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.


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