• Jay Zarkovacki

    “I don’t think Monet’s frustration stems from problems of ‘how-to.'”

    Wow, great point. I’ve only been painting for about a year and a half and I’m already finding myself gravitating towards more loose painting and a much less literal interpretation of scenes. Then I look at Monet and (eye-sight problems noted) I notice that his paintings seem to border on more abstract, heavy broken color realizations (think Vetheuil in the Fog and Waterlilies). I personally like this expression because I feel much less burdened to create something literal and adore the feeling of painting my sensation — loose and interpretive as it may be… It’s simply much more enjoyable and I feel that power of which you always refer.

    Of course my family will NEVER get it…

    Thanks for reminding me that I’ve only got a little bit of time to paint what I please.

    August 08, 2011
    • Jerry Fresia

      Sounds like you are getting it quite nicely. One of the reasons I harp on painting not being production, etc is that while painting is very difficult, the difficulty, primarily, lies in shifting gears mentally. Once we start to get the joy of painting – by simply experiencing it – all the rest can be discarded. It is like skipping school. Having said that, I do – unlike so many, such as Wolf Kahn, believe that learning a “proper” method is useful in that it helps us to learn a visual language but we must always keep in mind (and this might satisfy the Kahn types) that a structured method is useful essentially as a booster rocket…something that helps us see and feel, and feel and see. If I had to pick one over the other, I would side with Kahn and say: “just get to the excitement.” In any case, if one gets lost painting his or her heart out, there is nothing that, I suspect, competes with that high. And what is wonderful about it, it is then, and maybe only then, that the damn painting seems to get a life too.

      August 11, 2011
  • As a former teacher educator and now in my reincarnation as a teacher of drawing and painting with a group of wonderful developing artists, it has always been my practice to stress process over product….even in a school system and a society where product has become increasingly more valued. One of my adolescent academic students once summed it up so eloquently by reflecting: It wasn’t WHAT I learned, it was that I learned HOW to learn. She was attempting to answer my question of whether her parents had made the correct choice by placing her with me for the three years she spent with me in an alternative program. Content had not been our focus but process had been and she so wisely saw the benefits and the result. She went on to graduate from veterinary college “best in her class” to prove the point. More importantly she has gone on to be a wonderful mother and wife as well as a successful doctor and is considering returning to university as a teacher. I know she will focus with her students on the importance of the process of healing. Even my beginning artist students are continually frustrated by their “products” not being successful and it is my responsibility as their teacher to help them reflect on what learning took place during the process of producing that apparently “unsuccessful” product and consider what that means to their development as an artist and how they can apply these reflections to their next effort. They struggle with the concept of seeing their work as a developmental process and require guidance to make thoughtful reflections on their and their peers’ works. I feel this phase of the creative process is almost more important than the “doing” part….the time when you force yourself to ask “So I did this piece….so what?” I am sure that Monet was doing just that when he decided to destroy a canvas….so he could learn from the process of doing it and act upon that learning to continue the process through the work on his next canvas. What a humbling example for us all to take as we struggle through our own

    August 21, 2011

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