Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Does art have to have deep meaning to be good?

The Warehouse
soft pastels on Art Spectrum Colourfix
by Miki Willa
There are so many people out in blog land who have much to say about what art is and what makes good art. There are quite a few people who have differing opinions on the subjects. I didn't want to be left out, so I decided to jump into the fray.
There is a rather large camp who think that a work by an artist must make a statement about the state of the world in some way in order to be considered "real" art. It is not good enough to be sell executed, or to be visually appealing. As I came across these opinions, I wondered what grand statement about the human condition my art makes. So far, I can't see any.
There is another camp that says to be considered good art, it has to be technically well done. It has to follow all the rules. And, it has to convey the feeling of the artist about the subject at hand. I do try and put my feelings into my paintings.
There are also a group of people who think that anything that smacks of realism is not true art, but merely copying. This seems to have been happening in the world of academe for a while. I have known a few people who were not accepted into university art programs because their art was too "predictable and inside the box." But I like realism. Does that mean that what I like isn't art?
I do have more questions than answers in this discussion. However, I have come up with something I think is important. I think art should be celebration. I should celebration human emotions, the beauty of the small stream or majestic mountain, the ingenuity and resilience of humans, and the ways in which the earth reclaims what humans reject over time. There is much more to celebrate in art, and I guess that is what I think my work does. I celebrate the earth in my landscapes. I celebrate the power of water in my waterscapes. I celebrate glass art makers. Not everyone will agree with me, but that is okay. What is a discussion without opposing viewpoints.
The painting is a celebration of a landmark in Renton, Washington. It has survived earthquakes, fires, and the gentrification of the neighborhood. I took the reference photo on a glorious fall day because I loved the colors on the hillside, and the plume of steam and smoke against the brilliant blue sky.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Acrylic Landscape painting

Sedona Morning
4 x 4 acrylics on clay board
by Miki Willa
When I was in Sedona during my mentoring workshop with Michael Chesley Johnson, I was not really happy with any of the paintings or sketches I did there. I still have trouble with plein air painting. I get overwhelmed with all the possibilities, and my brain becomes so over stimulated I forget all the basic rules of painting landscapes. I will keep working on this problem, but will keep painting in the studio in the mean time.
This small painting is my first attempt at a landscape in acrylic. I have long been fascinated by the brush strokes I see in oils and some acrylics. I really have trouble with the smells associated with oils, so I decided to try acrylics. I painted with them straight out of the tube, and am quite pleased with the results. I love the way I can scumble in a sky and clouds with pastels, so I tried the same approach with acrylics. It worked pretty well. I also like the way the colors could be layered and blended with ease. Of course, I used my fingers at times along with my brushes. That made it really fun for me. I am happy with the way this turned out. I wonder if I can create something I like on a bigger canvas. We shall see.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Show opening in Bremerton

Last night was the opening event for my show in Bremerton, Washington. The venue was Cornerstone Coffee on the corner of 5th and Pacific. It was part of the monthly First Friday Art Walk in the downtown area. The photo above is of the main wall and the table we set up with edibles and drinks. I was really happy with the way the paintings hung on the gold wall. It is a very nice space.

This photo is of two small walls around the corner from the main wall. They can both be seen well from the front window, but are not in direct sun. This is the first time I have had the glass blowing series (minus 2) hanging together. I am very happy about the look they achieve grouped in this way.

There was a very small crowd last evening because of the holiday. Many people had slipped out of town for the long weekend. The people who did drop by were very kind and complementary. My family came to support me, including my sister-in-law from Virginia. (She was my first patron from this show, buying the stormy ocean painting you can see on the table in the top photo.) It was great to get the family together.

My show will be hung until July 31, so if you are in the area, please stop by. Enjoy the paintings and a great coffee or tea drink.