Monday, September 18, 2017

An Art Crossroads

Two pictures of somewhat suggestive peaches. Also the art that made me put this blog behind an "adult content" interstitial.
My tutor, who is awesome, asked me to try an experiment: to take a reference photo they had taken, and make it as lascivious as possible. To this I basically anted (a word which means to increase the pot in a game of poker, i.e. "up the ante" is basically "up the stakes") doing it in colored pencil and watercolors. To which they anted doing it in colored pencil and watercolors while emphasizing brushstrokes.

Aquapasto is still very new to me, and as a medium it's turning out to take experimentation to figure out how much I need to add to get the effects I want. But given that my art has always been less representational when I'm allowed to explore, even though I'm very capable of doing realistic art, my tutor wanted me to explore brushstrokes.

So I did? Sort of? It's obvious I did it far more in the watercolor/aquapasto painting on the right than in the colored pencil work on the left.

But while both are examples of less representational work, the colored pencil version is what I'd call "illustrator-like" and the watercolor/aquapasto version is what I'd call "painterly", I suppose.

I know that according to other artist tutors I've had in the past, I'm supposed to realize that the colored pencil art is more precise and thus "better" than the painterly, looser art. And I had a lot more trouble with the painterly art than with the colored pencil—there's no doubt of that.

But my tutor is different. My tutor has never tried to impose a style on me at all, simply opened up doors for me to explore and figure out what I want to do. I know this isn't a comfortable learning situation for most students, but it's what I both want and need.

So this is a crossroads. I can either continue down the precise path, which is still not fully representational; or I can continue down the painterly, loose, wobbly, far more difficult to navigate path, which is even less representational.

My tutor would not be disappointed in me for either path I chose. Almost all of my other tutors would be highly disappointed if I chose the wobbly path, and likely refuse to teach me anymore. Any future art I post to any artist forums will likely be ridiculed or derided, or my skill put into question.

Doing the painterly path will only lead to social woes and people calling me a poser and a fake artist.

Oh well. They can all step on legos for all I care.

The wobbly, far more difficult, looser, painterly, less acceptable art path it is then. I thought the colored pencil version was pretty good, but the watercolor/aquapasto version just... feels much more me, much more alive, much more expressive—from the colors to the value contrast to the shapes to the composition to the strokes. Across the art spectrum, the painterly version is just better, in all but one aspect—representational ones.

And I really don't give a damn about doing representational work.