Even though most of my portfolio is acrylic and oil paintings, I actually haven’t painted in a few years. It’s kind of ironic, especially since I’d really really would like that someone commissioned some portraits from me *cough*, but I can understand why not if my portfolio is a bit out of date in that field and the few I have painted are with either myself or really impatient models. I’ve yet to paint a portrait that really flatters someone, please someone give me the chance! I know I could just do it on my own, but I am so poor right now I can’t “waste” materials like a canvas and paint. Sigh.
What I really wanted to say is that it’s been so long since I’ve painted that I somewhat feel like I am starting over, if that makes sense. I think when anyone pursues art as a profession or hobby, they go through a “phase”. It doesn’t matter what art form it is. Photography: you’ll want to take the perfect sunset, the perfect flower close up, a bird close up, an insect, a cool cityscape, meaningful portrait. Film: Depending on your tastes, you’ll want to make that mafia film, zombie movie, coming-of-age film. Painting: You want to paint a landscape, a cityscape, a portrait, and something in the spotlight (that’s the one I’m doing now).
The most iconic images, you’ll want to recreate…and if you’re starting out, you’ll be disillusioned that you’re being original even though what you’re really doing is practicing forming ideas. That’s actually perfectly okay, and I encourage it! If you talked to me maybe 5 years ago, I would’ve chewed you out for being generic, but I’ve long since realized there is no such thing as an original idea.We’re all inspired by something around us, and being in a society where you can easily access art lets us absorb lots of previously done ideas. It’s impossible one of those ideas won’t show up in your art. Likewise, when something feels really original, it’s more because it’s culturally relevant and probably something that hasn’t been seen in a long time*. Going through this “phase” lets you get those really generic things out of your head and it’s like baby steps for learning how to develop an idea so that it will be more your own. It’s the training wheels of concept.
Making something your own, I‘d argue, is more important in art than pursuing being original. But I’m a pretty traditional painter and don’t really care for reinventing the painting medium. I’m not gonna start using my foot or house pant, or painting with gunpowder and fire. It’s not my thing. I appreciate academic painting.
So right now, I am recreating an image I painted very long ago of a ballerina in the spotlight. I’ll explain more later. I anticipate I will probably want to do a pretty cliche landscape next, because I really feel like going through baby steps and seeing how much my painting technique has improved and how I can make really cliche images into my own thing.
* There are things that are truly original, like art depicting new technology, a huge change in culture and society. You can’t say that before the 2000s, pro-LGBT+ art was readily present and sci-fi art definitely was non-existant in something like the 1500s. But you know what I really mean… painting yet another Bob Ross mountainscape is not original, even if you have a different composition and style.
Credit: Bob Ross.
Photos: No idea, but googled sunset, flower, and bird close up.
Oh yeah, why do photographers obsess over photographing the moon? It pretty much ALWAYS looks the same, maybe slightly rotated.