Thursday, 20 August 2009

The subject matter must serve the needs of the artist.

I remember years ago my brother, the famous netsuke carver, Clive Hallam, telling me that in terms of subject matter one should always chose those things that allowed you to explore and express what it was really captured your imagination.

I've come to see this as the crux of how I now approach my own work, because in reality, I think of almost everything I do in abstract terms. If I choose to render a dragonfly, for instance, I do so because the structure is so intriguing to me. The challenge of finding a way of giving some expression to my representation of these aspects that reflects the initial appeal is the way I delve ever deeper into my medium. With each new point of departure into a new aspect of exploration I discover more and learn better how to render what I'm experiencing in my medium, metal.

I found the work of Sadie J Valieri, a San Francisco based classical artist, to perfectly illustrate this concept. This is one of her paintings in oils. You can see how her concerns are purely to do with tonal values and subtle textures...almost ethereal qualities the way she renders them. She is undoubtedly a classicist in terms of her technique and perhaps even her subject matter but it still feels very fresh and relevant to me. Some might call this type of work old fashioned...I'd respond that a real artist has no interested in fashion at all.

This is a link to her blog where you can read her ongoing commentary on her own artistic journey and here's a link to her website if you'd like to see more of her art.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Something someone else once said....

“The better work men do is always done under stress and at great personal cost.” 

“But all art is sensual and poetry particularly so. It is directly, that is, of the senses, and since the senses do not exist without an object for their employment all art is necessarily objective. It doesn't declaim or explain, it presents. To refine, to clarify, to intensify that eternal moment in which we alone live there is but a single force… the imagination.”

“What can any of us do with his talent but try to develop his vision, so that through frequent failures we may learn better what we have missed in the past.”

“But the thing that stands eternally in the way of really good writing is always one: the virtual impossibility of lifting to the imagination those things which lie directly under the direct scrutiny of the senses, close to the nose. It is this difficulty that sets a value on all works of art and makes them a necessity.”

William Carlos Williams (1883 - 1963)  

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Into every life a little Zen must fall...

"The real master in the art of living makes little distinction between his art and his leisure, He simply pursues his vision of excellence in whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he is always doing both."