For some years now I have been considering writing some articles about painting that perhaps could be constructed into a book. Since I am retiring I thought this might be a good time to start. There are many very capable books about painting that go into far more detail than I would and written by more capable artists that me so why another book. The reason is relatively simple – perhaps there is a new perspective that might be helpful. Most books focus on technique; few attend to the issue of seeing. Painting is really very simple – we need to put the right colour in the right place. However, the right colour and right space both are the result of careful and detailed observation. Learning to observe carefully and accurately seems to be the critical issue; but I have heard very little about that process. Having a background in anthropology has been helpful for my career as an artist. One of the distinguishing features of anthropology is its distinctive methodology – participant observation. Traditionally anthropologists participate in the culture they observe – sometimes referred to as the qualitative research method although it is more than that. What if painters could apply some of those methods to painting? Namely, to learn to observe from a standpoint of participation. What difference could that make? Obviously as a method, pleine air painting or life drawing come closest to that method. Painting from projected photos or from photographs is further away. Over the next while I would like to write about what that means and how we might unpack this idea. A major part of this is to learn to see slowly. Some of the topics I would like to write about are:
Learning to see slowly.
Painting with adjectives and adverbs
Why we change what we see
The role of subjectivity in painting
Straying from the observed
Art as a language
Since I do not do any teaching now I thought this blog might be a way to keep in contact with some of you.