So lately, I've found myself working on a number of what I would call "odd projects". I've been doing paintings that aren't necessarily related to one another. They're pretty much stand alone pieces, or studies, or random ideas realized in drawing/sketch form.
I'm still working on small works of mostly landscape/nature pieces, but I've also done several other little things that are seemingly random, and they led me to the point of trying to figure out what I should work on next. I've talked about this before in one of my YouTube vlogs about inspiration. And just so I don't leave you hanging, here's the link to that video: https://youtu.be/Wf3RVRxAOKE
I always think it's a good idea to just be working on something until you've discovered that new source of inspiration that leads you into your next big project. Sometimes that means doing just what I've been doing - random stuff. Keeping productivity consistent and always working on something so that you don't find yourself stuck in the dreaded "painter's block" mentality.
So that leads me to right now, and what I've decided to work on. I've been doing something new during my painting time that has become a new source of inspiration - listening to podcasts. I've subscribed to different ones on different topics such as, of course, art. So I've been listening to Eric Rhoads' Plein Air Podcast and Danny Grant, who is an artist interviewing artists about their working method, daily routines, etc. But I'm also interested in theology and apologetics, so I've been listening to Ravi Zacharias and R.C. Sproul as well.
Anyway, something occurred to me as I was listening to Eric Rhoads that probably should have dawned on me before. It is really really important to have a cohesive body of work. By that, I mean a body of work in which every painting you do is somehow related or unified with all the others. Whether it's the subject matter, or the style/technique you use, or both. Your body of work should be unified. My problem up until now has been the fact that I've done all these different series of paintings, each having a definitive number of pieces and a definitive end.
So for instance, my series God Breathed from 2016 had a plan that I followed in terms of its premise and approach, and even the number of paintings I was going to do, which ended up being 15. And then it ended. I moved on to a new series of paintings. And then after that another series, and then another series. So I have all these different series of paintings that are not necessarily related or unified with one another. And I think that makes the cohesiveness, strength, and integrity of my whole body of work suffer. It feels as though I've trivialized my mission and purpose as a fine artist, and made it too gimmicky with all these different series. Eric Rhoads talks about it in terms of branding. This means, among other things, being consistent with the type of work that I do so that others may see it and recognize it as mine. And to be truthful, most of the work I've done since God Breathed has not felt nearly as inspired or important to me. I've realized that God Breathed is more than just a series. It is the embodiment of my mission statement and purpose as a fine artist. It's what every one of my paintings should be. That's not to say my style and approach won't evolve in time. I'm certain they will. Trying new things and evolving/progressing are all part of being an artist. But purpose should undoubtedly be consistent.
So I recently completed my first truly God-breathed painting in two years called I Once Was Lost. This is a piece about repentance. I've been wanting to do something related to the Parable of the Prodigal Son for a while, so I did this piece that centers around the moment in which the prodigal son realizes he has hit rock bottom, and it's time to make the ultimate decision: Do I relinquish my pride and go home and face my father, or do I hold firmly onto my pride and die lost and alone? So I have him sitting next to this wall covered in graffiti. And as you look closely, each symbol or word on the wall seems to be giving this kid a message. Perhaps its a clear seed of hope and faith, or a clear seed of doubt. Or perhaps the message is ambiguous and could go either way. My hope for this painting is that there will be some viewers who realize that they are the subject of this painting more so than the kid sitting on the railing.
|I Once Was Lost (Luke 15: 17-20)|
oil on linen
More to come soon, including other news from the studio. Until then, God bless you all!