Saturday, October 20, 2007

More pears? Are you kidding?

Dancing 'til Dawn

Soft pastels on UART400, 24x16 cm (9.5x6.25 in)

I have no idea what the style I am developing might be called, so I am calling it "abstract realism". I think this is a stylistic trend that has been part of my art in all the media I've used. This is not impressionism, which is realism at its most literal: a rendering of what the artist's senses actually percieve in the most literal way, uninterpreted by the mind. In a sense, though, every painting, any art object is an abstraction, because the artist is selecting the information that conveys what he or she is perceiving.

A scene, a set of objects, a face, all are composed of many levels of information: color, shape, light and shadow, relationships between elements. The more the result resembles the expectations of the viewer, the more realistic we say the painting is. When it seems to resemble nothing objective at all, it is usually referred to as abstract-- though as long as I'm talking terminology here, I'd say that a painting (or other art object) that is not based on something objective isn't abstract at all, but expressionistic. It is not abstracted from the sensory perception of the artist, but expresses some interior process. There is likely some of both in abstract realism as I am using it. There is a real scene, a real object, a real person, but my tendency as an artist is to pare away as much as possible to some essence of my perception and experience of my subject.

I am experimenting with different surfaces for my paintings, and was given some good-sized samples of a sanded paper called UART. I dislike most sanded papers I've tried, because they eat pastels and are difficult to blend. But this one (which comes in several grit sizes) may have promise. This painting is done on the 400, which I swore would not work for my way of working. I'm still up in the air on that, but was pleasantly surprised at its responsiveness. Nice for this kind of loose, informal approach.

By the way, the middle pear was breakfast yesterday, not long after I laid out the composition. The pear on the right is next.