More thoughts on new directions for Painting Perceptions
Big Daddy, Corot, Hard at Work
It’s been over a year since I started this blog and overall I’m very pleased by being able to bring more attention to contemporary representational and perceptual painting. Since the recent redesign of this site I’ve been thinking of new ways to improve the site as well as improving my ability to provide useful and stimulating content.
Many times my ambitions fall short of my available time and energies. One of the most time consuming aspects is writing articles about the artwork and artists. Since most times I don’t actually get to view the work in person I usually refrain from giving any serious criticism of the work. I try to get around my avoidance of negative comments by posting great work. However, there are times when some aspects of the discussed work seem weaker than others or otherwise just doesn’t work for me. I often catch myself censoring my writing to avoid saying anything too critical which doesn’t feel right to me. My own paintings give me enough to worry over and don’t want to have to worry about other people’s paintings too! Painter’s have a hard enough time as it is these days and probably don’t need some art critic wannabe dissing their work – especially if they judge it by only a jpeg.
Of course that isn’t to say that real criticism, even from just a jpeg, can’t be valuable – indeed vital to an artist’s growth. If nothing else, It’s important to keep your skin thick and toughened – beefing up your critical immune system from the many art world contagions. I welcome and want to promote critical discussion of any work I post here as long as it doesn’t get ugly and mean-spirited. We all benefit from the sharing of thoughts, many times this is more interesting than the post (or art) itself.
With this in mind, I’ve decided to just present basic facts about the painter, any information, statements or quotes that seem relevant or enlightening. I will try to keep the words brief. Like in the spirit of what the Jazz musician Thelonius Monk once said: “Talking about music is like dancing about architecture.”
The painters I post about will of course vary in quality, some being advanced in their careers and some just starting but they all will be showing compelling work. It should be understood that all the work I post about I find engaging on some level there really is no reason for me to find new ways to restate this fact each time. This will allow me to post more quickly and show more artists and perhaps encourage viewers to contribute their own thoughts. It will also allow me to devote my time to other aspects of making this blog be even more useful to people. One area I’d like to devote more time to is to write more about broader issues, similar to the earlier article I wrote about the difference between plein air painting and perceptual painting.
I still have fantasies that some day this site could grow enough to generate income from advertisers or other means. In this fantasy I would hire a real art critic who was not only a great writer but had expert knowledge about perceptual painting and painting in general – both past and present. But I’m stuck in today so I will do what I can to make this site a great destination right now.
Finally, I want to figure out some ways to promote the new Forum associated with this blog. It is a great way for people to share information and ideas as well as to show and discuss their work. It’s been a slow but great start thus far but I’d like to encourage participation so it can better evolve into a real community.
One thought I had was to have a raffle. Anyone registering (or who has already registered) to join the free Painting Perceptions forum and making at least a couple of posts or replies to posts will be eligible to win from a random drawing – the Ballycastle DVD with Stuart Shils painting (see YouTube trailer here)” BALLYCASTLE is a half-hour documentary that tells a story painter of Stuart Shils, whose encounter with a remote coastal village in Ireland forever changes his life. Producer/director – Fran McElroy. www.shirleyroadproductions.org” I’ll make another post about this in the next few days, just wanted to mention it here first.
I have several great painters I will be posting about soon and hope to arrange for some more interviews as well. I’m also thinking of contacting a few select painters to talk about their work in an online slide talk video that I would put together, similar to the video interview with Micheal Kareken. I’ll keep you posted.
If anyone has suggestions for how this site could be improved, ideas for topics or features would be appreciated as well.