16 comments


  • costanza baiocco

    Two statements resound deeply within me. (1) “The only appropriate evaluation for a work of art is, ‘Is it alive?” How simple, how profound, how useful in viewing all styles of art.
    (2) “get past the fact”. . .find the life! What always impresses me about your philosophy of art is that it is relevant not only for painting but for living as well. Getting past the facts of chronology. . .”late 80s,” “over 90” . . .allows the life within to grow and to find expression.

    August 07, 2015
    • Jerry Fresia

      Thanks Costanza and good point about getting past the facts (gender, race, etc too) in life. All of which makes the point that
      intense or rich feelings of life and expressive freedom in everyday life and in making art are not separate. “If I can’t dance….”

      August 07, 2015
  • Patrick Teefy

    Great article, Jerry. One must find the spark in the scene that inspires and, in doing so, connects the artist with the subject, leaving not just lines and color, but his/her personality , feelings, emotions and indeed vulnerability on the canvas.

    The longer I practice medicine, the more I see this artistic metaphor. Textbooks, journals, seminars and the basic implements for procedures handled through technical prowess are essential, but how they are utilized, crafted, the sensitivity of how they are modulated to the individual is the true art of the profession. Experience is one’s mentor !

    August 08, 2015
    • Jerry Fresia

      Hi Patrick, I think you are on to something. Everyday life and art ought to merge. We all ought to be artists in our work. But that would require that our work needs to be self-directed – which leaves out about 90% of the population. My father was a machinist in a GE factory and often times I think that if I had asked him if he had ever gotten a “thrill” or was “moved” at work, it might be an offending question – which says a lot about our way of life. But your implication that once we do become one with the subject, our powers are heightened – seems to me to be right on. As a surgeon, however, please ignore my critique of the concept “finish.”

      August 09, 2015
  • Thanks for this article, Jerry. It’s right on the money and I’ll be reading it again. I hope this finds you both well and enjoying life.

    August 08, 2015
    • Jerry Fresia

      Thanks Ceci…long time no hear. I trust you are painting like crazy!

      August 09, 2015
  • Thanks for the insightful reminder that we all feel and express the world around us with different visual concerns.
    What prompts one artist to paint a scene may be very different from another artists motivation to paint it…
    Great selection of examples !

    August 08, 2015
    • Jerry Fresia

      So true. The Impressionists would often refer to this too. They called this “temperament” and would emphasize the imperative that each of us must find our own, even if that meant marching to our own drummer.

      August 09, 2015
  • As always, I am beguiled, delighted, mystified by Wolf Kahn’s subtle nuanced work. Thank you, Jerry, for the visual delights and the P2verbal insights you send us.

    August 08, 2015
    • Jerry Fresia

      Thanks Joyce. I have always been moved by Kahn’s work. And while his method is different from what I was taught, in terms of stages, etc, the mentality is identical. He is a stickler for not “producing” and for the need to constantly push ourselves, all the while avoiding the trap of doing, over and over, those things we do well. He always talks about feeling “larger” and “alive.”

      August 09, 2015
  • marc

    Jerry,

    First, thanks for your feedback, it is very helpful. I agree with the other rely you received on this blog posting. The question I have for you is: does gesture and feeling the movement every stop when you are painting? During reconstruction I am going back to line, should I be concerned with form or can I just think of gesture?

    Thanks Again,
    Marc

    August 09, 2015
    • Jerry Fresia

      Marc…regarding your first question: feeling and responding to what you see ought never to stop, but that is the challenge. Some days I’m “on” and I’m excited and lost throughout the entire process. Other days, I don’t feel much of anything and then the subject matter is separate from me, as though I were building a model airplane or something. I can appreciate that I’m making something, but it feels detached, not inspired at all and thus I don’t really see much except the obvious. Regarding your second question: gesture is used in the first two stages; in the Composition stage it is the first thing we do with charcoal and the gesture is intended to organize the entire thing on the canvas with some feeling. Once we wipe off the charcoal and begin with oil in the Construction stage we look for gesture a second time – BUT IT ISN’T A REPETITION. It’s a second conversation. We are not more intimate with the gesture and feel it more and become more confident about it. After that, we do not return to gesture. That is why it is important to get off on the right foot from the beginning. Having said that, in Reconstruction, where we place lines indicating separations of value, they can be (and ought to be) done with a gestural type feeling – as with all the marks we make on the canvas, even in the painting stage, but establishing gesture and movement, as such, is done in the first two stages only. As Henri said, “cherish your feelings.” Feelings propel the marks we make. And even more important, we realize new feelings as we make marks, which in turn help us get carried away. At least on those good days. Probably the most important concept in all of this is that it isn’t necessary to “finish” the thing. Don’t begin a painting thinking you have to go to the bitter end. That’s production. Sometimes we do because we want to say more. Other times we stop because we have said enough. All too often the thing is alive and because we are in production mode, we keep going and we end up killing what was wonderful and alive.

      August 09, 2015
  • I can dance … and I do dance … and this made me feel like dancing all day long!

    I hope you don’t mind, Jerry, but I am sharing this post with the members of my website which, as you will see, consists of all kinds of artists. Yes, this must be seen by every artist on the globe! You are tops, you are! Thank you!!

    August 09, 2015
    • Jerry Fresia

      Hi Maria, Your over-the-top superlatives are fun to read! Thank you. Are you in a class, there in Cyprus?

      August 09, 2015
  • Roseanne

    I must add that this article is alive and describes the flow of painting at its best. Thank you.

    August 09, 2015
    • Jerry Fresia

      Hi Roseanne, Nice of you to say so. Thank you!

      August 10, 2015

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