Thursday, March 31, 2016
Quantity is Your Best Teacher
In January I did the 30 paintings in 30 days art challenge with Leslie Saeta. The commitment to show up in the studio every morning and to complete 30 paintings which were posted daily was good for me.
I didn't aways like it, but it taught me a great deal about how to make MY paintings. When you paint on a consistent basis...especially everyday, your art evolves and you discover your unique creative voice.
On the left is my painting on day one, and below is what happened on day 29.
In addition to moving into greater abstraction, I learned many new techniques via experimenting. New ways of laying paint produced greater visual depth and fascinating textures.
At a recent workshop Carol McIntyre and I were discussing the story about quantity vs. quality in the book Art and Fear, by David Bayles and Ted Orland. Here it is:
The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on it quality. His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the "quantity" group: fifty pounds of pots rated and "A". Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the "quantity" group was busily churning out piles of work-and learning from their mistakes-the "quality" group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to sow for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.