In the kitchen

For the most part, I’ve stopped showing the early stages of my paintings. One thing that I’ve learned after running this site for 8 years is that readers assume that I only post finished work–the opposite of what I actually do.

But one of the reasons for this blog is pedagogical. I like sharing information even though I don’t like teaching. I think that sharing information is especially important today.

Art has been in a rut for many decades, continually grinding over the same things. I actually think modern art died over a century ago–in the trenches of WWI. You might disagree but the energy and optimism that fueled modern art before the war vanished a long time ago. I maintain that the history of the 20th century is above all the history of marketing and marketing’s bigger and meaner brother: propaganda.

One thing that artists always strive for is ease, the appearance of effortlessness in manner and style. Unfortunately, this worthy goal is the primary aesthetic today, driving out all other considerations.

With the help of photography and video, it’s easier today than at any time in the past to produce works that appear effortless. This is a problem for young artists. You only learn by taking deep dives and tackling difficult problems. Without tough problems to solve, we are awash with effortless-seeming works that unironically repeat last season’s fashion.

I admit that I find it hard to understand why young artists don’t turn away from the facile and dive into the deep end. If nothing else, such a direction would set them apart from the crowd.

But I am seeing some positive signs lately. A subject for another day.

Here is a recently-started painting. This photo shows it after 4 sessions; many more to go. Par for me for a painting of this size is 12 sessions.

Woman in a Black-stripped Dress (54″ x 40″) is the first painting made from my new linen roll. The white-oil ground is over several layers of GAC 100. I did not use a mid-value, neutral ground this time. I’m having immense fun painting the background.

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