Log in

No account? Create an account
Previous Entry Share Flag Next Entry

Rose Wolf

I did this painting a few days ago and have had it propped in the studio, where I stare at it occasionally and wonder if it’s cool or the furriest damn thing I’ve ever done in my life.

The jury is still out, but I have decided that I rather like it. And the textures make me happy.

11 x 14, mixed media

Original for sale, send a note, prints available as always, yadda yadda.

In other news, I finished the script for Dragonbreath 9, aka “Toothbreath.” (Remember, those of you who had them, how horrifying it was to lose your retainer? Yeah, it’s about that. And packrats. And a concrete lawn goose named Mister Honkers. And Danny’s other grandfather.)

I have, as you may guess from the above (and a couple others kicking around the studio that need to be scanned) been back in a painting mood, having finished the art for Dreambreath last week. In pursuit of this, I picked up some interesting looking books on mixed media, two of which were quite good, and one of which was…um.

I am not going to mention the name, because I try not to be unkind and I am not a reviewer of any sort and I would not want to hurt the artist’s feelings, but dear god. The art is quite lovely, but the writing verges on the criminal. They say that Thoth, the ibis-headed god, brought the gift of writing to humankind, and after about twenty pages, I expected him to poke his beak around the doorframe and say “Okay, kids, if you’re going to do THAT with it, I’m taking it back to the store!”

One quotes: “Once the layers of the tactile landscape begin to build, excavating back into the multi-dimensional surface sparks curiosity, encouraging further inspection and even participation in the messaging.”

(I think this means “Build up layers, then carve back through them. It looks neat.” But I could be lost in the messaging. Still, that does look neat, just be sure you’re using a tough enough substrate, like Masonite, because there is nothing more depressing than tearing a hole in your painting because you didn’t let the layer dry all the way and it’s still soggy and peels off in nasty ragged gobs and you scream and tear your hair and throw it into the trash and go eat potato chips and sulk, NOT THAT THIS HAS EVER HAPPENED TO ME.)

I know artist statements are hard. Believe me, I know. But there is no excuse for “Throughout my pictorial idiom, I employ a concept-based message-driven approach…”* Unless these words actually beat you with a tire-iron, there is no reason to treat them so unkindly. (The actual description of the piece went on for two more pages and involved chakras, the devil, multiple highly significant things, and more layers of meaning than a class full of English majors locked in a room with a sheet of LSD and a copy of Moby Dick. It was a pretty neat painting, and I expect it’d be cool in person, but seriously. That’s a lot of verbiage to hang on one painting. You might need to find a stud.)

Anyway, I am sure the artist is a lovely human being, and many of the tutorials look excellent, but…well…If you find yourself writing a tutorial (and many of you probably have, or will) then, for the love of all that is holy, clear lucid prose. Phrases like “pictorial idiom” are extremely specialized tools, and if you use them to hammer nails, you will find yourself with a badly bent idiom and some very wonky nails.

Meanwhile, one of the other books included the sidebar “Tip: Don’t tell your viewer what to think.”  So, y’know. There’s that. Probably true for people complaining about writing as well as for writers themselves.

*I assume this means “My pictures are about stuff.” I could be way off base, though. My pictorial idiom mostly involves hamster-driven concepts, so I’m probably not the best authority on any of it.

Originally published at Tea with the Squash God. You can comment here or there.

Tags: ,

An artist I did some

work for (RenFest, helping haul to conventions, friend at conventions, etc.) had a total terror of canvas. She did almost everything on masonite. Her pice of Gandalf on Shadowfax JUST fit into the trunk of my GrandAm for its last trip to a con before a local fan bought it. (It was huge, it was heavy, it took us two girls to carry the freaking thing, or she'd have to ask someone at her apartment complex..._

Love your work, dear. But artist statements look like trying to explain what I'm writing. Awkward, weird, etc.

Re: An artist I did some

*laugh* I could be that artist! I do most everything on board or watercolor paper or whatever. Canvas yields freakily and I live in fear that I'll push too hard and put a palette knife right through it.

Pretentious artists give the rest of you (I dabble. I'm not an artist) a horrible rep. The only person who got away with using idioms to paint with was Bob Ross and he only got away with it because he was so damned friendly about it. This guy sounds like he was sneering, drinking Pabst and chain-smoking hand-rolled ciggies as he typed that into his Macbook.

(I was illustrating, not bashing Macs!)

My own feeling is that artists who have to explain their work fail at art. Art is communication.

I'd like to offer a possible addition.

"...as he typed that into his Macbook..."

...that he purchased because it was cool, not because it was the best computer for him to have.

I dunno, I think the stuff you did as [NAME WITHHELD BY REQUEST] was furrier. But this is indeed pretty damn furry.

Hold on, let me rewrite this in the language of the artist's statement so it looks more important, and makes baby Thoth cry a little more...

It is the considered opinion of this interlocutor that the body of work you produced under an alternate identity - one which will be left unspoken, for it is rude to pull back the veil of mystery without consent - was much more in the anthropomorphic vernacular of the late twentieth and early twenty-first century. Howsoever, if that performance of the identity of "pornographer" has, in fact, been stricken from the official record, this paragraph should be disregarded. At any rate, the assemblage at hand is extremely anthropomorphic - or, as the common phrase has it, "furry".

aaagh that's enough

Wow, I'd forgotten about that! Yeah, that was definitely furrier.

This may be the furriest thing I've done in recent memory where I wasn't trying deliberately, though...

Makes me wonder if that writer used to be in HR.

Yeah. It sounds like what happens if someone from HR or the upper levels of Management is trying to go WAY TOO NEW AGE. Or vice versa.

What were the titles of the books you thought were good?

That was my question, too! I'm not an artist, but I live with one.

Instruction is meant to illuminate, not obfuscate.

Then again, I adore the way you explain anything.

Thank you for this! I needed cheering up.

"... more layers of meaning than a class full
of English majors locked in a room with a
sheet of LSD and a copy of Moby Dick. ... "

Priceless! And all too evocative of my freshman comp prof. ::shudder::

Now that is how one idioms. Descriptive and colorful but can be said in front of the children.

Not to mention understood without referencing a dictionary or an encyclopedia, which I suspect that writer was smoking. All of my co-workers would've been going o_0 and demanding an explanation. Dearest, upchuck the thesaurus. It's not healthy to have that much fiber in your diet. Have a romance novel or two instead.

wow... that's an author that's got books on management theory/speak, artistic metaphor&philosophy and a thesaurus on his shelf, and he's not afraid to use them!

I wonder if you can get joint degrees in Art & Pretentiousness, it would save time.

Edited at 2012-05-12 02:23 am (UTC)

“Once the layers of the tactile landscape begin to build, excavating back into the multi-dimensional surface sparks curiosity, encouraging further inspection and even participation in the messaging. Sure the guy wasn't a Vulcan? (BTW was it a guy?)

Sure they didn't run it through Google Translate, language "Pretension"?

I love your furry wolf peeking coyly over her shoulder with the lower part tastefully obscured. Now THAT's art!

Oh, geez, I laughed till I cried. My cat did not appreciate the humor in the situation and slunk away until I finished making those weird noises.

"...class full of English majors locked in a room with a sheet of LSD and a copy of Moby Dick..."

*shifty eyes* You didn't happen to go to my school, did you?

You might need to find a stud.

Naaah, not gonna do it. Easy pickins.* So looking forward to seeing you at ConQuesT in two weeks.

*Slim's cousin, the one they don't talk about.

Sounds to me like someone overusing a thesaurus to come across as intelligent and professional. "If I throw in big words, I will sound super smart and people will want to listen to me!"

Um, the "excavating" line sounds kind of interesting if I was in the appropriate philosophical mood to think about ArtMaking, though I did do graduate work in Art History & Criticism, so I speak fluent academic artist statement.

That Idiom line would have made even my crit-theory deranged professors side-eye, though.