Thoughts on Life, Art, Photography, Technology, Teaching and Travel…..

Concept and Vision in the Art Making Process

I’m excited about participating in a collage making workshop tomorrow and been thinking about what type of mixed media project I want to create for it. Georgia Mason (instructor) sent me list of supplies and materials to bring with me. I gather them I ‘m thinking about what type of theme (subject) I want to explore in this piece. I tell my students all the time that creating good art always begins with a great (strong) concept so I plan on taking my own advise. Great concepts start with a personal vision that emerges from the artists interests, passions, emotions and concerns.

You can go back in time and look at all the great artists like Giotto, Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Delacroix, Monet, Van Gogh, Picasso and Pollock and the one thing they all had in common was passion for art and their subject matter. In some cases their subject matter was dictated by a patron like the Catholic church as with the great Renaissance masters, however they explored those religious themes with deep passion, enthusiasm and commitment.

So with that said…what am I passionate about? What interests me? What do I want to explore in my art? Art for the most part is a statement by an artist – much of it is autobiographical (even when commissioned by a patron) as in the case of Caravaggio, Van Gogh and Pollock. I must admit, I’m passionate and concerned about politics and the direction this country is going in, however I’ve made a concerted effort to steer clear of politics on this blog so I’ll veer in another direction for this particular piece.

Lately I’ve explored issues of faith and a disconnectedness from my spiritual side in recent paintings. I grew up in an intensely Irish Catholic home and my early years surrounded by people of deep religious faith like my Grandmother is always in the background of my mind. Sure…there is that whole guilt thing associated with this type of upbringing, but I look at it as a double edged sword as far as who I am today and my faith journey.

I also enjoy photographing my children – especially my daughter, so family is another important subject I enjoy exploring.

I also love to travel photography and sometimes I incorporate my travel photos into my mixed media paintings as I have done below with the thatched cottage and bits of travel journals..

Jackson Pollock’s art (and to some degree Van Gogh and Caravaggio’s) were fueled by an inner intensity and desire to visually articulate deep seated, complex and conflicting emotions. I can certainly relate to both Pollock and Van Gogh probably more than any other artists in history.

So today I’ll spend some time conceptualizing what I’ll attempt to create in the workshop tomorrow. Artists must be willing to take risks and not worry about what others will say about their art. The true joy about art (in my opinion) is the process from concept towards completion. Not so much the finished piece. It’s the art making journey that is so personally fulfilling to me and that is why I get bummed out when I don’t make art for long stretches of time due to the demands of work.

I have some very rough ideas percolating in my mind and hopefully they will come together by the end of the day as I gather my materials. As I said…the art making process starts with the idea and sometimes that’s the most difficult part of all. I’ll post my finished piece Sunday – that is if I actually finish something during the workshop. If not…that’s ok too. Just remember the joy is in the journey.


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This entry was posted on May 21, 2010 by in ArT, Keough Journal and tagged , .
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