HA! I've discovered the secret to great art!

This is probably blindingly obvious to most of you, but I must express it anyway.

Bush is a moron. If you voted for him, you’re a moron too. The death penalty is stupid. Elvis sucked. I watch reruns of The Brady Bunch, and I like it.

There. I’ve said it. No apologies. No excuses. Take no prisoners. Don’t like it? Fuck off.

That’s the approach I’ve decided to take concerning art. All my life I’ve been intimidated, living like I’m a poor excuse for a human being. But fuck that. No more mister Nice Guy. No apologies. No excuses. Take no prisoners. Don’t like it? Fuck off.

In a month, I’m going to exhibit some of my paintings. They aren’t done yet, but as a safety, I already have some that are pretty good. This gives me some latitude to be bold.

Two of them will be boat pictures. I took some chances on them, and I can assuredly tell you that they are fantastic. Here’s the thing – I forgot that I suck as a painter. I pretended to be some fantastic and head-strong French artiste, whose very used toilet paper sells for millions. And you know what? It showed in my brushwork. It’s like I was channelling the great artists of history. It wasn’t me who was painting, it was them. They were just using my hands.

So we come to the third painting. Not wanting to be known as the Boat Guy, I want to do something a little different. Last spring I took some photos of my niece. She has an interesting face. And, having painted her sister, I thought it would only be fair to do likewise.

Several months ago, I did a profile view of her. I got nothing but compliments on it. It moved me ahead, artistically, by leaps and bounds.

Faces are hard. Frontal faces are difficult. Profiles are a little easier. But 3/4 views are extremely challenging. Artists didn’t even attempt them until something like the 16th century. And in this particular photo, my subject was trying to look sad and pensive, but she could barely keep a straight face, the goofball. This gave her a sort of enigmatic half-smile. I understand that Leonardo attempted something like that once, and it has come under occasional discussion ever since.

So the challenges to me are great. And I’m really not that good. No, wait – I am that good. I’m fantastic. You must tremble before my knees, knaves. No apologies. No excuses. Take no prisoners. Don’t like it? Fuck off.

So anyway, I started this painting. I was very careful to draw the proportions right. I used every technique I knew. Then I carefully traced every line to paper, and tried to match the colors in paint. I was careful. I was timid. I took great pains not to make a mistake.

Here’s the thing about painting life – If you paint a tree, and one of the limbs is the wrong size, it still looks like a tree. If you paint an old barn, and the roof looks a little too saggy, all the better. But paint a human and make a mistake, and it looks like a gross deformity. Apologize. Make excuses. Don’t like it? I’m so sorry.

And the painting sucked. It looked like a middle-aged bitch with downs syndrome.

So I tried it again. More carefully. I very nearly traced the photo. I used very little pigment, so as not to do anything ugly. And the end result sucked even more. It was dull, lifeless, and like an ugly, deformed cartoon. And the amount of pigment I used could fit into a 1/4 teaspoon.

What was doing wrong? I was doing everything right. How could it turn out so bad? Why couldn’t I capture the “nieceness” of my niece?

I looked at the photo again. What is it about her? The answer dawned on me. She’s a precocious child, a goofball kid, who is turning into a very sexy – yes, sexy – young lady. It’s a very interesting combination. I’m sorry if that makes me sound like a creepy uncle, but – No, I’m not sorry. Get over it. The girl is a sexy child, and you’d be an idiot or blind to say otherwise. I’m not the creepy uncle. You’re the creepy uncle! Nyah!

And so that’s what I decided to paint. A precocious sexy woman/child with an enigmatic smile. I forgot about proportion. I ignored realism. I discarded every rule I’d ever read in any art instruction book. I became a passionate French Creepy Uncle expressing a Precocious Sexy Woman/Child with an Enigmatic Smile. I didn’t try not to offend. In fact, I wanted to be as offensive as possible. And I used color. No apologies. No excuses. Take no prisoners. Don’t like it? Fuck off.

And you know what? Even though I’m not finished (I still have a lot to do), it looks like her. There’s no mistaking who it is. It doesn’t whisper her. It SCREAMS her!

Attitude. It’s not just for breakfast anymore. :cool:

Yeah, sure, whatever, just please don’t ask for an NEA grant.

:stuck_out_tongue: Not to worry.

And in our next chapter Leonardo will discuss his thoughts during the creation of The Last Supper.

Congratulations! You are almost there…I detect that you are still responding to how you believe viewers will respond (all that “Fuck off” stuff).

The next step is to forget about the viewers all together. There is no them to tell to “Fuck off.”

Paint what you like, how you like to, for you, to satisfy you.

Thanks, Icarus. Yeah, the people I’m telling that to are largely the judges in my own head.

There’s a great book by Mary Whyte that talks about this very thing. There is nearly no content on technique, and a lot about how to see the inner beauty of a subject and paint it with passion. To paraphrase her, my problem was that I was trying to be a journalist and not a poet.

The viewers are spoons?

Tell them to fork off.

Now, now. Be knife.

Sorry. I should have been more ladle-like.

You *are *a little saucer today!

What can I say, it’s my cup of tea.

Heh, you guys can really dish out the jokes.

Yeah, but these are only so-so. Not one of 'ems bowled me over.

Wok on over here. I’ve got a spatula with your name on it. Who’s your buddy?

Ummm… If this is a discussion about tdn’s attitude towards art, fine. If it’s just a pun-fest, then let me know and I’ll move it to MPSIMS.

That only works sometines.


Oh, thank goodness **LHoD **replied first.

It seems it’s no longer about 'er art, butter dish.

holds out hands for the cuffs

Take us away, moderator. The Fat Lady has sung. Mama casserole in her grave if we keep this up!

The thing is, you need to learn, know, and for a time abide by those “rules” in order to break them meaningfully and creatively.

Absolutely. And I’m doing so. But it seems like there comes a time when you realize that you are a slave to those rules, and everything you do is little more than an etude. Busting out of that confining box is pretty liberating.