Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Year in Preview

I've spent quite a bit of time the past couple weeks thinking about my goals for my art. I suppose I can call them "new year's resolutions," which is why I'm doing this now (I mean, what better time?). It has been said that one way to improve your art is to compare it to art you admire. What does your favorite art have that your own does not? So I look to the art of Robert Bateman, master wildlife painter.

In his own words, Bateman says the problem with so much wildlife art is
when you see it, you feel you have seen it a thousand times before – yet another wolf, or another loon, or some other overworked subject done in the same old way. And, it looks as if it is done with a great deal of effort – every feather or every hair painted in great detail...
and also
the easiest of pieces is a head and shoulders of a mammal or bird with little or no background.... [This] presents almost no challenge to the artist or viewer.
This quite accurately summarizes what I myself have been unable to express. Drawing portraits and simple backgrounds is great for developing technique, but I am ready to do more. I think I'm heading in the right direction with my recent zebras and polar bears, but this year I'm really going to push myself to work on more interesting compositions with more complex backgrounds and greater depth of value.

So what is in store for the coming year? I have a couple pieces in mind for the mother/baby series (including one already started), and will do one, hopefully two more in the Africa series. I also would like to try my hand at some extinct species, but we'll see how things go.

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