Tuesday, July 23, 2019

A Record of the Artist Playing

©Robin Edmundson, 'Echinacea Bouquet #4', watercolor, 14 x 10 inches.
Framed to 20 x 16 inches.  $375

"An artist is trying to puzzle something out - to solve a complex problem of perception. A piece of art is the record of the artist playing."  

Jordan Peterson, podcast

Eric texted me that quote the other day as I was on my 4th version of this composition.  I love that quote because it describes my relationship with my artwork exactly.  

I wrestle a lot with my work - working out color, playing with light, coming up with a strategy for composition.  I experiment with this and that.  The relationships between color, light, line, shape and mood are complicated and a small adjustment here or there can have a large effect on the final piece.  I ruin one and then start again. Try something new.  Or not - and realize after the third version with the same yuck results just exactly where I should try something new and break out of a pattern that just isn't working.   

Yes.  Sometimes it takes me more than three versions to get that through my head.

The middle stages are the worst.   I've ruined a lot of paintings and then, with some, felt the urge to keep going through the miserable middle until I realized that it wasn't really ruined - it just hadn't been quite finished.   There's an art to recognizing when something needs more work and when something needs to be let go of.  I'm still figuring that out.  

As an artist, I play with many solutions to the problem of communicating a scene in a way that you can decipher the message I'm sending.   I perceive something in the three dimensional world and then encode it into a two dimensional space in a way that allows you to look at it and decode it to understand what I'm seeing and saying.  

It sounds crazy, right?   Artists often walk the line between brilliance and insanity.  In the meantime, an artist plays and each piece of art is a record of that play.


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