How I Talk About My Art

My Wife and Daughters will be quick to point out that I am not the best person to be writing about this.

There are thousands of ways to describe art. Someone likes my painting but why? The really sad thing is that I have no idea why they like my painting. I listen to their explanation and it makes very little sense to me. I might like the painting because it has a strong reality illusion; the painting exhibits flashes of appearing real. Others might like it because they like colourful paintings. Maybe they like ocean waves and starfish (Seastars). I try to talk about what I felt or wanted to convey while I painted or why I did something with the composition. I try not to use artistic jargon or meaningless phrases. Artist’s statements are a good example of mostly meaningless obfuscation. Here is a site that generates great sounding artist’s statements.

Artist’s statements don’t have to be like this and some artists write very useful and interesting statements. I have trouble writing about my paintings. People don’t always understand what I’m trying to say but they are usually not so intimidated that they don’t ask me what I mean. My paintings don’t mean anything to me. I can talk about how long it took, or how the reality illusion is strong or weak, how the colours were arrived at or what attracted me to the scene, but a meaning escapes me. Why do paintings need to mean anything? I was attracted to the scene and I enjoyed painting it. It may have sat in my attic for the next 40 years but how is that relevant?

A painting is what it is. You like it or you don’t. I liked something in it and I enjoyed painting it. I don’t care how it matches your room decoration.