I ran across an open letter to artists from Joe Paquet this week. He wrote it some time back. But hot on the heels of his address to the Plein Air Convention, with his address still fresh in my mind, I found his open letter quite compelling. His singular way of expressing himself which does not allow artistic folderol into the mix, seems comfortably blue collar to me. Joe does not take prisoners. He simply tells it like it is, and let the chips fall where they may. His head-on delivery may not be as polished as some, but there is no mistaking his meaning. And he is passionate about his beliefs and his work. His eyes light up when he talks about his work. If you go to his blog page http://www.joepaquet.com/index.php you can read his open letter online or download to read and review at a later time. I did both.
He has emerged as somebody I had not thought to take a class with, but has become somebody whose class I am most anxious to take. He makes you think, strip away the veneer and get down to brass tacks.
|Ray Robert's Palette|
Definitely an Original
With every impending birthday I feel no closer to feeling good about my work. I wonder does every artist feel this, or am I super sensitive to this issue? I do not want to pay money to a workshop teacher who will show me a few facile tricks and be oh so kind about my work. What point is this? I think that the workshop with Mr. Paquet would be a good one. It would make me think. Hopefully give me direction in which to grow and learn. It’s a fine line a teacher/mentor walks. They cannot sink your boat and still teach you anything, other than frustration and despair. But neither should they fawn over the work extolling its virtues. You will not advance. And its the workshops that make you think about your work in a different context that are the most valuable.
Compliments engender complacency and complacency is a vicious thing. It allows you to become satisfied with whatever level you are working. It’s often easy to paint in a way that your public likes. it's safe. But you (meaning I)can’t stop there . That’s creative death. A new solution to a painting problem is always waiting to be discovered. And the new solution incorporated into your tool bag is what keeps your work fresh. Sometimes you need a teacher to point out what is lacking. Self critique is really good, but it has the inherent limit of being one person’s perspective, your own. And it is so much easier to critique your fellow painters than to judge your own. I think all reflective, thinking artists who give a damn about their work, appreciate an honest critique. It’s often not easy to hear, but it’s oh so necessary.
|Painter along the coast of Monterey|
I think the singular thing that I am taking of inestimable value from the convention is to be original, not derivative. I am taking to heart the importance of getting the work done, to find my singular, non-derivative voice. Joe Paquet is an original. I thank him for his wisdom and I appreciate the sharing of this wisdom.
Now to incorporate it into my work.
Favorite quote of the day:
Clever does not equate art. (Daniela Andersen)