In the past I have written extensively about how the ready availability of cameras via our phones have made people forget how to look at paintings. People want the same realism in painting that they can achieve with their phones.
This has had a ping-ponged effect to the mentality of a lot of painters. They seem afraid or embarrassed to have a painting or drawing look “merely” like that. It is pursuit of the hyper realism that makes many works by artists who have chops look freeze dried or still born.
The best authors have always been the best readers (diverse and ever exploring & expanding their taste). Painters have their own version of this, which is looking at art. The internet & amazon make it so that even with sheltering in place, one can have a wealth of images at hand to peruse. And there is no longer any restrictions in regards to what one likes or pulls inspiration from. Read any biography on previous eras and the new had to reject the old or face harsh criticisms from peers & critics. Now it is possible to catch a spark from both Rothko & Frans Hals and no one would care. It’s a freedom that’s invaluable.
With no chance of doing my yearly European museum crawl this year, i have delved back into my sizeable collection of art books. Even had i only looked at the images, it served as an empowering reminder:
“It is ok for a painting to look like a painting.”
I recently had done a collage where i sought to intentionally make something beautiful for everyone to look at. I have just finished a series of collages and decided to do the same thing with a painting. I was helped in this by utilizing a long time model, her comfort making it natural, the organics adding to the beauty. I just used my cell phone to take the photo, it gives you the gist of the work but in person (or with a better camera) there is more going on).
9×12 Watercolor & Paper “Beauty; Magic Hat #2”