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Sue Smith
Born in 1948, Sue Favinger Smith has a background that includes a formal art education and brief study in Italy; she continues to explore ideas in an effort to better understand the creative process.
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I was recently listening to a podcast that included a section of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, and I found one comment to be pertinent to the idea of being an artist. The presenter said that self actualization - the highest point in human development - was a point we reach intermittently but do not remain in a self actualized state continuously. This reminded me of the way artists talk about being in the flow, or in touch with the creative universe. These are the moments when we are actually feeling self-actualized. We experience the highest sense of gratification, of connecting... Continue reading
I remember the exact moment when I knew I was an artist. It wasn’t as a child. Art was the friend I set aside when it was time to be a grown-up. No, it was much later, when I was well over fifty. I don't know why it took so long. But in a way, I'm glad that it did. We all experience life in ways that prod us toward such realizations. Eventually, we find ourselves talking about that progress. When I first got out of art school, I was invested in the philosophical influences I had learned. I relied... Continue reading
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January is the month for "Colors of the Year," symbolically defining the trends for the coming months. As useful as it is to consider new color palettes, emotional cues behind the choices hold the most value. When Pantone introduced the 2016 colors of the year, they keyed into two themes: persuasive compassion and serene composure. Thematically, the 2017 color marketers are tapping into more energized emotions, and if interpreted right, artists can find new opportunities for work that appeals to the various niches. Elle Decor uses words such as sophisticated and creative to describe how the consumer sees self identity... Continue reading
Typepad HTML Email Wishing the same success for you, Sharon. Sue Favinger SmithWebsite: Sue Smith Fine ArtBook: Ancient Wisdom: Emerging ArtistBlog: Ancient ArtistStudio: 3554 SW Wickiup Ave, Redmond, OR 97756
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Typepad HTML Email Thank you! Sue Favinger SmithWebsite: Sue Smith Fine ArtBook: Ancient Wisdom: Emerging ArtistBlog: Ancient ArtistStudio: 3554 SW Wickiup Ave, Redmond, OR 97756
1 reply
One of the most fascinating artists of 2016 has to be Cuban-born, American Minimalist artist Carmen Herrera. Born in Havana in 1915, Herrera moved to post war Paris, eventually ending up in New York City in the mid-50's. Her work was exhibited next to Piet Mondrian, and was considered equal to that of Barnett Newman and Frank Stella, but Herrera remained unnoticed, and undeterred. I discovered a wonderful 2010 interview by Hermione Hoby, titled "Carmen Herrera: 'Every Painting has been a fight between the painting and me. I tend to win.' The abstract artist on the man who saved her... Continue reading
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How do you balance your creativity while working in an entirely different field? Or stay connected to your own art practice, and yet succeed in an art world that often feels too opaque and impenetrable, operating by secret rules? Over the holidays I learned about a young artist who was self-destructing, because the door to her creative path had slammed closed. “I consider myself an artist,” she said, “trained to be an art teacher. But the only door left open to me is toward a corporate job I hate and which drains me of all creativity.” Another artist, connecting through... Continue reading
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I recently participated in an event that prompted me to reevaluate my thoughts on style. The show was available online and when viewed this way, I felt my painting style did not easily "fit" with the general feel of the show. There were many excellent paintings, all versions of the prevailing visual appearance, and it made me question whether my ideas about personal style ought to be reassessed. I have always felt that style developed over time as the artist found his visual language. The way we mix the paint, hold the brush, the direction of the stroke or the... Continue reading
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What are your greatest art related fears? For most artists, the fear of unanswered questions is the biggest impediment. And the primary business skill you need is a strategy to manage that fear. Some fears are just fears. But most fears can be managed if you first realize they are actually questions, and then work toward finding the best answers. Common questions revolve around the worth of your work. If you don’t fully understand the rational behind what you create, it’s no wonder the work feels without merit. Organize your thoughts by writing about your history, why you decided to... Continue reading
But it always comes back to the source, to the idea and the degree of passion and skill to communicate it to those who will respond. When a human being attempts to move that inner awareness into an outer concrete expression in form, he is what we currently label as an artist. Continue reading
In 1984 Suzi Gablik made this observation about the effect that Modernism, and Post-Modernism, had upon art and culture: that the “values of the marketplace” had replaced or undermined any sense of a “meaning-giving function” in the art being created. Artists found themselves in a cultural and economic system that rewarded those who created commodities that met the needs of the Art Market. As Andy Warhol stated, “why do people think artists are special? It’s just another job.” Warhol has been described as “the art market’s one-man Dow Jones.” And while Gablik did not foresee the influence of the internet... Continue reading
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In all styles of painting and photography grids are part of the discussion. The big three are the Rule of Thirds, Linear Perspective, and the Golden Mean or Dynamic Symmetry. All of them function as a means to organize pictorial space, and the more experience you gain with composition, the more you might become curious about the reasons why artists rely on these concepts. Since composition can be discussed in terms of finding a satisfying solution to visual challenges, it’s useful to study the differences between common concepts. The Rule of Thirds, and a similar division of space using a... Continue reading
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A painting can be a replication of what is seen, or it can be something more. The difference is in the design. And the best way to strengthen your design skills? Spend more time planning than painting. You can develop a structure to planning easily by considering these ideas: Understand concepts in your own way. In art, many approaches can seem vague and esoteric, and artists are not always effective in explaining what they mean, or even demonstrating it in a way that the student understands in his own mind. It may take you months of study to finally gain... Continue reading
There is a quote from Alice Neel that I have in one of my journals: “You should keep on painting no matter how difficult it is, because this is all part of the experience, and the more experience you have, the better it is…unless it kills you, and then you know you have gone too far.” I’ve always felt a darkly humorous reaction to this sentiment, because yeah, this gig can certainly kill your motivation. I find optimism in her sentiments, too, though, and it’s more valuable to explore the positive, rather than indulging in self-limiting humor. The longer an... Continue reading
I am an observer. Even as a child I would rather watch than participate. And my kids will tell you I can be obsessive in my observing. If asked, they’ll drag out their favorite photographic proof: in sequence - view driving toward the tunnel, view in the tunnel, and view exiting the tunnel. (I think there was another one called Mom falling down the side of the road in search of the perfect view, that that one mysteriously disappeared twenty years ago.) I don’t necessarily believe I am obsessive. I’ve realized that before I became a painter, I was recording... Continue reading
Standing in the cookie aisle, I suddenly realized if I told the truth about where my inspiration comes from, she wouldn’t believe me. I could have said 18 years with over 400 sketch books and I still don’t have a handle on it, but I opted for the short answer. You know the cliché about 99% perspiration. Because, like many creative misunderstandings, people want to believe in the idea that their artist toiled away in seclusion before the epoch discovery that became their painting, and who am I to disavow them? Besides, the artist’s struggle is more like a selfie-battle... Continue reading
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Rembrandt - 1666 version of the Death of Lucretia Every student of art encounters Art History at some point, and finds himself either overwhelmed or trapped by the tenants of one style compared to another. Perhaps it is inevitable, in that picture making is always influenced by what has been previously produced. But in this modern world, the visual image as a form of communication has been dissected, manipulated, and used to the point where we are eye blind, much like the student on a museum tour who goes in star struck and comes out with a nonchalant shrug saying,... Continue reading
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River Road, oil, 18 x 24, 2015 In my last post we were talking about aesthetic conviction. While I find this concept easier to understand when discussing figure or portrait painting, my passion is landscape. I wanted to share some of the thinking that goes into a painting such as River Road. Why did I paint this: In 1908, two competing railroad companies began laying track on opposite sides of the Deschutes River on a route that ran from the Columbia River to Bend. One was the Oregon Trunk Road, on the west side of the river, the other was... Continue reading
Typepad HTML Email Thank you! Sue Favinger SmithWebsite: Sue Smith Fine ArtBook: Ancient Wisdom: Emerging ArtistBlog: Ancient ArtistStudio: 3554 SW Wickiup Ave, Redmond, OR 97756
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comment from email: Hi Sue Thank you for this post. It is, in my opinion, one of the best posts I've read in a very long time. You can be proud of this writing. It shows gravitas. You've thought a great deal about it, and I agree with everything you've written. I'm a more conceptual painter, it's not often that I paint realism anymore. At first, it was hard to let go of the subject, I needed a subject so bad. Then I went to art school at the university, where they beat conceptualism into me, fiercely. Eventually, I let go of the subject and now concentrate on the emotion. I find, that I spend my time just thinking about how to portray the emotion. Sometimes I go for days without doing much "art" but do think about it day and night! And then, suddenly the answer is there, and then I pick up the brush (or roller, or some other artistic implement!). Do I have gravitas? No, not yet. But my art "speaks" to more people each year, and that is important to me. That is the only thing that is really important to me – that on an emotional level - my work reaches someone, touches the very soul of another human. What a reward. Have a great weekend Janna Website: www.jannakumi.com Blog: http://jannakumi.blogspot.ca/
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Back in 2001, when I began to study art seriously, I asked how gravitas could be achieved in painting. The answer differed depending upon which teacher I asked. Some said it was subject matter. Others based their assessment upon technique. Still others said only the Old Masters achieved gravitas. None of these answers were particularly helpful. While they skirted around the question, no single point of view could explain gravitas, because gravitas is a word that attempts to define emotional connection. Over the years I have come to believe that gravitas relates most specifically to how well the artist can... Continue reading
Hi Maggie - no, I am not done with art by any means - and thank you for your kind words. I will never be done with art even though it challenges me every day. I think this is true for all artists, that there is an ebb and flow when we feel successful and not so successful in creating the work that we want to create. This past year allowed me to clarify some of my goals and work toward achieving them by withdrawing somewhat from writing and shows and interacting. For this I am grateful, and grateful for the support that has continued to arrive in my email box from other artists like you. Thank you.
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I woke up today to the sound of the bird tapping at my window, my own personal Hitchcock movie. This bird - of the thrush family, I think - has taken on the task of cleaning the insects from the web that clings to the clerestory window, too high for me to clean by ordinary means. He sits on the edge of the pergola, then flies up - tap, tap, tap - then back down, over and over. At first I thought he was tricked by the reflection of clouds and was flying away home: by the end of October,... Continue reading
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Information from the great team at Flavours Holidays in Scotland about Their upcoming Big Painting Competition "While there are many painting competitions available for aspiring professional painters in the UK, it is very difficult for amateur artists to exhibit their work. That’s why we’re running our Big Painting Competition – we want to give a platform for these artists to show their artwork and want to find Britain’s best amateur artist! The competition will open on the 28th September and close on the 31st October. 5 winners will be selected by our art tutors and selected participants will be invited... Continue reading
If the past fifteen years have revealed anything, it is that I am “not in Kansas anymore.” Between the ageist view that art is the “deterrent to dementia,” and the proposal that legitimate art must be raised to a Ph.D. level, older artists are caught in the middle. Suddenly upended with new expectations, we must evolve, while struggling with the fear of marginalization, lost potential and artistic irrelevance. As an artist who did not begin the practice until the age of fifty, I find this idea challenging. Some academics suggest that, with age, the artist becomes more contemplative and less... Continue reading