Oil paint is one of my favorite mediums to work with, simply because of its lucidity. Oil responds to the artist’s touch; it is malleable, unfixed, and an oil painting can never really be finished. I’ve worked hard to transition from the rigidity of printmaking, and even drawing, into the fluidity of oil painting. Over break, I looked into a few artists with Behance who had stylistic and mark-making qualities like those I aspire to have in my own work.
Dorothe by Onur Izci isn’t a masterpiece. In fact, the painting was done directly on the wall of his living room (which raises a few questions), but that aside, his artistic qualities are commendable. What I’m particularly drawn to about this work is the ease at which detail is achieved. Intricacy is an interesting thing in art. Sometimes a painting with defined detailing can be striking, and other times, abrasive. A painting can be minimal and use simplicity to it’s advantage, creating a soft or alternatively expressive work, or it can be minimal and muddy.
Here, Izci’s marks are harsh and firm in just the right places. The detailing of the nose is the perfect balance between rigidity to create structure, while the values still remain soft and expressive. The painting as a whole has a wonderfully impressionist quality about it, the likes of which I have always envied. I hope in the my last two weeks of my independent study I can find my own ways of expressing subject matter is a less literal way. Some criticism I have for Izci concerns the left plain of the figure. The right side of the painting is clear, concise even, while the left has become muddy. Whether or not this was the intentional affect, it really takes away from the strength this portrait could have if both of the sides had been developed.
Aastha Sharma was another artist I found useful for reference. Her work has a sense of realism that also manages to be obscure. The technicality of the portrait is fabulous, but it’s really the mark-making that creates the aesthetic of the painting. The paint has movement. When you look at this painting, the marks actually lead your eyes through the entire subject. Sharma has managed to represent her figure three dimensionally on the two dimensional plain, and then strategically flattens the figure in specific places to create the narrative effect we see. I think her use of color is phenomenal, and the work done around the eyes is particularly noteworthy.
In the beginning of my independent, I felt pressure to fine tune my technical skills and explore the plains of the human figure. Now, I’ve come to terms with how I work in portraiture, extending beyond the human figure. Anything can be a portrait if it’s framed the right way. I’ve been doing portrait studies with botanical figures and still life subject matter, all of which can still carry the same expressionism as the human face.
I’m surprised at the challenges I’ve met along the way. I am less inclined to do the monotype printmaking I set out to do, and instead find myself turning towards different avenues. In fact, my independent study has almost done a 360°. Photography is less appealing to me as well. I’d imagine that its the therapeutic nature of making fine art that trumps my priorities enough to put it out of my mind. Over Thanksgiving, looking at my portfolio for college, I came to this realization, and at first, I was terrified. This wasn’t what I had drafted out, and I hadn’t met the specific goals I had set in the beginning of the year. What if I failed my independent because of this?
To some extent, I’m a little disappointed to have a declining inclination towards these two art forms I had previously enjoyed. However, I am young, I am an artist, and sometimes things change for the better. I may not have met the specific goals I set, but I’ve created new ones and forged new bonds to other mediums. I’m grateful for the explorative opportunity my independent has provided me thus far.
I still love printmaking, and hopefully I’ll have the opportunity to work with etching soon; my true printmaking passion. For now, I take my inclination for painting with stride, and work to make good art.