The bridge between painting and photography is becoming blurred and I think we should welcome this evolution. Photographers have become more adept at modulating common images. They can subtly overlap images, juxtapose photos, give them an appearance of movement, fade and blurr photos to the point where they barely resemble the simple, fixed photo.
This may be an attempt at abstraction, or sometimes just to see what and how an image can be bent and changed. Whereas photos naturally tend to be more incisive, more specific or more detailed, this process of abstracting an image in the dark room or now with photoshop is bringing the two disciples much closer together.
There are some painters who take photos and place them within the painting. This kind of interplay sometimes works well to enhance an image on canvas. This bridge between painting and photography will no doubt continue to be explored. The photographic image in the hands of a professional can in fact resemble a good abstract painting. This kind of creative effort is invigorating for the broad art scene in general but also opens up possibilities for the individual artist.
Oil backgrounds tend to form or establish the theme to an abstract painting. Here though I use the term ‘theme’ quite broadly, implying that the feeling of the painting is greatly influenced by whatever is occurring behind the forward forms. Painting oil backgrounds then must be carefully rendered. By carefully I mean painted with a high degree of sensitivity to how the painting evolves. The forms will affect the background and the nuances of the background place and establish the forms in the plane.
Recently I have been more willing to nuance the backgrounds to add substance to the more forward forms. It has been interesting to realize how many subtle background effects can enliven the forward abstract forms. I have lately experimented with inter-weaving backgrounds with the forms. This creates a very unique tension on the picture plane and is something I would recommend pursuing.
It was definitely Kandinsky that brought my attention to just how critical and vital the background must become. His backgrounds were integral to the structure of the painting. Artists such as Miro and Matisse (generally of his era) did not seem to emphasize their backgrounds with quite the same intentionality. Quite a few years before Kandinsky we see that Van Gogh rarely made the distinction – his backgrounds typically integrate with the subject and in a way that is dynamic as if the different planes are sharing an energy field.. Broad, bold strokes are beautiful of course. My more recent paintings show a shift towards more relationship between background and forward material. This increased attention, this back and forth relationship adds a pleasant interplay both in design and in color. Bold strokes are made more vivid in contrast to a nuanced background, especially when that background comes forward to interplay with the forms themselves.
Finding original art for sale is so much easier now thanks to the internet. Prior to the internet anyone seriously interested in good, original art were limited to gallery showings. This left a lot of excellent artists out of the market. Showings in parks, infrequent private showings were effective but rare. Artists were sometimes helped by friends and word of mouth while some would creatively seek out public spaces to display.
The downside to the internet activity is that we have fewer galleries today. There is admittedly a very real charm to an actual gallery setting. Seeing an entire body of work, well lit in a good gallery can be inspiring. By seeing various pieces by one artist a buyer can get a much better feel for the style of the artist. This is not so easily accomplished even on good internet sites today.
My suggestion is to carve out time on a weekend and visit several good galleries in your City. See what is available. Keep in mind that a gallery will of course charge a considerable increase to the art work being displayed. While you are out, have lunch and make a day of it. Visiting galleries can be an exciting venture and seeing the art hanging will give you an excellent feel for how the piece can be hung in your own office or residence. Seek after original art for sale – not copies.
Ultimately the tide is definitely on the side of internet sales. The advantage of course is that many more artists can be seen. Prices are generally better by shopping on line. Web sites are becoming more and more sophisticated – art work can be even placed in a particular setting. Size of painting, price and often even a brief history of the painting is attached.
Nevertheless once the painting arrives you will find that it is not exactly how you had pictured it…perhaps it will be larger than you had expected, or smaller or more muted or more colorful than the web site had displayed. These are usually small considerations though – usually a painting will look, overall much more vibrant when seen ‘in person’.
When searching for art on the internet try to find at least five or six of the artists work. If the painting is done by an ’emerging artist’ the value of the painting will inevitably increase…you may want to purchase additional work by the same artist. Always try to buy original art and not faux copies. Ultimately buy original art that truly resonates for you personally.
There was a recent show on NPR Radio last week discussing what original art is. Both the host and the person doing the show took the position of saying that in fact, all art is essentially ‘derivitive’. Their contention was that nothing created is truly original. I assume they mean that nothing is therefore ‘authentic’.
This is an important consideration especially when you are in the market for Buying Original Art. Listening to the program I was in a large, natural setting with beautiful trees and I began to think about this. Because a tree comes from a seed does that mean it is not an original and authentic tree? Well, of course not, right? It is derivitive of course but that does not take away from this particular tree being very uniquely original.
They cited numerous examples of works of theatre, music, dance and paintings drawing from some previous effort and then producing something out of that -a sort of hybrid, but not an original. The examples were certainly plausible but somehow not convincing. I thought of small children painting. I think we could all say whatever it is they are producing seems very original. Then I thought of something quite basic to our existence, our breathing. We do nothing to create it but yet we breathe. The breath itself, each one is completely original. With a stick we might draw an oblong shape in the sand…is that shape original? Does it represent something uniquely our own? I pictured myself breathing and drawing lazy, loose freehand shapes.
Their contention was that even when we think we are drawing something quite unique, we are nevertheless responding to a vast, corporate reservoir of human experience. They said it is something like a corporate consciousness and we cannot escape from that large pool of influence. In spite of that argument I kept admiring the beautiful tree that provided me shade while I lunched. Perhaps it is that our lives are truly much more original and authentic that we might even acknowledge. If our very breath is original, why not the red slash across the canvas, the way my voice finds a new octave, the way I alter a recipe? I personally happen to believe, in the process of creating abstract art we often tap into something quite beyond our own limited consciousness, beyond our own confined set of experiences. I am certainly not alone in this assertion. It is a discovery. It is what draws us to create…the opening up of that mystery and that ‘other’ transcendent consciousness.
There are many places to find oil paintings for sale. I live in San Diego where the weather is excellent for street faires almost year round. Artists display their art at parks, boulevards and outdoor venues. It is remarkable how often you can find very good, original art at these casual display booths. Prices are usually low and you are buying original art! A notch above this are the juried shows. These are often still outdoor venues but the class of artists is of a higher quality. They have had to submit their work for approval and entrance into the show.
Most Cities and towns have abundant galleries to visit. These are not museums but privately owned galleries. The gallery owner finds ’emerging artists’ who are willing to allow substantial cuts to the gallery owner, sometimes as much as 50%. So, of course be prepared to spend considerably more. These relatively small, private galleries are business ventures who are quite discriminating with what kind and type of paintings they will display. They are usually looking for an artist who generates a consistent style or theme. It is dissapointing to find art work that appear as spin-offs of tried and true, often nostalgic themes. Kinkaid (the painter of light), was very successful selling these bucolic, nostalgic paintings. There were many people who were satisfied with a decent print (a giclee) when the gallery prices for an original began to be in the $20,000 – $40,000 range.
There are many art lovers today who appreciate good oil painting but want to search on-line. You will be surprised at how many options there are through Google. Some web sites are poorly arranged and difficult to navigate, but there is usually a phone number to call. Many emerging and even mature, seasoned artists have elected to let other established sites carry their work rather than develop their own. These kind of sites are often professionally set up and easy to navigate. You can arrange for delivery and make payments through portals such as PayPal. The actual oil painting, once delivered will always be more stunning, more alive and more dynamic than what you view on line.