the things I love best as the editor for Artist Daily is getting to know the
artists in our community. A few weeks ago, I saw a mixed media portrait in the
Member Gallery that caught my attention. The painting--a girl with wild,
colorful hair and a tranquil expression on her face--looked like some kind of punk-rock
angel. The contrast of bold colors in the figure's hair--red and blue--and her sweet,
tender face were startling and lovely.
As much as the stereotype of the solitary painter working alone and
shutting him- or herself off from the world makes artists seem
mysterious and cool, I’ve found that artists tend to be fairly social
creatures, and their cool factor isn’t lessened by their sense of
community. Sometimes this is situational—you are in a painting or
drawing workshop or class, and you swap stories and commiserate and
encourage your fellow students because you are working through the same
issues and assignments.
When I was a kid, my mom always cut coupons on Sunday morning. I’d sit
beside her and do the same, but I’d flip through magazines and
newspapers and cut out pictures I liked or lettering that I thought was
neat, and I never gave up my artsy coupon clipping habit because it’s a
great way to pull inspirational images into my orbit.
When it comes to choosing a subject to paint, one of the most
convenient is the face you see in the mirror every day. But
self-portraiture comes with a complicated set of questions—how do you
see yourself versus how do you present yourself? What are you trying to
communicate with the work? Who will see it and why? Perhaps the most
important questions of all: What are you as the artist hoping to get
out of the process?
Good painters don’t merely re-create what
is in front of
them. An experienced artist knows how to create a successful painting no
what situation or model he or she is presented with. Of course, this
often comes after years of
practice and experimentation—as well as the development of a unique
voice—but there are some basic characteristics that all good paintings