MEDIUM VERSUS MESSAGE


Never in our world’s history have we seen so many people involved in art. From professionals, to serious amateurs and hobby painters, everybody wants to get into art  (or so it seems). But why do they do it?

Some want their work to ‘say’ something others want to experience the process more than the product, while others want to paint things that they understand. The latter is worthy of a blog post on its own.

We all have our reasons for our love (need) of art and all of them to a certain extent are quite valid (here’s another blog topic).

Personally, I look for artwork that has a message, something to ponder over and take with me. It doesn’t have to be deep, but I want it to make me think, not just stare.

I’m ‘over’ artwork that purely celebrates the skill of photographic reproduction. Art is not about direct copying, it’s about one’s own view of the world. Realism is only one of the ways we ‘see’. What about one’s feelings? Joy, anger, misery, love, sensitivity and awareness for example, are great sources of motivation in art.

I do however love the use of photo-realism in symbolism and surrealist artworks, because it’s what the objects represent that is important.

The medium you work with will often determine the success of your art. Take painting and drawing for example. Oils, acrylics, watercolours and gouache have their own individual characteristics, as do coloured pencils, dry pastels, oil pastels and wax crayons. Let’s not forget the ever-increasing role of digital art.

I have a favourite medium (coloured pencils), but I’m careful not to choose a subject that I know isn’t suited. I never want my work to have that ‘drawing’ look, I want a ‘painterly’ feel to my work, so I apply pencil using (brush) strokes and lay colours down side-by-side where applicable.

Why then don’t I use paint?

To be honest it’s more about my perception of drawing in the art world than anything else. I’m tired (actually quite angry) that drawing does not command the same respect as painting in the public domain, and I fear in some sectors of the art establishment. I have a ‘beat them at their own game’ attitude that’s what drives me.

I don’t always work in coloured pencil. I match the medium with a particular idea. Choosing the right medium adds both meaning to your art and shows that medium (we hope) at its best.

If art is a form of visual communication, then what we say is most important, but we should also take care to express our feelings using the appropriate medium.

Today’s images are examples of a theme on ‘Hawley’, a wonderful seaside village on Tasmania’s north coast.

From the top: 1. Digital image, 2. acrylic (flat) painting, 3. photo, chalk pastel, 4. digital painting,  5.digital painting.

Richard

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About artkleko

artist, art curator, art teacher, art judge, art critic
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6 Responses to MEDIUM VERSUS MESSAGE

  1. Edna says:

    Very profound Richard. I think that making art is a basic human expression and it’s our way of making sense of the world around us. For some people it’s a way of saying ‘look at me’, for others it becomes a survival tool against angst or a relaxing hobby or even a challenge to see if the hand can reproduce a photograph exactly.
    I agree with you that drawing is undervalued as a medium. This could be because of the traditional view that drawing is preparation or ‘sketching’ in preparation for ‘painting’. How wrong that is because good drawings reveal the mark of the artist more than painting ever can. In the category of ‘popular painting’ the visible painterly brushstroke is disappearing and the paint surface becoming a smooth shiny surface with artists using small fine paintbrushes to achieve the effect. In today’s society the medium is the message – and I agree with you that digital technology is overriding all others and rapidly changing the way we view all other media.
    But in the last year or so (in Tas) I noticed quite a few young people’s drawings done in lead pencil, biro, etc. in unusual ways and subject matter. Some of them were drawing from photographs but not slavishly copied and were exhibited at Sawtooth, Mill Providore, Uni, often unframed and stuck straight on the wall. I did my first Examiner review last April on a Sawtooth exhibition of a collection of works on paper from various artists’ studios and I wrote that ‘The precise drawings of ….. remind us that pencil drawing is a reconsidered art form…..’
    I think the fact that these drawings were exhibited as they were on the walls of galleries does give drawing more relevance at the moment. It may be that because these drawings have the look of the hand produced, with unsophisicated unfinished presentation that they appeal. In a way this echoes some recent music recordings that have got rave reviews and are just simply produced voice and instrument with no digital enhancement. Perhaps there is hope of some discernment and renewed interest and respect in some areas for honest non digital art forms.

    • artkleko says:

      Well said, Edna. Where have brushstrokes gone? There’s too much reliance on photo-realism that has killed many an artist’s style. I’m pleased to see drawing in galleries as artworks in their own right. Bravo!

  2. PictureS says:

    Good points and good advice, thanks.

  3. Pingback: Wood Cutters – Time Lapse Painting « PictureS

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