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Good art, a definition, with more questions, Part Deux

As I was waiting to get out of Tire Warehouse’s parking lot, I scribbled a few notes to myself to add to this conversation.

First of all, I think a big consideration in how work is discussed begins with why it was created in the first place. If the intent is just to allow the maker a mode of expression for whatever reason, I don’t think a question of quality, relevance, etc. really need to even be part of the program. I applaud anyone who makes anything just for the sheer joy, peace, cathartic release, etc. that art-making most certainly gives the creator.

Most of the people I am referring to in these groups are not solely creating to create. Bigger statements are being made that usually include a planned price tag, a venue or hopes for one, and all the professional/business stuff that goes into this, as well. I solidly fall into this group-solidly-even though I make pieces that are really personal, too. Those stay at home when I am sharing work with groups.

And, we all make stuff for sale and that is strictly its purpose. I am going to cross a somewhat debatable line and call this merchandise, not art. If the purpose for a piece is solely to be a money-maker, I feel that compromises have been made, and the emotion that goes into the creation was probably not there. Been there, too.

I know people also who have developed saleable formulas, and create work that fits in that formula, sometimes repeating a palette over numerous pieces. This formulaic, no thought, no emotion production is what I call “hack”.

A type of art that I don’t see as fitting “hack”  are images/themes that seem to be repeated by many artists. The same subject obviously is moving more than just one person-that doesn’t dilute the importance of a piece. This can be misunderstood by some as only done to produce a sale. Let’s face it, many people really love florals as their subject, for example, and that does not make them a “hack”.

So, once determining the purpose of the work, where do we draw the line on how precisely those of us who have the academic jargon and knowledge go in our critique? How fair would that be? And, how do I know what will even make sense to someone without formal training?

I personally think these kinds of meetings should help those participating grow artistically. I might be jaded, but I am seeing little in really useful observations in those that I belong to, at present. Granted, we all work in this vacuum that sometimes includes whirlwinds of self-doubting thoughts, and it is nice to hear accolades. Those of us who have not seen a classroom as a student for eons may actually revel in constructive criticism and suggestions, too, rather than being told that our “colors sing”.

But, all of this aside, what makes a good piece of art, when it is made as art? Who determines that? When do you know as an artist that you have a solid concept, that you have executed it in a way that visually demonstrated it, and the application of you medium is appropriate to all of the above ? Shouldn’t this also be part of these group discussions? Or am I getting too academic?

 

 

Updates and revisions

I got up this morning after lying in bed contemplating how this piece was not finished. After dinner, I changed all that!

"Juno with Robins", (c)Daryl-Ann Dartt Hurst, 2015, mixed media, 12" x 12"

“Juno with Robins”, (c)Daryl-Ann Dartt Hurst, 2015, mixed media, 12″ x 12″

Now. those of you who don’t know what a blizzard “looks” like, have an idea.

I also worked on the two canvases that I have in progress. “Modigliani’s Mistress” is smiling now-sort of. I blocked out more of the ground, and added a second eye to the face, as well.

"Modigliani'a Mistress", (c)Daryl-Ann Dartt Hurst, in progress

“Modigliani’a Mistress”, (c)Daryl-Ann Dartt Hurst, in progress (sorry this is slightly out-of-focus)

And, the work that changed the most…

untitled, (c)Daryl-Ann Dartt Hurst, 2015, in progress

untitled, (c)Daryl-Ann Dartt Hurst, 2015, in progress

These canvases start completely saturated with paint thinner, to enable the wash effects that I work with. This one got its’ third “bath” tonight, got flipped upside down from the last time I worked on it. I added the metallic gold, white, and deepened some of the purple. It important to note here also that the underlying texture is part of my prep process which includes creating that texture with acrylic paint and a palette knife.

I am hoping to have these canvases both finished this week-end, since there is a call for 100 Market Street that I would like to submit something to. If not, not a tragedy!

I did a lot of shoveling this morning, so an early night for me. Enjoy!

One definition of “Art in Small Places”

I have a large solo going up next week that includes work that came down on the 11th. It got wrapped and stacked in my studio/living room until Feb 1, when it gets delivered to the Gafney Library.

I am trying to get ready for the call for Gallery at 100 Market in Portsmouth, and I also have created a large number of watercolor/mixed media pieces on paper within the last few weeks.

As I was trying to cut foamcore and mats I realized that I have basically no room until this work goes north.

Cutting mats in the last remaining floor space

Cutting mats in the last remaining floor space

This defines dedication for an artist, I think. This is my living room. No real complaints (aside from I have run out of room), but I want to show the rest of the world that a lot of us don’t go to these gloriously naturally lit huge empty spaces to work. Many of us have spaces in our homes. In my case, my entire apartment is my studio-and that’s not the exception to the rule either!!

another view of the work space

another view of the work space

So, as I cut mats, stretch canvas, etc., I might also be moving furniture.  Cutting down a full sheet of mat board on the floor might be a challenge tonight.

Gabe Smith’s “Gray Planet” at the Gafney Library, Sanbornville, New Hampshire

This show exemplifies ALL of the reasons this blog came to exist, all of the reasons that I champion libraries in the area for showing really fine regional work, and finding and seeing work by a total unknown. (In a small place-like Sanbornville.)

Gabe Smith graduated high school in 2010, and is demonstrating in his show at the Gafney called “Gray Planet” sophistication in an art vocabulary that goes far beyond his years on the planet Earth and his scholastic art training.

His theme for his work is both very personal and universal. He has dealt with friends who have committed suicide and acts of self-harm. He approaches this theme with mediums, like motor oil and drywall, which are also very temporary and unstable, things that will chip and eventually fall apart. Much like us “gray people”. His mediums rarely are traditional and he relies on mixed medium, found objects and spray paint.

Gabe Smith at the Gafney

Gabe Smith at the Gafney

He was very gracious and walked through the show with me, explaining the inspiration of some pieces and the collage elements in others. Again, for a first-timer, extremely ready to face this art world.

"Hobo", (c)Gabe Smith

“Hobo”, (c)Gabe Smith

“Hobo” has among it’s materials used, old maps of Maine-they are the hobo’s face.

"Gray Planets" on the mantel, "Space and Stuff", large piece above, all (c) Gabe Smith

“Gray Planets” on the mantel, “Space and Stuff”, large piece above, all (c) Gabe Smith

Now, remind me again-where is this show?

So, Gabe is a multi-talented artist and also performed at the Wakefield Opera House tonight. The opening reception at the library was followed by his performance which I opted out of.

Find Gabe Smith Pop Culture Icon on YouTube, and check out http://gafneylibrary.weebly.com/ for library and show hours. This show is up until the end of the month.

 

 

 

In lieu of successful framing

All is not lost when I have an additional few hours to make things work!

Since I have joined the piece-a-day challenge, I actually feel an obligation to fulfill that. And, I am.

I like these 3 little collages. Again, I am reworking mediums “from old” into some new work. Not museum quality, but gettin’ there!

"What Remains", (c) Daryl-Ann Dartt Hurst, mm, 6" x 6"

“What Remains”, (c) Daryl-Ann Dartt Hurst, mm, 6″ x 6″

"Cyembra", (c) Dcaryl-Ann Dartt Hurst, 2015, mm. 6":x 6"

“Cyembra”, (c) Daryl-Ann Dartt Hurst, 2015, mm. 6″:x 6″

"Crazy Dreams", (c) Daryl-Ann Dartt Hurst, 2015. mm, 6" x 6"

“Crazy Dreams”, (c) Daryl-Ann Dartt Hurst, 2015. mm, 6″ x 6″

So, the frustrations of framing today at least manifested itself in some pleasantly fun collage work. And, I do feel mildly accomplished for the day.

I also started by creating texture, a larger canvas (18″ x 24″), but I will not have a chance to start adding paint to it til later in the week.

“Challenges”

I have offered myself up this new challenge of melding realism and abstraction. That will be ongoing.

Today, I decided to up-the-ante with a continual calendar of personal challenges, both art and personal, for 2015. Not big resolutions, but daily or weekly goals.

I have never been a great watercolor landscape painter, but there is no time like the present to practice.

"Quechee Gorge", 2014, watercolor on Arches, (c)Daryl-Ann Dartt Hurst

“Quechee Gorge”, 2014, watercolor on Arches, (c)Daryl-Ann Dartt Hurst

I also added to, and finished “Dinner for Two”.

"Dinner for Two", 2014, watercolor, oil and chalk pastel, (c) Daryl-Ann Dartt Hurst

“Dinner for Two”, 2014, watercolor, oil and chalk pastel, (c) Daryl-Ann Dartt Hurst

September Happenings

Coming up: September Song opening reception at Blackbird Studio & Gallery, 387 Somerswoth Road (Rte. 9), North Berwick, Maine on September 6th, from 3-7 PM. The Seacoast Moderns will host the opening for “Igniting the Modern Muse” (our gallery group show) on September 28th, from 4-6 PM at the Kittery Art Association, 8 Coleman Avenue, Kittery Point, Maine . I am planning to teach a rendering in watercolor workshop/how to layer, working wet-on-wet, to develop shadows and richness in color at Blackbird on Tuesday, September 16th and Tuesday, September 23rd, from 6-8 PM- two-2 hour classes, $45 per person, materials included. (Contact me @artinsmallplaces@gmail.com for more information) And today: marketing, marketing and more marketing. Etsy, Pinterest, FineArtAmerica, society6, Houzz, my website and my blog….for starters.

Blackbird Studio and Gallery at sunrise-the dawn of a new movement! (c)Daryl-Ann Dartt Hurst

Blackbird Studio and Gallery at sunrise-the dawn of a new movement! (c)Daryl-Ann Dartt Hurst

Next morph of “Truant’s Holiday”

"Truant's Holiday", phase 2, in progress. (c)daryl-Ann Dartt Hurst

“Truant’s Holiday”, phase 2, in progress. (c)Daryl-Ann Dartt Hurst

“Truant’s Holiday”, in progress

This is the largest canvas this year, measuring 38″ x 50″. It’ll be a few more weeks before this baby gets framed!

Truant's Holiday, in progress. Oil on canvas. 38" x 50"

Truant’s Holiday, in progress. (Detail) Oil on canvas.
38″ x 50″

Rochester Public Library, May 2014.

Muzyczny, Stellacotta, Drama in D Major-(c) Daryl-Ann Dartt Hurst, 2014

Muzyczny, Stellacotta, Drama in D Major-(c) Daryl-Ann Dartt Hurst, 2014

Three tile pieces at the Rochester Public LIbrary.

Three tile pieces at the Rochester Public LIbrary.