New Years brings with it a host of good intentions, that we will do something positive in our lives. It also makes us take stock of what we need and are in a position to change. It is important to many of us to use this milestone as a mile marker on our journey that here, with intent, we altered our course.
I did that today. I finally put up a new website. My old one had ceased to function, and seemed to be a portal for enhancement products that I would never try or need. I tried to filter the allowed messages from that site, to no avail. So I had not updated it in a dog’s age. It was an embarrassment in an age where we are often judged by our digital selves. My kids thought it was good, but hey, they have never had a purely dispassionate view of what I do anyhow.
So I took some of my paintings, a few that didn’t turn out too horrifically, and populated a canned website, rather than going through the ordeal of making another flash driven site. How on earth did I ever find the time before to do all that? My blog will continue to talk about the process, and to dismember the efforts and to discuss the trials of painting, especially plein air. But this new website will be a window for most of the world to see, and through it, maybe own one of my pieces. It’s really a showcase rather than an artist’s ramblings, as is this place. Now I had to look at them in a body. The better to compare them?
I find I paint things predictably the same. I am now making a new New Year’s vow (having fulfilled my first one with the creation of my new site) to try to mix it up some. To not paint so safely, to take more chances and be willing to trash more than I keep, so I can GROW as an artist. That has always been the goal. To have someone look at one of my paintings and appreciate it emotionally, is a real bonus, one I never expect. For someone to really ‘get’ what I am saying in paint and canvas is the ultimate compliment. I often use painting as an affirmation of my appreciation of life itself, and a way to say thank you for that life.
To consciously try to change one’s painting direction is not the same as trying to alter one’s personal style. I really have never tried to achieve a style, (says the lady who wears sweats to the point where I forget where I put my regular clothes). I think that painting is as personal as handwriting, that the message distilled by our brains is hardwired in a certain way. And because it is unique, it is translated very specifically as our own. I believe our own styles advance as we mature as artists. We find our own vocabulary and phraseology in this language of art. I am still learning to refine the message. I hope to never feel the consummate communicator. To feel that way would be to die artistically.
Rage against stagnancy. Revel in the mystery and opportunity. These are resolutions 2 and 3. Happy New Year!
My role as an artist is to be honest with myself, so that I make Art that is solely mine. I have no illusions that what I do does or will matter to anyone other than me in the end. Not to slight those who collect it, and compliment me on it, that’s an honor that I never discount. When Art is your life, however, you live it, breath it, are up and down with it. If I stay true to myself and honestly evaluate what and how I’m creating it, then all of the other factors will fall into the place that they belong, whatever that may be.
(Marc Hanson) during an interview for OPA(Oil Painters of America)