Rough notes from the last two meetings with my mentor, Gerry Snyder:
-Get inquisitive. Look at what keeps appearing. Don't fight what you do naturally -- there's a reason for it.
- Compare apples to apples. Judge within the groupings (It was really helpful to group my work together, and figure out which ones were most like each other. They separated themselves out. It helped to not judge, just figure out what each group is doing).
- Narrow your project (easier said, than done...but see below).
- See how far back you can go before you get uncomfortable. I was talking about my interest in the Baroque. Well, how minimal can I get before I feel uncomfortable? How built up? Regarding the Baroque, Gerry talked about the difference between story (which wants veracity), and myth (which is more open; the specifics are not quite as important).
- It can be useful, when you start looking at a painting, to think first descriptively. Just describe what you are seeing.
- About making it your own... Artists are very specific and idiosynchratic about what they borrow. You might borrow a way of using a color from de Kooning, or a particular area from a painting that you love. But it's different, because the idea behind it is different.
- I talked about trying to paint with "less". What about reframing that--how much information is necessary to say what I want to say? Of course you don't think about it...you do it and then look at it and decide if it works for you or not.
- What's happening with overlapping, weaving of space and marks. Classic abstraction doesn't give you a reference to something else...a "subject" or place to focus. Other abstract artists do. Where are you along the spectrum?
- About how I work off photographs...use photoshop to focus in, blur, and make it unrecognizable. Can you make a painting from a photo that's also the endpoint?
So, how do you set up situations for yourself that help you figure out what you're all about?
- Set up conditions and parameters.
How much more? How much less?
*Narrow the range of colors. Pick a color and create warm to cool. Test how much is dependent on colors; how much on the marks.
*Pick one limited palette (e.g., pink , ochre, chromium green).
*Hang a number of pieces of paper on the wall. Work them left to right (or reverse, whatever) and back again. Then, consider the similarities and differences. What about them makes them similar and different.
*Allow yourself only a few layers. What happens?
*Look at the paintings *YOU* feel are successful--the ones that you really like. Think about how they are structured. What's happening inside them?