To Process, or Not to Process:
I recently attended a three day class with artist Marianne Mitchell at the Art Student League of Denver. The class was to develop the artists’ signature expression and personal voice.
This class presented wonderful opportunities for me to speak to other artists about my creations and hear their reactions, confirmations, and suggestions. Marianne does a marvelous job of moderating a very encouraging and cooperative environment. The immediate identification of the first class concerned how the artist began the work. This was later expanded in the second class where we were instructed to paint with “reckless abandon”. It quickly identified how my process began and the difficulties the experiment would present to me.
My process, and what is likely considered the free thinking, “artsy” part of creating, is actually 2-D. It begins with manipulating a large format photo of an intriguing flower. After I study it, I put the digital image through several steps of coloring, cropping, shading, dissecting, and more formatting to arrive, at last with an image of which I am ready to paint. The painting, while more of my translation, continues in the process of deriving the image down to something that is still a flower but concentrates more on the parts and shapes of the flower.
During the reckless abandon period of the class, I was able to identify how process-oriented I really am. While I found fun in experimenting with abstraction, the spontaneous pieces seemed lacking. Marianne suggested that the actual application on the canvas after I enacted my digital process, could provide me with more of my “voice”. With what had initially inspired me about the image, the application of paint should involve more of the spirit, emotion or reckless abandon. This is a new idea for me.
I’m working on it. – Ron