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Friday, December 9, 2016

Bad Advice?

One of the worst things I think I was ever told when learning to paint by an instructor was to "stop resting on my laurels" and learn to paint. He was referring to the fact that I liked to paint in big bold simplified shapes. Every week he would say what was good about what I was doing and why it worked, but then would tell me now I needed to learn 'to paint' and not be so stylized as obviously that was easy for me. And boy, was it hard to break myself of this viewpoint. 

It was my first formal class in oil painting, which I took at the Arts Student League of Denver when it was located in Lodo on Larimer Street. He started us out in black and white only, then to gray and then moved on to adding one color at a time. Here are two color examples I came across recently, and I still like them! Painted on gessoed cardboard, you can see where the top example was punctured. Being that these are now 30 plus years old, they have held up remarkably well, don't you think? I think they were painted in acrylics, not oils, though.

I had recently seen an artist friend post her new paintings on Instagram and they reminded me so much of my own work way back when. I really like what she is doing. I still paint in bold simplified shapes, but in a more 'painterly' and 'refined' way. A part of me is wanting to go back to the day and revisit flat color. Play around a bit. Simplify and exaggerate.

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