Sunday, September 26, 2010

Artists Statements and other Symbols

Here is a test: (*answer at the bottom of this post)
What does this Really mean? 

I recently had some requests for my "artists statement".
Oh nooooooo!!!!
"Please not my artists statement", I whine to myself...

But okay. It's okay because I have one...well,  I actually have several because they keep changing. I always cringe when someone requests it and I go back into it and change it up and save yet another version. Why?  Because it doesn't ring right for me every time I read it. So I re-write it. And then it works that day. My latest version is a straight forward explanation of my painting process. Nothing mysterious. And I don't sound clever...

I am not a very good writer. That's why I am a painter!  I want to beg the person requesting my artist statement to just look at my work.. THAT is the statement I wanted to make that day I painted a particular painting. Today it may be different.

 I used really simple names for my paintings, too - like:

Bass in Sunlight©DotCourson

But in my heart, I know what they want they want: They want an overriding theoretical reference point and framework that globally describes the philosophical principals that I use to communicate in my work and the 12 step program I metaphysically adhere to in brilliantly guiding my spiritual/social meditative mood swings in creating my work. Right?  And why is all that so important?

I say that in today's world- artists statements are obsolete... That's why God invented BLOGs! 

Besides, I think my work shows what I mean. Even this:
A Secret Life©Dot Courson
This was painted a few years ago, and it's the only thing I have painted with much mystery (or "secrecy" ) to it... but surely anyone can see that this painting of common articles found around my home enclosed in a box crate, with a red ribbon signifies my love for Andrew Wyeth... They also probably know that I painted it as I was so happy that I had just serendipitously met "Andy" (and Helga!) in Cushing, Maine after the tour of the Olson house! No? Well, let me just say, then, that I seriously doubt that my artist statement would shed any more light on this it either! 

I was reading Nicholas Simmons blog about artists statements and he made a lot of sense. Here is a segment of his blog:

I rarely read artist statements. They tend to subtract points from the work before I've even seen it, and in some cases allude to things that tell me I'm about to see some bad art. Without getting specific on that score, I've also heard this opinion from galleries and curators, etc. I don't recall ever reading an artist statement that measurably enhanced my enjoyment of the work, so I'm reluctant to compose one. Anyhow, I prefer the idea of art speaking for itself.

The process part is more interesting, especially if you happen to like the artist's work.

When I used to hear artists discuss their process(es), I always felt like a bit of a chump. They had this thing that sort of guided them and it seemed as though there was a discipline to it. I, on the other hand, had no such method or consistency. Eventually I decided that not having a process was my process, flying by the seat of my pants. Rather than fitting subject matter into a certain approach, style, or ethic, I simply would get an idea for a painting, imagine how I think it would look best to me, and then figure out how to do it -- or at least try to do it. This often means going back to square one with each new piece.
 - Nicholas Simmons blog.

I can relate. Maybe artists statements are for artists who paint things like dripping paper cups suspended above gophers who are smoking cigars are needing a creative way to tell folks that this is really all about raising  awareness of the plight of the endangered Tufted Titmouse!
 But this photographer's great photo says a lot. You can hear this little birds philosophy by going  HERE. and click on the "listen" button. 
Tufted Titmouse Source: wikipedia

Pontotoc Amish©Dot Courson
*Test answer: "Caution: Amish Buggies may be ahead!"

Thursday, September 9, 2010

American Women Artists National Show

Guess what I heard today?.....

"Congratulations!  Your work has been juried into the American Women Artists 2010 National Juried Competition in Dallas, Texas.
The jurors...had a very difficult task to select the pieces that make up this exceptional exhibition. 
Of over 1547 entries ... the jury selected 65 works to be displayed from October 9 – November 9, 2010 at Southwest Gallery.  Since your work was accepted into the exhibition, we hope that you will plan to attend and participate in the activities October 8 in Dallas which include an Awards Brunch at 9am and Artist Reception from 1-5pm on October 9th."
Scotch Whisky with Dupre © Dot Courson
Am so thrilled! - Dot
If you are new to my work...I hope you will check out  my WEBSITE.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Backyard Apple Orchard

Backyard  Apple Orchard 24x30 ©2010 Dot Courson
Sometimes painting is just from the love of the subject...

 I remember our apple orchards from my childhood very fondly, and so I practically begged Jackie to plant some trees at the end of our little garden. Deer ate a few, but some survived. For the pat two days I've been painting in plein air in my backyard.(Note: In front of the image of the painting above ...are two apples sitting on the kitchen counter where I photographed my painting.)

My granddaughter Faith and I pulled apples from the trees after I painted the first day - right after John Morgan, my grandson was "driving" the golf cart with his dad and he hit the already leaning apple tree.  It's leaning more now! Oh well! ...Memories of the apple trees continue down the generations... I just may keep this painting for myself so that I can remember a beautiful happy day-  the end of the summer of 2010.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Tips for Buying Art

Dot Courson

Wednesday I had the distinct pleasure and awesome responsibility to be asked to jury the annual Middleton Art League's Fur, Fin and Feather Art Exhibition in Tennessee. The works in this show was in several categories: Professional, Senior, Amateur, and League Members. 

Doing this type thing is a great responsibility and after accepting the invitation I  immediately began to think about shows and exhibits that I had entered and researching and developing criteria that I would use in making my decisions for the show. I was prepared - so it should have been a piece of cake...  

But it was a very difficult job.......... 

I had decided that the winning entries would need to offer that "something extra": a higher quality in overall appeal, composition, design / use of space, visual rhythm and general mastery of the medium. But in the end I learned that though the technical proficiency was important -  it wasn't everything, and the subjective elements: the atmosphere, and overall mood of the paintings proved very powerful in some works.

On my drive home after hours of viewing the show, it occurred to me that being the juror of art and buying and collecting art is quite different...and that the final "judge" of these paintings, after all, would be the ultimate buyer of the works in this show. Hopefully buyers should use more personal taste in selecting quality and meaningful works that speak personally to them,- not the juror's picks necessarily- but works that they can live with -connect to- and love. After all:  they will be living with these works in most cases for the rest of their lives!

When buying art I would recommend  looking at the art to make sure you actually like it - make sure that YOU like it- not that you have been told that you "should" like it...  And be less concerned that it exactly matches the bedspread or the sofa. Decor changes - your overall taste won't change so much.

You'd be surprised at the collectors that won't complete a purchase until their interior decorator approves the work... or- in many cases the interior decorator is actually the purchaser of the artwork for the client in the first place!

.....So be sure you like -or -love the art!  And be aware that the art sold in furniture stores as "oil paintings" are probably assembly line painted in a foreign sweat shop - many copied from images of real art on the internet. And if you buy art online make sure you research the artist. For instance, I just "Googled" Dot Courson and found over 14,000 hits! There are multiple references to me and my galleries, my blogs, professional organizations and sales records through my gallery. Most reputable and serious artists now have track records like this online ...and buyers should "get to know" the artists when buying online - even emailing the artist if possible. It is much more satisfying to both the artist and the buyer who then have a special connection. Artists love their art and consider them their "children". So connect with the art you purchase, and research the artist. This will give you much more enjoyment form your next art acquisition which will hopefully be a family heirloom passed down from generation to generation.