"Everybody knows a work of art takes at least an hour!" Lucy to Linus, (Peanuts)

FineArtViews Painting Competition - Twice in the Fav 15%

http://canvoo.com/boldbrush/badge/13203 three times selected for FAV15%, Fine Art Views Bold Brush Painting Competition

Sunday, May 29, 2011

"Seeing is Savoring"

I have been reading a book about art and a particular artist that I think may be the best book on the subject I've ever come across. "seeing is forgetting the name of the thing one sees" by Lawrence Weschler - over thirty years of conversations with Robert Irwin. Robert Irwin is perhaps best known for his conceptual work but he started out as a painter in the 40's.  Reading about his career and his thinking has given me a new look at what abstract and conceptual artists are trying to do. Mr. Irwin wants people to have an experience when they encounter his work, to come away with a savouring of what they have experienced. He says,
"It's strange. With food, for instance, people seem able to understand what's involved: you savor the taste rather than just feed the body. But people have a hard time understanding that it should be the same way with visual experience." 

As a result of this book I am full of the same excitement I remember feeling when I was starting out and the openness to different kind of visual experiences is incredibly fascinating. It isn't about representation, realism, abstraction, or conception...it's about seeing.

And now I am at the point in this piece where I have to "see" where it's going and what I want it to do. Do I allow the foliage and flowers to gradually blend away into soft focus or make a complete image with fully realized background? What is painting a lot of green stuff around the face going to do to the impact it has right now? Too tired to decide now. Tomorrow. I'll think about it tomorrow:-)


  1. She is turning out wonderful. The peonies look real enough to pick up and smell.

  2. Beautiful, beautiful painting. I've written down the title and author of the book you mention. It seems to be about some of the very things I have been thinking hard about with my own work. Thank you for mentioning it.
    Delighted to have found your blog.

  3. Your art does speak volumes Karen. The subtly of the hand placement, the simple velvety beauty of a flower petal, or the pensive look of your subject always speak to me.

    Don't overanalyze you art .... you don't have to.

  4. Oh my goodness, Karen.! This is such an amazing piece. The flowers are perfect!! And she is beautiful. I am looking forward to seeing this painting finished! You are so talented.!!