Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Overthinking or Underthinking?

The last few months I've really been trying to play around with colored pencils, wanting to develop a way of working that suits me. I'd really like to believe that colored pencils don't have to produce ultra-realism. I just feel that they can be used in a looser way, but how I have yet to discover. Obviously, I'm not just guessing here, there are some artists already doing this sort of thing - with abstraction, color choice, focussed and non-focussed areas, etc.

But, what loose means in my Rose-colored world, has yet to be defined. I came across this quote last night (while exercising ;-).

"There is another aspect of research which I would like to mention - that is, technique or craft. In the present headlong dash for self-expression, too few artists take the trouble to ground themselves in knowledge of their media. The technical ignorance of many present-day artists and students is appalling. The use of cheap, improper materials is already causing many art works to crack open, change color, peel off in shreds or pop off their supports, curl up, and die. Too many painters do not take the trouble to learn to paint in the strictly technical sense of the word. There are no short cuts to knowledge, and impatience is no excuse for carelessness, especially today when knowledge is so readily available. The study of color, design, draughtsmanship, techniques, and methods will not inhibit the creative process. Rather it is a fascinating and stimulating pursuit which will increase the artist's creative possibilities." -- "The Importance of Thorough Research" by James Lewicki, in American Artist magazine Dec. 1962 issue

I think that is what I needed to hear, especially that "impatience is no excuse for carelessness" bit. That sort of leads me towards thinking at a slighter higher level about the craft of painting. Hmm.

The image is a work in progress for my "paying it forward" project. As you can see, it isn't loose in almost any sense.


Valerie Jones said...

Hi Rose - I like what you read! I'd never thought of it like that but I can see how it happens. I've been trying to study the elements and principles of design and find it frustrating that there is more to painting a picture than just paint. But I can see how the benefits would really pay off in my work.

Ann said...

I'm right there with you Rose! I like the cp works that I see that are more expressive in their mark making but have yet to find that comfort zone for myself. In the meantime though, I agree with the quote you cited. That with any media it is best to learn the craft of that media first, and then you have the tools to take it to the next level. It's a long standing debate in University art schools and in our house between art prof hubby and myself. There are those who believe that type of traditional training is no longer necessary. We agree to disagree on that point :)

Rose Welty said...

Thanks ladies! It's really good to know I'm not alone. I have been very discouraged around this issue lately.

Ann, I wish that I could have just picked up a CP and turned out magic, but it certainly hasn't been that way. I would imagine that alot of my trouble is that I've always drawn in monochrome, so color is also new, as well as the medium. Wendy Prior once told me that you can always tell what medium a CP artist came from, interesting.

Kasie @ ~The Art of Life~ said...

That was a very good and deep quote Rose. I'm with you; I need to hear the part about "impatience is no excuse for carelessness."
I want so much to move forward in my art but I want to be careful not to rush so much that I neglect the technical aspect.
~Speaking of looser, quicker colored pencil:
I'm sure you already know of Nicole,
but I'm always amazed at her speed and color in colored pencil. She's been trying some new techniques with adding colorsofts and neocolors that you might find interesting.