Object Dar't

July 19, 2012

Reflections, ©202 Denyse Dar

I talk a lot about the process of creating from an artist's perspective. For me, it's the part of what I do that not only surprises me the most but interests me! There's so much in a painting that viewers can't pick up yet the commentary is important.

Each painting has a lesson for the artist. At times it is emotional or mental work being done. Other times it is a technical challenge that is being worked on. But most times it is a combination of the two. This painting was one of those.

I am in fact an untrained artist. I have nothing more than 2 drawing classes under my belt which for the first year I was painting, really bothered me. Mentally my challenge was to see myself as an artist in spite of my lack of training. We live in a world where jobs are specialized and a "professional" has the appropriate training. There for, I somehow could not be a professional artist legitimately. The support and encouragement from people around me helped me move out of that. What I didn't expect would happen was that I would move into a phase of NOT wanting to be educated in art. There are times now when I am frightened that if I take a class or workshop, that it somehow affect or change my style (and thus who I am as an artist.) I now understand why Barbra Streisand didn't get the nose job she wanted. No artist wants to sacrifice their craft - it's too precious and so we protect it at all costs. Yet I can't help but be frustrated when I am confronted with a challenge but lack technical know-how.

This painting presented two technical challenges; reflection on water and interior shadow. I'm sure these are basic elements and have a simple strategy. But I just couldn't bring myself to research or learn them. I stuck to my guns that I'd work it out in my own way. I wanted my brain to figure out what works for me and not what works for others. I'm not satisfied with the job I did in my first attempt and I really question how smart it is to disregard knowledge and training. The jury that is my brain, is still out on that one.

But the mental and emotional challenge here had a pay off. It's been a chaotic time in my life for sure. My days have been consumed with old chapters that are concluding and new chapters beginning. It's left very little time for "reflection" of any kind. This painting seemed to be a sort of moral inventory. I hadn't been able to really check in with myself over the past 6 months. I liken it to what would be happening if you were putting out a fire. You'd be busy finding water to put the flames out and not thinking about much else. In painting this, I had the first opportunity in a long time to think about who I am now after all these large events. And I pondered what I've learned, what I want now and who I want to be after all this. Like my painting, I saw my reflection and like the technical challenge - the jury that is my brain is still out on that one too.