Last week I joined another Facebook group geared specifically toward critiques. Usually I just read selective topics and take it all in, rarely posting. As many of you know, my struggle with abstract vs. representational art continues and I decided to post about my personal struggles in the critique group.
Here is the condensed version of my post:
"Truth be told, I seem unable to create art without connecting landscape into everything I do. I started a series of abstract paintings this summer, but keep falling back into the small representational works.
So I struggle, do I push toward abstract, do I do both? or am I better off sticking to the small, salable, easy to relate to representational works? Is encaustic art suppose to be abstract? All feedback welcome."
I received such wonderful responses but the three that stuck out most in my mind were from three artists I have actually met.
Rodney Thompson -
"'So I struggle, do I push toward abstract, do I do both? or am I better off sticking to the small, salable, easy to relate to representational works'...which one thrills you, delights you, intrigues you, makes you most happy to see your finished work ?"
Rodney's art blows me away, his connection with spirituality and earth is like no one else.
Laura Moriarty -
"It sounds to me like you are rushing the process of finding an authentic voice in order to put your work in the marketplace. Ultimately the direction of your work must be determined by you, not others. I think it's best to be clear about what you are doing before you start marketing it. For now, it may be best for you to sell the work you understand, while you continue to develop the complexity. Slow down, and let the new body of work build. Take your audience along for the ride in a way that helps them understand the twists and turns in the road. You do that really well with your blog, btw. But don't sell work until you have a chance to get really comfortable with it.
Laura's art takes encaustic into a deeper, more physical view of geographic wonder.
Hylla Evans -
"Robin, you do know some of us. Don't let lack of confidence into your studio. Paint, paint, paint. Save the second guessing for later editing what you want to show. Chill and paint. Landscape seems always to be referenced when an abstract is grounded in horizontal lines. That isn't a bad thing. You can sell them both. Don't think about finding an audience while you're painting. Save those decisions for afterward. "
Hylla taught a color mixing workshop that I attended several years ago as well as a talk about artistic copyright. Her encaustic paints are rich and lush and remind me most of the Holbein paints I use in watercolor.
There were many more responses, but what a wonderful place for professional (and personal) support.
Next month I look forward to following my heart and seeing where the paints take me.
I continue to sell small representational works. I add my signature using a custom made chop, a translation of my name in Chinese. After several years of trying to always stamp work in just the right spot I decided to order a new chop using a circular design. 4 different characters that translate my name both phonetically and literally make up the chop. I used the same company that I discovered online when ordering the first chop, and once again I embraced the ease and accessibility of online resources.
As easy as using the internet is, nothing replaces human touch and the need for a hug.