Talking about your own art work is difficult for many of us, for several reasons. Some of us feel that talking about your work may construed as bragging. We may be taught that it is rude to share personal information without being explicitly asked (and of course it is also rude to ask personal questions!) Some of us are just not especially articulate, and it is particularly hard to speak extemporaneously (so practice!) Some of us don’t think about our art in terms of words, and we may be reluctant to do so. We may fear that analyzing our work will alter it, and not in a good way.
But sometimes it seems desirable to use words. If you want to sell your work, words can help: you are very lucky if you can rely on someone else to sell your work for you!
Also thinking about your art can be helpful. While I choose to avoid defining my style or individual works using accepted categories of art history & theory, I think words may help me focus, and to choose the next direction for my work.
Recently I latched on to a few key words that seem to characterize my approach. Now I want to think about using these words to describe my style:
- intimate, and
- I don’t have plan.
- I want to coax the viewer to come closer to examine my work.
- I want to travel as I work.
I cannot imagine siting down in front of view or lovely photo, and then dabbing in trees according to a formula “as seen on TV”. There is no joy for me in that approach. While it does frustrate me when I have a concept and no idea how to realize it, ultimately this is much better than knowing exactly how to proceed: it keeps me engaged and interested. And as I work on a piece, and I find that I need something different, I look around and reach for any suitable tool or media to do what that work needs at the moment. I improvise, and that is satisfying!
I may have a concept, and I may start drawing an object which fascinates me visually, but my goal is not to reproduce that object on my page or canvas. Rather my goal is to produce a satisfying art work: one which gives me a small thrill of pleasure and satisfaction when I look at it. I do not try to change you, or the world, but just myself a little tiny bit.