collection: The Hunter Museum of Art, Chattanooga
The prior post was on Twinkies. Today I wanted to write about Fudge. By now you know I am not talking about sweets, am I? I have been sending my current painting students an art quote every week (when I think about it). I have many written and filed and a few books on them too. I love reading bios of artists and trying to picture myself interviewing them. What would I ask? What would they respond? I do think I know of one thing that most would admit:
I know that as a young artist and later as an instructor with students, that most if not all people believe that an artist just goes up to a blank canvas and voila! paints a masterpiece. It just flows out of their head. Well, that can happen sometimes I suppose. But I believe every artist has a purpose in their painting whether it is to paint some one's portrait, a place they like, objects they chose, or an expression or feeling they are having. If not, why paint? The real difference in being a "painter" verses an "artist" comes with the interpretation. Just copying exactly what's there will make you a painter. Making changes that create a better painting, makes you an artist. I have been fortunate enough to study under some great artists. Jack Beal says, "Lie, cheat, steal." What is he talking about? He means that painting from life, either a landscape or a group of figures will not be perfect in every way. Nature cannot compose your painting. There may be a clump of even number trees, a telephone pole in the middle of a scene, etc. So your job as an artist is to make use of what's there in creating a work of art.
"The artist does not draw what he sees, but what he must make others see." -E. Degas
So it is not enough to "see- put" as Jack Beal used to comment about some artists who copy nature or photographs. This is where the Fudging comes in. You move a tree, you add a path, you darken, you lighten, you change the colors. You create where you want the viewers to look first, where their eyes should travel and where they should stop.
"Art is a lie that makes us realize the truth." -Picasso
I don't know about you, but I try not to lie about things. I will, however, fudge the truth sometimes in painting. I think it would make Jack Beal proud.
Comments? Questions? Would love to hear from you about how artists create our own "truths".