Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Art history reflections: Barbara

From Last day of class

I have always loved exploring museums in San Francisco and on my travels viewing works of art. I am a member of the San Francisco Museum Society, Hillsborough Auxiliary. We are quite active and never miss a new event always guided by a knowledgeable docent. Still I felt something was missing---I just wasn't "getting it". This class has opened my eyes in so many ways. It is enlightening to know the different periods and exciting to recognize a few correctly. Now I know to ask myself what the artist is trying say, but I'm still not confident enough to decide if he was successful. I am inspired to keep studying and learning and hope I can understand and appreciate the art that I view. Thank you Dick!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Art history reflections: Connie Adams

"Entering Tidal Waters" 15" x 22" transparent watercolor 2009

Dear Dick,

There were some lovely surprises for me in your class. One was that I don't hate Baroque art after all. I enjoy most of Carravagio's and I absolutely love Vermeer! I found out that the Rococo period is one that I am not very fond of - with their allegories and "fussiness" and their "horror de vacuume" (sp). I always mixed these two up! Thank you settling that in my mind once and for all.

I think I know why I paint what I paint. You have dubbed me a romantic and I guess I am interested in the "feelings" of the subject matter or the "feeling" it engenders. However, I am also VERY interested in the way watercolor behaves. So I finally saw some more modern twist to my work that is different than a straight romantic, where the paint is just as important or sometimes more important than the subject matter. Most times in painting I get enamored by the way a certain wash "happened" - those happy accidents. (I hear that word, "happy accidents" so much that now I hate to use it. But are they REALLY accidents?) Anyway the pigment behaves in such a way with a generous amount of water and it does what it does and I control it only slightly. If I still enjoy this mark when it is dry, the painting gets built around it. Other washes and glazes are applied - sometimes with minimum control and they further drive the painting. I am getting farther away from real accuracy in my "illusions", but I know in my heart I am not a non-representational painter. I like to find the abstract patterns in nature - most often botany - but lately it has been water and rocks. I used to be very "true" to these patterns, but now when the paint takes over, I let it. There is still an image remaining. In this way, I am trying to get better at a vocabulary of edges in watercolor sometimes at the expense of a recognizable image.

In this way I lose the "wow" factor of the romantic or realism painting and I have a little of the "puzzlement" of the modern and post-modern era. The question might be asked of my paintings - "what is it?" And the answer might well be "paint" However, often enough the image prevails. Perhaps that makes my paintings less successful or less contemporary - the fact that the image prevails. That might be my weakness that I tread in two or three eras. However, I know that you said that many of the greatest painters couldn't be pigeonholed into only one "ism" so now I don't worry about that as much. Besides, I am being very much true to myself in that I see patterns in realism and choose to keep them in context with each other.

I used this class to think about my paintings. I used this class to see a bit more clearly what I am doing for this upcoming exhibit. Thank you. It helped to think of my art in this way. I know I will be changing again and I will be writing something different in years to come. However, I have a clearer historical framework thanks to this class. It is not that I think I am a great painter - I know I am not - but it doesn't matter. The process is the same whether you rise to stardom or you struggle your whole life - if you really examine your work and yourself. And it helps to have an understanding of the historical framework where you find yourself. Again thank you so much for this wonderful class.

Above is an image of a painting for my next exhibit which will be titled "Water's Edge" referring to both paint and image.

Mahalo Nui Loa for such an informative and inspiring class.


Friday, May 1, 2009

Art history reflections: Curtis Cost

First Light in the Morning Air

My first take is that my work roughly falls into the classic realm. My paintings are predominantly linear, though I avoid universal lighting. I tend to paint in either the late or early colors of the day. I mostly use recessional compositions, but occasionally plane. My process is similar to the surrealist where one thing leads to another, but it does not convey a surreality.

Iao Valley

I strip away unnecessary elements and to that extent, my work is idealized. Essentially, my work is nature dominated and largely about preserving the essence of a place and time.

Upcountry Maui

While I love the through-the-canvas illusion, I always want to leave some of the painting subtly looking like paint. It allows the viewer to go back and forth between here and there, paint and pastureland, context and content, chaos and order, two dimensional and three dimensional. I like to play with the evocative aspects of representational landscape as it connects to my experience, which is somewhat of a storybook world, and still retain some semblance of art for art's sake.