Wednesday, June 18, 2014

My Influences and Forging my Own Path.

With little or no formal education in painting I developed my earliest vision through drawings in college and keeping notebooks on my travels. In later years from about 2008 I sighted the books and works of the New York based painter Gregg Kreutz, whom in 20011 got to spend a couple of months with in studio at the Art Student League of New York. The books and works of Gregg Kreutz and his teacher David Leffel impacted me greatly when I was looking for some direction in oil painting. By studying their work and making copies after their paintings I learnt a huge amount as regards application and developing strong pictorial concepts for my paintings.

You know, putting your work out there into the world attracts different reactions. Encouragement, support, friendships, connections, help, positivity and negativity. Sometimes some and sometimes none, sometimes good and sometimes indifferent. I would say that 99.99% of the time in my life I have been met with just pure encouragement, understanding and support. This support started with my closest friends and families and has now spread throughout the world.

Some months ago just after my solo show at Jorgensen Fine Art in Dublin opened I was quizzed online by a fellow 'artist' in the UK who on seeing a press release, which used one of these such copies or studies made after Gregg's work, but did not reference the original work, which was a journalistic mistake as the paintings were clearly tributed to the artists in the gallery catalogue and on my blog over the past years. The artist claimed that there exists a convention for signing works made after other painters. A convention I had never heard of and one that any institutions I contacted said did not exist! This episode gave me a huge headache and could have been very damaging. It's funny how we humans can hold onto such negativity even if the remarks pale in comparison to the outpouring of support I recieved from my collectors, friends and fellow artists on hearing this debate. But I guess thats just part of the human condition. I would never consciously go to hurt another artist or his reputation - in fact it's part of my make-up to do nothing but encourage others to fulfill their dreams and passions no matter what field they may be exploring. I believe we all need understanding, encouragement and an occasional push out of our comfort zone to achieve our best. I know I've received it in bucket loads and want to do my very best.

During my time in New York this year I met many students copying from paintings in the Museums there. There only restrictions are that the scale of the copied work not be the same as the original. I also met with Gregg and we talked of this episode and putting it all behind us.

Below is a painting I made at the end of last year after a painting and lesson on colour saturation presented in Gregg's book entitled 'Problem Solving for Oil Painters'. I found this book really helpful as I could relate to the concepts and thinking explored throughout it's chapters. I highly recommend it to anyone looking to improve their painting.

Since that episode I have learnt so much, I've put all differences or grievances behind me and most of all turned it to a positive and learnt to trust my own intuition and instincts more deeply. It was a tough lesson but a good one and I am determined now more than ever to forge my own path through my work. Making art takes dogged determination and brash ego at times. It's not easy by any means and you sacrifice a lot to keep doing it. But it's just so rewarding!

The Brass Cooking Pot, a study after a Gregg Kreutz painting lesson on colour saturation
 - oil on panel - 24x18 - sold

Detail from The Brass Cooking Pot, a study after a Gregg Kreutz painting.

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