I was very fortunate to have had a painting teacher, Dana Loomis, who was a student of William De Kooning. His work was no longer abstract expressionism but realism. I think he was a great influence on me and why I think the way I do about painting and art. A required reading he gave us to read was, a book by Robert Pirsig, entitled, Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. This was another one of my life changing books because it taught me about the importance of balance. Dana had really come out of the decade of modernism lived through post-modernism and then came back to painting realistically. I am of the belief that the figure stills speaks strongest to the audience. Perhaps not because it is the most popular subject matter but because we are human, as social beings we have a strong inclination to and curiosity in observing and understanding ourselves.
When I complete a realistic painting, the critical censor within comes out and I hear negative messages, things like, that arm is out of whack and culminates in a lingering feeling of self doubt about my ability to render at all. I am quite certain this is a common occurrence with many folks involved with the creative process.
I ask myself this question, " Is it really essential that my painting be completely accurate in how it is rendered, or can I mix both realism and abstraction?" You might think, well do what ever you want to do. I am somewhat torn between the two, though I do know I am more drawn to realism and representational art. I would not consider myself an abstract artist, though I do appreciate it.
I don't really have anything to conclude but am thinking out loud and trying to understand and clarify for myself what it is I am doing and why, I think this is what it means to be an artist. I do think I have answered my own question. It is all about balance. between classical and romantic thought. I can't have one with out the other , I want and need both.
“ The attitude that nature is chaotic and that the artist puts order into it is a very absurd point of view, I think. All that we can hope for is to put some order into ourselves. ”
— Willem de Kooning