Loving My Art

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I recently discovered a new artist who I'm slightly obsessed with: Gwenn Seemel. She has an incredibly distinctive style and huge backlog of blog posts for me to catch up on. I was recently going through a series of her 17 tips for loving your own art, and thinking about how to apply them to my own work.

Many of the items on her list are opposites, such as suggestions 1 & 2: find other artists' work that you consider boring, and learn to appreciate other artists' work. So lately I've been trying to think really critically about my reaction to other artists' work when I see it--what do I like about this, or why am I not a fan? I want to understand my visceral reactions to others' work because it helps me better understand my own work.

Art that I find boring: super detailed representational art. If I'm honest, part of it is that I'm a wee bit jealous--super realistic works shows so much technical mastery that I just do not have, and worry that I might never achieve either. But it's also...boring. It has no heart. What's the difference between it and a photograph? Very little, so I might as well save myself hours of work and go the photo route!

I've tried a bit of detailed work and found it irritates me. Highly detailed or miniature works will probably never be a large part of my portfolio because creating them makes me antsy and pisses me off. I'm too impatient--ain't nobody got time for a million layers! Fuck off tiny brushes! I want big brushes and big sheets of paper to make large, sweeping, expressive motions. Or I use palette knives to make one-layer and done abstracts that need no further fiddling from me.

Dull or muted colors are also a big turn off for me. I recently scrolled through the works of another watercolor artist who paints very skilled plein air landscapes. I was surprised by how strong my immediate and visceral dislike was! But I had to do a bit of introspection to realize it was because I couldn't stand the colors--there was just so much BROWN in the examples. Brown is one of my very least favorite colors (along with white).

Art I love: I love color! I love bright, clean colors. I dig neon, and high chroma color schemes (high chroma colors are pure colors, with no white or black added). Give me bright rainbow colors any day.

I like strong contrast and largely abstract or impressionist work. Paintings that balance between realistic and suggestive, or super simplistic works that leave a lot to the imagination, and trust the viewer will understand. I also enjoy paintings with interesting line work.

And of course I love watercolor art that showcase the uniqueness of the medium, its tendency to flow and move out of the artist's control. I think it's important to lean into its differences from acrylic or oil paint, or what's the point? Just stick with those stodgy, predictable mediums.

What about you? What type of art really speaks to you? Realistic, abstract, bright, neutral, anything in between?


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