Independent Study

One of the great things about being a painting major is that as you progress through the program there is an increased focus on independent work, the whole point of the major is to develop and improve your own unique style. Most years I have started the semester out with an idea of where I would like to go and what I would like to work on, however this year I’ve got nothing. As an artist, its not uncommon to find yourself in a creative rut and I’ve found the best thing to do when inspiration is lacking is to look at images of your favorite paintings through art history, paintings that are compositionally or stylistically in the same vein of the work you most recently made. It ain’t the best feeling, I know, but as painters it comes with the territory! and in fact usually a swell of creative thinking and the best paintings come immediately after the dam breaks, so to speak, on creative rut! we must persist!!

So, I have two 30 by 40 canvases sitting in the corner of my studio – the most ambitious size I’ve ever gotten – staring at me with their ever judging gaze, getting increasingly impatient for not having worked on them yet. BUT I’m gonna make it my goal to put something on them this week. Before I do though It may be a good idea to have some semblance of an idea So, I’ve made a collection of images of famous paintings in the hopes it’ll spark some inspiration.

First up is some works by Klimt. A friend and I have been discussing art history quite often recently and she has pretty much sold me on Klimt. Not that I didn’t like him in the past but I’ve sorta looked over his work. His ability to immortalize such a sensual moment is time evokes a certain type of emotion in the viewer that i cant quite explain but is something I would like to emulate.

This is a random image I pulled from a million and one paintings portraying the ascension of JC. coming out of working heavily with religious subject matter, I really have come to admire the theme’s ability to tell a story and its exquisite compositional quality. Now, I’m not sure I want to continue with the whole religious theme (on account that it was a super bummer) but I am going forward with everything I’ve learned from it in hopes that it informs new work. Always a great thing to learn from the things you once were into but not so much anymore, its called evolution folks!

Finally we got the German Expressionist paintings. I love this era in art history! Weird, powerful, a little creepy, but never boring! I am looking heavily at this sort of work (especially Munch’s) to inform how I would like to portray the many figures I plan on painting onto these very large, very scary, canvases. There is so much out there that is inspiring so when you’re in a creative rut don’t throw your paint brush out the window hop on google or better yet find yourself a book on a certain artist or era in art history to help guide your way!

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