Archive for the ‘Painting’ Category

Self Portrait Painting for the Recharge

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

I always return to painting self portraits.

There is certainly the practical reason. It is hard to find someone willing to sit in front of me for 6 hours at 10pm on Sunday night, but I always seem to be willing.

That’s not the complete story though.

I’ve never been much of an intellectual artist. When I make art as an intellectual exercise, or to express an intellectual concept, it falls flat. In my mind, intellectual art is better served by the craft of illustration, using line to exactingly express an idea, fact, or concept.

Art works for me when it comes from emotion. If you tie me down and force to tell you what art is, and I will tell you art is turning emotions into images.

I have a hard time expressing emotions. I don’t talk about how I feel, or write how I feel, it doesn’t work. I’ve been told I have walls to guard my emotions (in one of those delightful now-that-we-are-broken-up-i’ll-tell-you-what-i-really-think-of-you conversations).

Self Portrait II oil painting by Sean Neprud

Self Portrait II, Oil on canvas, 12x12

Painting how I feel works, however. Imagery can represent how I feel in ways I don’t know how to communicate otherwise. This is, I think, why I make art. If you want to understand me, understanding my art will get you well over half way there. The art that best translates my emotions into an image is usually my best art.

Self portraits connect me back to the basic reason that I make art. When I stare myself down for hours at a time, I can’t avoid how I feel. This becomes the fuel for my self-portrait paintings. The paintings themselves don’t always hold the charge of emotion, but the process does.

I whipped out this painting you see here on the left because I felt stuck. (Being stuck seems to be going around.) I wasn’t sure what I should be doing with my art, or where I want to take it. I had no idea what images to make.

I’ve had some ideas, but nothing that really gets to the heart of what I mean to do. One of my recent “good ideas” involved roly polies. The other involved my truck. Not exactly high impact. I had decent reasons for these ideas though. Kinda.

As I worked on this painting, I was able to wrap my head around my art, and what I should be doing with it. I rediscovered what is important to me, and I have an idea which direction to move in, even if I don’t know how exactly it will show up in my art.

I know I can revisit self portraits when I need a kick in the right direction, or to figure out what is going on inside. It works.

New Year’s Painting Goal Has Visible Results

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

What are you doing in 2010?

2010 is the year for doing stuff. If you are not doing or making something, you are wasting your time.

My plans for 2010 are rather ambitious. To follow through on them, I am going to have to do ridiculous amounts of work.

I’m Ok with that.

One of these plans is to do 50 paintings this year. One a week.

How to get ‘er done

Self Portrait, Oil on Canvas, 12x12.  First painting of 2010.

Self Portrait, Oil on Canvas, 12x12. First painting of 2010.

The structure I have set up for myself is pretty simple. I paint on Monday night and Tuesday night, starting around 7pm. I work till 10 or 11 pm. The painting is finished when I go to sleep Tuesday night, even if it isn’t complete.

The results of my first week’s work are sitting up here on my left. (I paint myself a lot because I am always a willing model)

This painting is not complete, but it is finished. This is as much as I got done on Monday and Tuesday night. I may work on it again a little bit this weekend when I have some free time, but then again, maybe not.

I imagine that this painting requires about 6 more hours of work to complete — it is about half done right now. The major shapes and areas are defined, but everything needs more work to flesh it out and make it complete.

Why half finish a painting?

When I was getting my art degree, I made a decision to pursue printmaking as my emphasis rather than painting. This had more to do with the school than my interests.

UC Santa Cruz had a marvelous printmaking facilites and equipment, and a marvelous lithography instructor. I had the oppurtunity to get a deep understanding of printmaking.

I also knew that if I studied painting, all that I would get was a lot of time to paint. This had to do with the school and the instructors. There was very little actual instruction beyond the introductory courses. Most of the advanced courses that I would have been in were little more than a lot of time to spend painting.

I put off painting, because I realized that I could get a lot of time to paint on my own, and learn nearly as much on my own as I would have in school.

I set this “painting a week” plan to get that year of painting that I put off in school. This is mostly about regaining my painting chops than producing finished work.

I’ll make paintings that you can buy for thousands of dollars next year.