Not too long ago I went to a somewhat prestigious “intensive studies” painting seminar/workshop. It was a 10-day event that was designed to give serious artists feedback/critique about their work. It was an interesting experience because there were several teachers who floated around among many participants giving their feedback. Some of the feedback was contradictory, and therefore challenging. While I was at the workshop, I felt the need to write this poem about the rules of painting:
The Rules of Painting
They tell me that my paintings must have intent,
To convey a meaning.
They must also reflect all of the rules.
There are many rules to follow to create a work of art.
No faces on abstract figures.
Someone may see themself.
There should be no random, lost or adventurous lines of paint.
All colors must be blended like vanilla cream cheese frosting.
It is best to use muted grays.
Bright, intense color can be jarring
And may upset a little.
Orange is fine.
I think that one of my paintings done at the workshop especially reflects my overall impression of my experience.
Tangle, 11×14, acrylic on canvas, ©2011, Ann Hart Marquis
As I described in my last blog, I like to think of myself as an artist and an environmentalist. My hope is that in some small way my art will help bring attention to the state of our natural world. I am not interested in painting the destruction that is present around the planet. I want to capture the beauty that exists even in unlikely places.
Sometimes the reality of our environmental changes is difficult to ignore. Reality “comes on little cat feet” or sometimes comes in huge boots dragging almost too much destruction for our consciousness to deal with. I live in New Mexico where we have been experiencing a severe drought that has been going on for years. The fire warnings are always HIGH. Drought is no less devastating than unusually severe rain and snow storms—it just takes a little longer. I am not a poet, but I wrote this poem two years ago as an enormous forest fire in Arizona crossed into New Mexico.
Road Home, Summer, acrylic on canvas, 2009, ©Ann Hart Marquis
The moon is red-orange tonight
like a lovely slice of Georgia peach, no longer its glistening blue, cool, silvery self.
A ravenous fire burns west of here heading this way,
sending its message in odious grey smoke.
Small flakes of black charcoal settle on the white of my perfectly unsoiled, spotless canvas.
I do not want to paint the moon tonight or try to capture the brittleness of dry parched air.
I do not want to paint in colors of
cadmium red, grey, black.
I do not want to think about desert wildfires or the disappearing rain forests.
I want to think about mauve, lime green, cerulean blue.
That’s the problem isn’t it?