A Brief History of Art vs. Craft
Tools I Love to Use When I Gelatin Print

From the Archives: A Project with an Unexpected Journey

This post was originally published on June 24, 2019.  I have updated the post with some additional thoughts.

My artwork rarely ends up where I thought it might.  It's usually more of a wandering process than a marching one.  Let me show you what I'm talking about:

I started a painting and I thought it might be an abstract piece.  This is how it started:

I didn't love it, so I cut it in half (one of the benefits of working on paper):

Then I decided to add some collage in order to break up some of the rigidity of the piece.  This is what that looks like:

It felt like a big mess to me at this point. Sigh.

I stared at it and instead of chucking it in the bin, I thought: Let's just try something and see what happens?

I decided to paint a face on it:

I didn't like the face, so I scrubbed it off as best as I could with a baby wipe.

And then I painted a different face on top -- a more unique and interesting face -- a less stereotypically pleasing face.

Much better.  Much more interesting.  And interesting is always my goal!  This piece sold pretty quickly and I'm not surprised.  She's got so much character and vitality.

Here are three takeaways for you:

  • Never give up.  Never surrender.  (Bonus points if you can name the movie reference!)  It's not actually "never," but too often we give up before we've truly explored the possibilities.  I'm guilty of it myself.
  • Choose interesting over beautiful.  This is my personal aesthetic.  It doesn't have to be yours.  But I choose this in art, in people, in adventures...in many avenues in my life.  I'd almost always rather be intellectually stimulated than aesthetically pleased.  That said, they don't have to be mutually exclusive.  In truly great art, I'd argue that they're both present.
  • Make big moves.  I cut my painting in half.  I painted a face.  I completely wiped away that face.  Big moves make a big difference.  Little moves...well, you can finish that sentence, I'm sure.

I hope you have a great week!  Thanks for stopping by!