Studying Art – Diary 5

0.jpgLast week has been critical in many terms. I’ve been struggling with a terrible flu, mostly trying to ignore it in my fashion and carrying on as usual… And I’ve decided to go to Paris in April with a group of students and tutors (I just can’t wait!)… Finally, battling on a field of painting (and art – generally) I think, I finally understood something important, something that would hopefully shape my future artistic way both in a practice and reflection.

Hence today, still feeling those quite overwhelming efforts of last few days and those moments of ‘enlightenment’ I would like to record a handful of thoughts… The reason I am writing them here instead in my ‘private’ diary is, as always what concerns this site, my hope that I would make somebody out there, maybe you, to feel less alone… Despite all my cynicism and, sometimes, just punishable lack of care towards people I remain a hopelessly ‘humanistic’ soul, wanting to help others in their struggle of being that incredibly ridiculous creature – ‘a human being’ (hope, it doesn’t sound too ‘good’ to not to be ironic):

* No matter what you do, you’ve got probably one and only chance to ‘invent’ yourself , to speak out whom you are and why – what are you made of, what’s your story, to have the courage to be yourself NO MATTER what, who, where – and this very ‘chance’, this very moment is now – only NOW, tomorrow, in an hour or even in a second – will be too late…

* Don’t leave the better ‘bits’ of yourself, deep thoughts, smiles and compassion for ‘more worthy’ people, for your friends or family only, don’t hide it ‘for later’, ‘for better occasion’… Be generous with that, always – it goes without saying when ‘giving birth’ to art is involved – grow your heart, mind and dreams big and bigger, as big as you can afford physically and psychologically. It’s a difficult, sometimes painful way but the only one if you want to move on as a human, a man, a woman, a member of any community.

* You have to be able and willing to transcend yourself on a daily basis – it’s especially important for a practicing artist. To feel too safe, familiar, comfortable in your little ‘garden’ of painting, drawing etc. – expressionistic, melancholic and dark, ‘showy’ and bright, only rebellious and ‘fighting’ – and whatever it is – means only that you’ve ceased your progress… You look at your flowers in a vase enjoying how beautiful they are, but they are already dead and what you see is only their final blooming dance… Don’t bother with so called ‘style’, it’s one of those ‘magic’ wands critics had invented to appear less helpless when they approach an artwork. If there is anything like that it’s only the ‘style’ of your personality, of you being you and the ‘style’ of today, tomorrow you can be miles away… even if you continue to produce similar works (because your current existential condition is pretty much the same, because you are designing a series) you should have awareness that, at their inner level they should be generated from ever-changing and challenging stimulants…

* In art there is many contrastive and self-negating elements, ever-lasting challenging tensions and irrational, sometimes just hilarious ‘truths’ that, without being able to accept and eventually – to love them all you will never find yourself a ‘legitimate’ and possessing any power ‘citizen’ of this strange world. Just few of them discovered while painting a canvas this week:

– you don’t have to paint ‘dark’, ‘moody’, ‘dirty’ paintings to say ‘dark’ things – as a matter of fact – a bright or even appearing as cheerful work can convey those ‘dark’ ideas much more convincingly, the whole ‘trick’ is to use your picture-space and colour wisely by, for example, placing a ‘black dot’ in a focal point

– really big canvases can be very intimate (as far as I remember, Rothko made that discovery before me), they hang there ‘unclothed’ because of their ‘exhibitionist’ scale and just invite you to get inside them, to become a part of a story they try to tell, their embrace is tender, seductive, sometimes violent, always a sort of a relation – forming encounter

colour does have a power, it really does (as an example, my crimson and reds were glowing so intensely that I failed to notice for hours that air around me was almost freezing) – yet to get it out of it you need to know all it weaknesses and limitations and – more importantly – you cannot avoid them at all costs when painting, you have to learn to employ them in a process of ‘turning’ your colour on… As an example: quite a number of layers – layers of ‘bleached’, ‘weak’ or even ‘dirt-ish’, very often contrastive colour take to make your final layer looking ‘alive’ – the powerful colour gets its life from all that struggle being fought ‘inside’ it by all those much less powerful (or just very ‘weak’) shades, tints and variations of hues…

And, more general remark, you must never be afraid of colour – it’s there for you, use it with all the bravery and boldness that you can afford , it’s much more easier than you think to ‘kill’ the ‘loudness’ of it and you can do this at each stage when painting, but it’s much more difficult to make ‘sing’ a ‘weeping’ with colours painting. And be prepared for a lot of mixing when you want to paint a convincing ‘low-key’ or monochrome paintings, those are really difficult – less colour you want to show, more paint you will have to use in order to produce unusual, working greys, darks and neutrals.

Hope it helps, my words of sympathy to all of you battling with challenges that only art can be responsible for… That’s why probably we want to bother at all and we are ready to do this for years and years…

About kasia

Born in Poland. Lives in Ireland, Cork. Visual artist. View all posts by kasia

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