This past Tuesday I shared some high resolution jpgs of detailed areas of historical paintings to a class I am teaching. It reminded me how much I love to get up close and personal with works of art. These intimate inspections not only allow us to better understand how they were created, but in closing in on the art, we are placing ourselves in the physical space once occupied by the artwork’s originator. This is all the more true when visiting works in a museum, gallery or exhibition. The visceral experience and ‘high’ I receive from these interactions with unique, physical objects are the main reason I will likely never become a digital artist – I have conditioned myself to fall in love with physical objects of desire.
This is not an assessment of digital art, but rather speaks to the approach I have taken towards painting during the development of my career as an illustrator and painter. The treatment of my paintings and conversion of them into commercial designs during the first year of my professional career drove home the fact that these illustrations were nothing more than part of a tool in marketing – to be manipulated and distorted to the needs of my client in selling their product. This use of my art reconditioned my expectations regarding illustration commissions from that of seeking pleasure in seeing my art on a book cover or magazine distributed worldwide, to that of seeking pleasure in the sheer process of making the original painting in oils. Rather than falling in love with the image, I fell in love with the object. Nothing more simple as that has driven my entire career.
Thus while this conditioning has worked for me, the same ‘object love’ may not work for millions who are in the midst of the digital age creating art on the computer. Your challenge is to fall in love with your art in a different manner. For when you are passionate about your art, it is easy to spend an entire day in the physical proximity of that which you so dearly desire…
|Captain America : Duty 48″ x 36″ Oil on Panel 2012|
|William Bouguereau detail 1880|