Sunday here in Northland New Zealand and Spring is sprung.
I'm still working on an arc of small 5x7 paintings. There is about 12 in the series. The best of the 5x7's I will paint up to 8x10's and the best of those up to 11x14's, sometime.
I've been painting mostly sunsets or twilight or dawn scenes as I love to paint that transition from dark blue at the top of the sky down to orange and then yellow or white.
I used to avoid this type of sky in my paintings. I felt that many of the sunset paintings I'd seen were maudlin. Recently, I think I've found a way to make it work for what I do. And now I'm completely hooked.
It's important for a fine artist to follow their muse and be willing to change what they paint to suit a new time or mood. Important, as long as these changes come from the inner muse and not a desire to make more money from your work. Change motivated by commerce, while often successful in generating income, can trap an artist, removing them from the inner voice that strives for a harmonious and moving ideal in their painting.
It is a symptom of our age that what something is worth in dollars often becomes the most important measure of an artist or their work's success, not only to people in general but also in the minds the artists themselves. This manner of thinking to me is harmful.
The most important measure of any work of art is it's ability to transmute feeling to it's beholders.
The highest works of art transmit the highest feelings that man is capable of. If an artist follows they're muse and works diligently, they have a shot at communicating these higher feelings in their work. Should they opt for the lesser route of public acclaim or using their art to chase a buck, the work will reflect the aims of the artist and in most cases fall far short of that mark.
Now, this is not to say that there is any harm in selling our paintings or pleasing the public with our pictures. Just that this cannot be the major criterion of the fine artist. Also, I'm not saying that illustration or design that was commissioned for pay is unable to move us as much or more than fine art. If the work is done from the heart with all the passion and drive that the artist can bring to bear, this increases it's odds of becoming something fine that moves those that see it.
A bit about "Twilights Glow". The 8x10 version of this motif is painted on canvas. I enjoyed working on canvas instead of my usual wood panel but I still very much prefer painting on wood. I'm fond of this painting but not sure I completely got across what I was seeing in my head. I feel the canvas texture dominates the gestures in my brush strokes. I often find that I'm doing a lot more scrubbing when I work on canvas as well.
I'm interested in how the dark foreground frames the lighter distance. I've been playing with this a bit lately, and I'm sure I'll do more in the future. Many old landscape pictures use this type of composition technique though you see it less in tonalist painting than in the landscape art of older schools like the Hudson River School. I'm looking at the technique through modern eyes and "Twilights Glow" reflects this.