10 August 2008

Americana at Glendale event

Today I participated in an event at which I did a not-s0-great painting but at which I learnt a great deal about how to select your subject. I hurriedly arrived and set up at the Americana mall in Glendale; in the most "picturesque " spot of course. Wrong!. The sun was moving fast an very soon all was drenched in light and the whole scene had (too much) detail and complexity. I took it in stride but wished I had looked a little longer. Some guy did the same golden statue against a background of buildings in shadow, a much much better decision, it made the statue really stand out....

I am not sure any of the participants did a painting you could sell to someone that doesn't know about this mall. Who would buy a painting of a mall, no matter how fancy? However, there were other more intimate subjects, a girl with a japanese parasol sitting in the grass, a gazebo full of morning coffee drinkers....All of those subjects were much more universal than the dramatic (and a little tacky) golden statue.

I think part o the pressure was due to the "event" nature of the morning: just one shot, paint what is important, do not get distracted, paint something that explains where you are. All that and a bag of chips will get you nowhere.

04 August 2008

Never friendly or unfriendly enough.

A couple of experiences in the last weeks have shown me that you can never be friendly OR unfriendly enough (although one should always err on the side of friendliness) when people approach you as you paint. A vast majority of people are polite and ask for permission to peek over your shoulder and usually have praise or questions . That is fantastic. A minority, though, either think you are a there for their entertainment only and therefore should shower pleasantries on them or , for some reason, you are bothering them. Children are a completely different matter and one should exercise a broader patience and be a little more thick-skinned for the sake of the few that "get it". When adults say something negative about your art when uninvited to do so, issues lie more within their problems than with our paintings. You SHALL be bothered sometimes, get used to it.

In Palm Springs, a bunch of teenagers that should know better fouled my mood with some nonsense about me being within limits of an indian reservation. That after ruining the evening air with clouds of dust after some dangerous SUV cartwheels. I was probably within limits but so what? I scratched the reservation off my list and painted this behind a shopping mall off Palm Canyon Av. To quote Horatius from his "Ars Poetica" : Pictoribus atque poetis quidlibet audendi semper fuit aequa potestas. (It is the prerrogative of painters and poets to dare what they please).

And in Highland Park, some fully grown lady spared no expletives from the comfort of her SUV (what is with SUVs? ) when all she got from her dumb "That's prettyyy!" was a "Thank you" that wasn't enthusiastic enough to her ears. I smiled and finished mood unspoiled.