Archive for August 31st, 2011

If the question posed in the previous post seems simpleminded—of course it’s not art, it’s only an illustration!—then why do all beginning painters and limners get obsessed with illustrating what they see? And more often than not they get stuck in that obsession.

Just this morning, a student (in a painting class that I was subbing for) complained to me that she’s been working representationally for five years and now she can’t get herself out of that way of seeing.  That’s her first false assumption.  Her second false assumption came in what she said next:  I can’t get my painting to look the way I want it to look.

1) Well, you can find a new way of seeing.   The way out of old habits is to adopt a new working PROCESS.

2) You don’t know ahead of time what your painting will look like.  That’s because you’re not coloring in the lines, you are going with a PROCESS.

Picasso put it this way:  “A picture is not thought out and settled beforehand.  While it is being done it changes as one’s thoughts change. And when it is finished, it still goes on changing, according to the state of mind of whoever is looking at it.  A picture lives a life like a living creature, undergoing the changes imposed on us by our life from day to day.  This is natural enough, as the picture lives only through the man who is looking at it.”  (From Christian Zervos’ “Conversations with Picasso,” 1935.)

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.




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