January 17, 2009

Reviewing The Past


Archives - 1996 - Long Division - 36 x 60

As I review the work I've done over the past 40 years, I see an interesting phenomenon... the paintings I actually built my career on, the early abstracts that both galleries and buyers happily hung and purchased, are NOT my best paintings. They are, without a doubt, mediocre. Not visible in the photos I'm reviewing are some fine textural nuances. (These were painted pre-digital and my slides haven't been converted yet.) But surface quality is my strong suit... and doesn't show well in a photo or even a slide.

The work that really stands out, as I pass judgment, are the series where I was exploring new ideas, searching and perfecting. I can easily see when the juices ceased to flow and the idea had run it's course. Then a lull... then a new idea/technique/medium surfaces to bloom in it's turn.

I guess we all look back and laugh (or are appalled) at the way we were. A career happened so someone thought these works were worthwhile. But I think, for my painting purposes, it's best to move on when the inspiration wears thin...

7 comments:

Leslie Avon Miller said...

Karen I have been following your blog for some time, and it is with real appreciation that I read about your thought process. It sounds as though the process of birthing your creative self/voice/style is what has been most valuable, rather than success with selling, although of course that allows one to continue. Thanks for sharing this step in your career with us.

Ghislaine Bruno said...

Exploring new ideas is such an existing part of painting. Everything might be possible at that point. The best painting so far is the next one !

Annette Bush said...

I agree with your evaluation of your work. It has been delightful to see the changes over the years -- each one more interesting. So many artists, like one of our local teachers, just keep "doing the same painting over."

A

Mary Buek said...

Karen, if you run out of room to store your paintings, I would like to offer my living room, dining room, my whole house, to store your art for as long as you want.

Karen Jacobs said...

Thanks for the great comments... as artists, you all recognize that art is not (or should not be) a push-button operation... that all work isn't created equal or is it inspired equally. Yet what the viewer sees may be completely different from what the artist felt... and that's okay too.

Lynne said...

Karen, I have found the same thing--that the pieces that sell are not usually what I would consider my best work. It is a conflict because we need to sell and want to sell in order to pursue our art. I guess it is a balancing act, trying to both please our public and give ourselves room to experiment and grow.

Dewey said...

I've just discovered this blog so haven't read to much but that piece is brilliant! There is so much talent online!

Thanks, Dewey