Never let them see you technique

Never let them see you technique
"I'll Scratch Your Back..."

Sometimes, at a workshop or event, an instructor will make a grand pronouncement. “Phalo blue is an awful color!” Or, “Square paintings are boring.” And while I may agree (or disagree), I tend to take these pronouncements with a grain of salt. That’s their opinion. Sometimes there is a reason. Sometimes even a good reason. But it’s an opinion. Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot of backlash about technique. I’ve had several teachers proclaim that, “You should never notice the painter’s technique.”

What I think the cognescenti are objecting to is artists who attend a workshop where the leader uses a particular technique that is so recognizable that when the students take it back to their own studio, the painting ends up looking like a copy. An example might be Audrey Hepburn’s black dress and pearls or Jacqueline Kennedy in Chanel; it isn’t that you can’t rock that look, but you better not say you came up with it. Jackson Pollock’s splatters remain their own, inimitable achievement. Piet Mondrain continues to own squares and white cancas.

So, when I set out to use up my liquid charcoal by spreading it lavishly on a piece of Yupo, I immediately had concerns. Would this just be a technique exercise? Would anyone be able to see my goals? I’m not sure the painting below is finished, but I’ll leave it to you. Is this too much technique and not enough content?

” I’ll Sctach Your Back…” – Liquid charcoal on Yupo

Art on the Edge… approaches

Friday was the opening of the Art on the Edge Artist Exhibit. The show will be up through July 2. The maps have now been updated on the web, and if anyone would like me to mail them an information packet, just let me know. Under two weeks until the tour!

Here’s a video of the exhibition, led by Krista Eddy, the visual artist director.

I hope you’ve made plans to come visit!

4 Comments on “Never let them see you technique

  1. Love the horses. As for the technique BS you do you and to hell with the rest of them!

  2. I definitely don’t think it’s too much technique. The painting is very expressive. The content is all in the tenderness between the two horses. As for using a technique from a workshop, if you take it away and use it for your own themes, it becomes yours. At the workshop, the instructor did berries, at home, you do wading birds. My instructor did old houses, I do salt marshes. We grow!