Saturday, March 12, 2011

On Painting

John Baldesarri

The realistic rendering of people, places and things has long been my preference in subject matter in my art work. In the not so distant past, I always considered myself a realistic and figurative artist. However eventually I found myself loosing my passion for any kind of figurative representation. The reason being, I had lost the connection with the creative process. This was the result of a kind of myopic vision and getting caught up with the final outcome or preconceived notion of what I thought the art work should look like. The realistic rendering became paramount to me and creativity was being diminished and seemed to all but disappear as a result. I had to completely let go of any figurative realistic subject matter and replace this with my intuitive process and approach that was coming more directly from my imagination without preconceived notions or thought of the final outcome. Most of the imagery was based on the spiritual, dreams and myths. My art work became more like the art I made as a youth which was very freeing and enabled me to find my artistic and creative direction in my art practice.

After creating this kind of work for about a year and a half I finally felt the desire to get back to the kind of art I had been interested in the past. However now I was very conscious of not loosing site of creative process and I feel this metamorphosis of sorts was very refreshing helped me immeasurably.

I have always loved drawing with graphite and painting with oil, more then any other medium.

Portraiture has always been a great subject matter for me and felt it was my strength.
Over the past year I have gained a very strong interest in egg tempera which has been a wonderful surprise and discovery to me.

It is essential that I be very engaged and passionate about my subject matter. If I find I am no longer connected in this way, I know I have reached a stalemate in my creative growth as an artist, and it is time for a complete change and I need to get out of my comfort zone and take some challenging risks.

I love the long tradition of egg tempera. It is very flexible and lends itself to mark making, detail and the subject matter can be given an energy through the application of several layers which are translucent and show through with a luminescence, that I cannot achieve through the medium of oil.

Over the past term, I have found that my own art ideology is becoming clearer to me. Though I don't believe this to be set in stone, I do know I want to, and will continue to, build on this foundation, through my use of egg tempera and involvement in the creative process.

Meeting and listening to Ben Reeves has helped to clarify and reaffirm my thoughts and ideas about the importance of balance between representation and process. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to meet him. I like to think artists of like mind can share in this utopia of the imagination Ben spoke of, during his visit with the Fine Art students, at Mount Allison. Painting at Mount Allison is very much alive!

Painting is a conversation. Make your speech deliberate, not full of babble, nonsense. Be sure of what you want to say. (Timothy Chambers)

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