Reflecting Pt 2 — Quality

As per my last post, I’ll be reflecting on where I believe my art career has plateaued.  One such area is in the quality of my work.  (Now keep in mind, these aren’t hard and fast goals.  These are areas in which I want to grow.)  Other artists in particular may relate to this.

Reflecting on my Art Quality

Enough of just painting to paint.  I have a direction I want to go with my work, and I am taking action to get there.  I realize that previously my work has been all over the board: all types of work, supports, subject matter, and styles.  I’ve been hesitant to change things up much, partially because I have a small fan base that truly enjoys what I’ve done (aka: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.), but mostly due to lack of decision.  Just hesitant to commit.

Although in no way do I want to be pigeonholed into doing just one particular type of work, I’d like to be able to  narrow down a bit as to what I’m really trying to say with my work.

First, figure out what I want…
action taken –>  I’ve been digging up, researching  and analyzing my own favorite works as well as other artists whose work I admire: why I like them, similarities, how can I incorporate those qualities into my work?  looser, more painterly, contemporary, representational with some mild abstraction

Then, do something about it …
action taken –>  classes/instruction to help me loosening up to implement above qualities = I’ve taken some classes this year from Jordan Wolfson and Ken Valastro that have helped me to assess my work and incorporate new painterly strategies to get some of the effects I’ve been looking for.

current action –>  stop over painting!:  When I’m facing a problem at a certain point in the painting and I don’t exactly know how to proceed, I have a tendency to nitpick details and over work other areas while I’m problem solving the difficult part of the piece.  This means I end up with too many unimportant details.  Too much information!!  I’m finally learning to recognize this when it happens and stepping away from the easel when problems arise to negotiate solutions.  Don’t feel the need to continue to paint something while I’m problem solving.

current action –>  composition of value shapes #1; then incorporate appropriate subject matter of interest to build multiple series (flowers, fruit, everyday objects, horses, newspaper, etc…)

current action –>  painterly brushstrokes; use bigger brushes and a palette knife more

current action –>  color = not just local color; sometimes monochromatic, limited color palette, color schemes (complimentary, secondary, analogous, etc …)

current action –> consistently push the limit and try something new to me!

This one demonstrates some of the qualities above: I like the obscure point of view, limited color palette (sap green, pthalo blue, titanium white and just a teeny touch of cad red light) as well as the handling of the paint.

Horse Study #31 (sold)
oil on panel
©2009 Tracy Wall

sm 09 Horse Study #31 (c)TracyWall


About Tracy Wall

I'm an artist and massage therapist living in Denver, Colorado.
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4 Responses to Reflecting Pt 2 — Quality

  1. Good for you!

    My instant impression was- “That is one wierd looking sheep!”

    Then I thought, “Such an odd head, what is she trying to ‘say’?”

    LOL. Darks recede, hey?

    If you really want to loosen up, get some fast drying acrylics and go sit by a field or place with horses and paint them plein air. I did that for a while with the ladies who paint together here on Friday mornings. I painted them, not horses.

    In trying to use those colors that dried in five minutes, I learned a lot! I quickly became able to catch a recognizable impression of each person I painted. I caught the color and light impressions of the dry part of my island, and the lush. The east gets too much wind and sun, and looks like Arizona, and the west is a rainforest.

    Quick pencil or charcoal sketches of critters that don’t stay still also teach a lot.

    OK, off soapbox! Glad you’re moving along!!

  2. Tracy says:

    Good suggestion Melissa about using acrylics. With those I have a tendency just to add more layers, but they can keep you working fast!

  3. Bim says:

    What a lovely HORSE! I especially like the broad strokes in the back and the high contrast.

  4. Tracy says:

    Thanks Bim! Working on my painterly techniques!

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