sell albums and please an audience; he was Creative and tried new things. You have to have confidence and foresee yourself being successful.
You have to step off the cliff and you will either fly or fall and break your ass, Mark Twain said that too. Mark Twain knew something about jumping off the cliff. Who would want to read about an urchin sailing on a raft? Twain took the chance that people would Care ... and he MADE them care.
I wanted to give this explanation as a way of showing that what at first may seem unfocused or haphazard is actually the most important part of the process. From the chaos – you hope – comes the great idea. You can't be afraid to jump into the chaos – No Guts No Glory. And remember, it's only a painting. Coming from someone who has seen Life and Death - Art is not life and death. So try and get some enjoyment out of it and challenge yourself to improve – that is really the main idea.