Saturday, June 18, 2011

Why I have come to paint from life.

Why should I spend $20 per hour for a model? 4 days a week that is $320.

It takes a lot of effort for me to come up with that kind of money- teaching, a sale ( never enough) here and there. I drive an old car- if the car is of a year that is the same decade- it is indeed a miracle. Yes I do have a husband who does well but he does not, for the most part support my painting.

Then why do it?

I had initially started out wanting to be a painter, but confused by contemporary art and seeing no place for me in it ( this holds true today) I went into illustration. Easy peasy. The work was relatively quick- a couple of days to a couple of weeks to do a piece and a guaranteed check at the end of it. I took photos, camera lucied them, and voila! paid artwork- always- won prizes- had a great rep, made excellent money. Terrific!

THEN- in about 1988 the bottom fell out of the illustration market- I was making 50% of what I was used to making. Then I remembered OH GOD! FINE ART! Let's do some portraits! I'll take some photos, blow them up and copy them. Easy and it was. Started to get commissions.

HOWEVER, I was frightfully close to the Boston Museum where the Sargents are and the rest of the major portrait artists are- you know the Boston School, Tarbell etc. I was aghast- no way on God's Green Earth did my paintings look like them. My brushwork was leaden, my skin tones dull and my color dismal. On went my quest to learn HOW THEY DID IT. OH MY GOD! They painted from ACTUAL PEOPLE- they learned in this in the olden days in art school. I had gone to art school ( the overrated Boston Museum School) where they told me to EXPRESS MYSELF. How was another matter as the teachers were never present in the classes or boinking the students.

I got books out of the library, I bought tapes- Daniel Greene's was the only one available at the time- but very helpful and started with a self portrait(now in the landfill).

I still took commissions, but no-one wanted to sit- but I used my money to hire sitters. I could not stand to do portraits anymore and took a part time job at the overrated RISD to pay for my habit.

Gradually, I left the photos behind- I had started doing combos- but more and more I realized that they were more of an encumbrance than a help. I felt my brushstrokes getting surer. I was feeling a greater rapport with my subject and noticed the changes than came after working with a model for a while. They became real people- not an image to be copied.

No comments: