Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Process and Progress for All to See

Pansies, 6x6, acrylic SOLD

Monday's question about whether or not it is beneficial for an artist to show everything on a blog, facebook, etc. including works in progress, failed paintings, experiments and paintings that may not be up to snuff garnered quite a few interesting responses here, on my facebook page and in the comments section of Keith Bond's original article.

It seems most people like to see it all, it helps them understand the artist and her process and progress. Fair enough. I think this is why we always like to see famous artists sketchbooks, like JMW Turner's which The Tate now has available on line . It's also the reason we like it when conservators discover old paintings under new ones or major changes in a composition beneath a famous painting. Which by the way is known as a pentimento, from the root word to repent. A celebrated example is Caravaggio's Lute Player (Metropolitan Museum of Art) in which X-ray photography was used to uncover evidence of the painter's original intention, which was to paint a still life! You can read about this unusual painting and the other version of it which is in St. Petersburg. Apparently only one was done fresh from a model and the other Caravaggio traced on to oil-paper, and then painted. You can read all about that here

I guess we all like secrets to be revealed, we like to know that even masterpieces that hang in museums may have given their artists fits, and that genius often comes at the end of a struggle.

Artists face so many challenges already and the instant access to a global audience on line complicates matters just a little more. I suppose what was once a small gathering of like minded artists meeting to talk shop and support one another now happens on blogs, facebook and discussion forums with the whole world watching!

1 comment:

AutumnLeaves said...

Aha! For once my thoughts then echoed the masses! LOL Yep, I first heard the word 'pentimento' when reading a book about the lost Caravaggio not too long ago. Then the word has come up in my art instruction course, specifically as relates to gesture drawings. Always fascinating learning over here, Jan. Thanks!