Acrylic on canvas
30" x 48"
I've been doing a fair amount of pondering on the ideas of "art as psychological or emotional therapy" vs. "art as social, philosophical or political statement" vs. "art as intellectual exercise" vs. "art strictly for commercial purposes" vs. "art strictly for aesthetics," etc. etc. And how these assorted motivations affect the artist's process of creating the art and the viewer's experience of observing and/or living with the art. And then interwoven with these ponderings, have been ongoing conversations--both within my head and with others--pertaining to "art" vs. "craft" vs "design". These ponderings, of course, have been made all the more interesting by the myriad of artists' blogs that I have begun to follow over the past few months, and by the blog "conversations" that I have had along the way.
Most often, my motivation for art is very simply aesthetics, and the results frequently have a graphic bent (although I have no training to speak of in that discipline). The paintings shown here are really the only pieces that I have produced that were the result of any sort of psychological or emotional motivation. "Transcendence" above, was painted several months after my mother passed away. It is full of symbolism pertaining to beaches and deserts, and smooth river rocks and weakening bones; and the process of painting it was very therapeutic for me. Likewise, "Catherine vs. Katrina" below, is infused with symbolism; and it literally helped me to come to the decision to allow my daughter to return to New Orleans with the incoming Tulane freshmen, five months after they had evacuated ahead of Hurricane Katrina.
"Catherine vs. Katrina"
Acrylic on canvas
18" x 24"
I should note that I did not begin either of these paintings with any idea whatsoever as to what I was going to paint, and certainly without any intent of "working through issues". I simply started painting. But in each case, I was soon painting with a purpose.
The other night, while catching up on my blog reading, I visited Heather's Studio, where Heather Kirtland had posted some of her wonderful, abstract BFA paintings as well as some recent work. And there, I encountered a painting--apparently still in progress, and accompanied by a single explanatory sentence -- that immediately brought tears to my eyes. It was the posture of the small figure, created with a few deft brushstrokes, that struck the chord. And so, my ponderings continue....
....and I'd be very interested to know your thoughts on the subject.