There are similar parallels in art. Some artists choose to paint complicated subjects or give complicated messages through their chosen medium.
Many observers of art are easily seduced by detail. They love work that it full of things to look at and they marvel (and acknowledge) the skill of the artists.
But not all art (and life) is complicated. There are times when we need to ‘chill out’ in life and there are times when ‘less means more’ in art.
Focussing on a single object cannot only be revealing for both artists and observers, but an enlightening experience. We get to know the subject in ways that would be lost if it were amongst a crowd of objects.
Some of my art is highly detailed, complex and layered in meaning(s). There are times though when I like to focus on a single object. There’s a lot more to painting single object subjects, than simply ‘looking and recording’. Such studies result in quite intimate paintings that reveal the true character of each subject. Some are quite complicated!
My Enamel Mug series is an example of me trying to get to know a mug that I found on the historic property Cheshunt, a few years ago. It has featured in 5 paintings to date, with a 6th waiting to be finished back in my studio. The mug is the subject of 2 of these paintings and has minor roles in the other 4.
I have come to know this mug rather well. I love examples of weathering, decay and old age, and this mug ‘ticked all the boxes’ for me.
I have been fortunate to win 3 art prizes with this series plus a judge’s commendation.
Now that I’m retired from full-time art teaching, I suppose it’s only natural that I try to make my art (and my life) a little less complicated!
Top Left: Photo of the mug on the day that I found it. The next 3 photos are details from much larger paintings. The bottom 2 are paintings in their own right – Enamel Mugscape and Cold Tea, Cheshunt.