Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Painting: Process or Product?

Sunrise or Sunset by Marian Dioguardi, an invented landscape, 2018 Private Collection
What ARE we doing when we paint?  Making a product (a painting made intentionally to sell) or are we engaging in a process (where the means is more important than the end)? This is a discussion that even professional painters often ask of themselves and of each other.

I would argue that in the best of all worlds we do both when we paint; a painting is the original by-product of  dedicated searching, processing and time.

In a field crowded with new found artists I often see the anxiety of newly declared painters, aiming to please an audience and looking for instant affirmation for their "product"through a sale or a show. These are "artists" who visit experienced artists open studios only to show their own work to the exhibiting artist. Typically they pull out their cell phone, show their work and  ask for some sort approval or the "magic" to selling. 

Please, if this is you, don't do that because this an awkward situation for the exhibiting artists. Instead ask them out for a coffee and quiet time at a later date. Do not interrupt their exhibiting and client time. In these situations I am unable to give the new artists the time and attention that their efforts deserve. I only have time to give a quick positive encouragement to the process. 

More often than not, I see that a new painter is basically imitating or copying. So let me say this now: copying someone else's photograph or painting does NOT make you a painter, an artist or a creative. It is just one process on your way to creating an original. Copying is only one of many ways to learn  painting. Take what you can from that process and go further and beyond to creating your own original visions and techniques. Then ask an experienced painter what they think.

I've been painting professionally since 2002. Even now I work through process.  I paint 99.9 % of the time from observations.Sunrise or Sunset, above, was an exploration in colors, pallet knife techniques and imagination. I worked very hard and put a lot of time here finding something that satisfied my aesthetic. The resulting painting was a by product of all my efforts. Painting "experiments" are satisfying through success and learning something new or through failure and getting lost and confused. A product is an end. A process is a beginning.

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