Contradictions

Crowded Empty Street - oil on canvas, 2006

Crowded Empty Street - oil on canvas, 2006

I recently saw a painting that reminded me of something I hadn’t thought about for awhile: contradictions in paintings. This piece is a good example of what I’m talking about–it’s a street filled with construction debris, traffic stanchions, barricades, shadows, etc.–yet it is a very lonely place. It was based on a very cold but sunny day in lower Manhattan.

I often put subtle contradictions in my work, I think they add interest and probably more importantly, they are interesting to me to paint. Why is that of importance?  I believe all artists do their best work when they are engaged with their subject and derive satisfaction from getting their message across. Sometimes, that means painting things that might be a bit unsettling visually or in terms of mood. This can translate into an odd phenomenon–lots of interest in the piece, but not too much chance of a sale either. That does not bother me–I always paint what I find most interesting regardless of whether I think it is something people will want to buy.

I also think that working in this manner gives you a more likely chance of creating something that goes beyond being a pretty picture, or something that portrays technical proficiency, etc. Reaching for that extra something is so much more exciting than simply creating work that is “marketable”.

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2 Responses to Contradictions

  1. Anita says:

    Anne – interesting thoughts and something that I will try to consider in the future. I like work that goes beyond being “a prety picture” and has some substance to it.

  2. kullaf says:

    thanks Anita…most of the time these things just evolve on their own, it’s like when something really appeals to you and you aren’t sure why but you really want to paint it. that’s usually when you will get something that goes beyond just being nice to look at–it doesn’t have to be a complex subject or even a conscious effort to say something specific, moods have a way of creeping in to paintings that you really want to paint whether you are aware of it or not

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