This is one of those questions that quite regularly enter into my thoughts, every time a sketch fails, or a painting falls apart. Which happens more than I would like to admit, but lets just say that if I was in school and the amount was put into a grade percentage, I would have been forcefully removed from the campus.
I started a notebook at the beginning of the year, and like many of my projects its less full or done that I wished it would be. I have however filled a lot of the pages with questions I've asked myself and answers that at this point and time make sense of things to me. As with hopefully all opinions that develop and change, or solidify into something stronger, hopefully with some ability to be malleable.
Here we go.
I am interested in portraiture, but not because it shows a correct representation or a human being. The countless untold things that permeate through the painting, things that are either conscious or unconscionably revealed by the artist, the sitter; or even perhaps the viewer. A good portrait doesn't just give you a likeness, it shows you something human. A trait, maybe genetic or emotional that connects the people involved in the work, sometimes a portrait can connect with the entire human race, if we are 99% similar, how do you portray that? How can a painting of someone from a different time, a different position, a different place, someone with no resemblance to you in any way evoke the same feelings in you, or even a population?
Sometimes I feel jealous or upset, that a painting can be expressing the same feelings I have, or maybe I'm just upset that I'm not the individual snowflake I always thought I was. Which in actuality is quite amazing to have a painting merit that deep of a response. I want to paint to find that, to create that in the work, I am still searching for that golden nugget of truth, that when viewed cuts through whatever baggage or emotions you are bringing to the work, and allows you to connect personally with a piece of art. I want a painting that when you hang it in your home, it doesn't simply match your decor, or bring the room together (I wouldn't mind being able to do that either!) I want you to stop every time you walk by and experience the piece, just taking that extra couple of seconds in your day to stop and reflect on the piece.
The piece above has always made me stop and reflect, I have it saved on my iPad and whenever I scroll through the images looking for something I find myself stopping to look at this piece. I can't help but emote with the piece, I know that feeling intimately, I have spent many afternoons sitting and contemplating while the sun sets. The beauty also rests in the textures of this painting, the way Mr. Kelley has captured the feel of that chair, how you know, deep down, that if you just brushed your hand against it you would feel that texture and stare in wonder how the fibers remembered your brush. The out of place value left from your touch, maybe you will think of the times when you were younger and that chair became a canvas for you with your hands becoming the paintbrush. I can actually put myself in that chair and feel the warmth of the setting sun on my face, and remember the thoughts as they race through my head and the almost sadness that arises from spending too much time in thought, that somehow someone placed in my mind that it was a waste of time. I love painting so much, and I love work like this that takes me to a whole new place.
I don't personally feel that I have accomplished this yet in my work, but I am satisfied at the moment knowing that it is a goal not too far off.