Sunday, January 27, 2013

Going With The Creative Flow

Art, like life, should be free, since they are both experimental. George Santayana

When you're experimenting you have to try so many things before you choose what you want, and you may go days getting nothing but exhaustion. Fred Astaire

It is often said to me, when visitors to my gallery have seen the work on the walls and discovered that I made it all, “It is surprising to see the diversity!” The Steven Boone Gallery shows the full range of my work, not just what sells. Usually, artists find a formula that works for them and if it is successful, then they repeat it—making a “brand” that it identifiable to the public and drives sales. I admit I have a style of my own—landscape painting using a palette knife and thick paint with bold color, which has driven sales for me. Yet, along the way, through thirty-five years of being a professional artist, I have frequently left the familiar path and gone into the unknown. This deviation is from inner necessity, not for financial gain. In fact, trying new approaches to art is scary, since it requires going into the mysterious and the public may not want to go there with you.

Art flourishes where there is a sense of nothing having been done before, of complete freedom to experiment; but when caution comes in you get repetition, and repetition is the death of art. Alfred North Whitehead

It is winter, and this is the perfect time to go into the unknown. Sales are down because tourists are gone, and I am not distracted by needing to replace inventory. The hours are plentiful to just experiment.

Twenty-five years ago I went through a period of producing abstract art, and now, I am returning to that realm. I am going with the creative flow . . . using the palette knife and thick paint, but experimenting with surprising combinations. Entirely new for me are mounting my figure drawings on board, coating them, and painting. I am pushing the color envelope into new territory.

I would say to any artist: 'Don't be repressed in your work, dare to experiment, consider any urge, if in a new direction all the better.' Edward Weston

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Nude Depiction

Yesterday's painting, oil on linen, 18 x 24 inches. Took about six hours to make.
Some of my greatest pleasures come when drawing and painting the human form. Thankfully, there is a tradition in art of copying human anatomy that goes back thousands of years, to the ancient Greeks, who exalted nudes in classical studies—especially sculpture.

Societies around the world have placed taboos on nudity, but in art, it is sanctioned. Why? Because for the most part, the nude depiction in art goes beyond sexuality and touches the sublime.

It is pleasurable when a model takes off clothing to reveal his or her form. The moment can be powerful, and there are anecdotes about famous artists not being able to handle it—Cezanne for instance could only paint clothed subjects.

Models come in all shapes and sizes. I have worked from skinny people, short and tall, and one woman so fat that her flesh rolled in waves over her body.
Nude, oil on linen, 18 x 24 inches.

I met my wife, Heidi Of The Mountains, for the first time when I showed up at a drawing group and she was the model. I have drawn her many times now, since she continues to model for artist groups.

Yesterday, I gathered with a regular Saturday group who hire models to take one pose all day. The group begins in the morning, takes a break for lunch, and returns in the afternoon. The model poses for twenty minutes at a time, with five-minute breaks, before resuming the same posture. Both men and women artists participate.

Every group is different, depending on who is running it and who participates. Sometimes, there is no talking while a serious work attitude prevails. The groups I have gone to for years are far more relaxed, and conversations unfold, with a fair amount of joking and laughter.

See: Steven Boone Figures
Charcoal on paper, 11 x 14 inches. "Heidi."