Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Choosing blur

Todd took Marcus shopping with him the other evening, and I hurried to set up the easel and pulled out a magazine page I’ve been saving with the intention of reinterpretation. Hence the image you see here, completed in under two hours.

I used to be drawn only to impressionists, because their work was just so pretty and pleasant to behold. I began to have more appreciation for realists once I’d actually picked up a brush and tried my own hand at painting—frankly, I don’t know how they do it. I’ve seen and admired many works of art that are almost photographic in their trueness to life, pieces that are stunning and amazingly impressive. I yearned to be that type of artist for awhile, and I tried to steer away from impressionism, suspecting that it was merely my lazy nature and inattention to detail that made me gravitate to a more fuzzy, forgiving style…

But I’ve come to realize that it’s a losing battle. Yes, I am lazy, uneducated in the finer points of art, too impatient to take my time; but I also gauge every single work of art on the same premises: would I hang it in my home? Would I like to see it each day? Does it invite me to enter into whatever is being depicted? Because really, that’s how I define art—those are its calling cards in my book.

So, I will unapologetically paint pictures that do not capture every intimate detail, that are unclear in places, that encourage (even demand) the eye to mix shapes and colors to create the final image that one sees. I have come to realize that, after years of stark clarity, I am ready to embrace the beauty of vague. Just as the Christmas tree looks more magical with my glasses off, so the painting looks more pleasing to me when I don’t quite finish it, when I embrace the imperfect.

In many ways I am a realist, but in the world of painting, I can toss realism aside, squint a bit, and step happily into the vision.

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