Friday, November 21, 2014

Just some thoughts. If I don't get these fragmented thoughts down somewhere, I will most likely lose them. And this is as good as place as any to unload them.
Okay, .. first thought.
I decided to try a few landscapes again, and it seems everybody ooooh-ed and ahhhh-ed over them. I did a few more, and the same. On the third one, .. I got restless, and then extremely bored. I found that there was nothing I hadn't said in them before. And I realized that if an is a journey, then going back over familiar ground is like going in circles. You get nowhere. You just keep repeating yourself. Oh sure people love the repetition, but in the end, it will kill the artists reason to paint. If the only reason to paint is to repeat motions over and over, it would be better to be rowing a boat. At least the boat will end up somewhere. I don't know where I am going here, but I do know, I have to keep the journey new, fresh, and go to undiscovered places in myself. Otherwise I may just fall asleep at the easel and that could be dangerous. Crash and burn. Not a pretty sight for any artist.
This painting is one of my new approaches in finding new places to go instead of the familiar duck pond or landscape.
Titled: Loose Wire
acrylic on 200 lb archival paper
11 x 11"
©11/14 russ potak

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Explained Shape
14" x 12" 
acrylic on 200 lb paper
©11/14 russ potak 
Its been a real long time since I have blogged. Veerrrrry long. I don't even remember when I did last. I guess I could check to see, but why?  If I think it was a long time ago, then it probably was.
 A lot has happened with the way I see art now. Especially my art. I'm not sure when, but at some point I began feeling lethargic about painting. And I thought to myself, why? What is it exactly that is starting to tire me and cause me to lose interest. As usual, despite my questions, I just continued on painting, .. and starting to lose interest again.

 It was at that point that I realized, .. "wait a minute,.. I've done this painting before,..I've been here. Done it, again and again, ...! " Yes, I did. I have painted for so long and for so much, that there is hardly anything I have not painted.  And even if there was, I began to question the reason. Was this all there is? Just to keep on painting, and finding different subjects to paint? I One after another, after another, after another...Borrrrrring is the only word that comes to mind here. Just to paint, and paint, and paint, expressing subjects one after another. began to wear on my mind. I had to do something here, or I felt I would have hung up my brushes. The only time I felt enthused was when I was experimenting in using paint differently, or breaking my own rules that I felt necessary to paint the known world of subjects. But it was those self imposed rules that were dragging me to deeper and deeper depths, like an anchor snared around my legs. I felt helpless to break free.

 Life is short enough, and hard enough, without one's art driving ones self to boredom. I needed to change gears. I knew it had to undergo some kind of variation if I were to stay interested.  It wasn't about not liking painting, it was more about having the same experience, over and over, doing the same thing, with results that were very much of the same. How many landscapes, bowls of fruit, sports figures, local scenes, seascapes, etc, am I actually going to paint? I can't even count how many of all of those subjects I have done over and over, . yes, and over. I needed a new approach here. Something that makes me want to experience the act of painting again. Not just "getting it right" and having a nice representation for someone to ooh and ahh at about how well I painted the thing. I found I don't really care anymore about how well I paint a "thing".

I found my solution. Using painting as a means to explore new worlds in colors that I have not experienced. To paint places I have never seen, or may never see. Places in the mind, places of the compositions themselves. Lines, forming out of nothing, shapes being born on my canvas for the first time, and harmonies that started to make music in my head and on my palette. This I thought was like exploring new worlds. New lands. Infinite universes.

 Since then I have been fired up. Excited. Finding a thrill in the process of painting. I have left the known world of subjects behind that were getting exceedingly tiring, boring, uneventful and all too familiar. I now look on painting as a journey. A trip. An adventure. Or as one very familiar, and famous Captain once said.... "To boldly go where no one has gone before."
Its always the journey anyway and not the destination. I shall play this out. Who knows how long it will last, or where it will lead me. And at least its not boring.

Friday, August 1, 2014

The Berkshires
8x10" 
acrylic on 200# cotton rag paper
As the summer moves into its mid season position in these parts, I have l intentionally limited my palette to a few basic colors. The predominance of green hues are everywhere and some variations in between. I take my oil pastels out into the field and capture my composition and then upon my return to the studio, finish it as a painting with acrylics. Its kind of a semi-plein air of sorts. I hope to compile more of these on location field works each day. Light changes, weather changes, and foliage does as well. It proves interesting.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

As the summer has come, so has a different feel to the land that I observe daily. I notice in this area where I live a predominance of green hues, interwove into umber and ochre. The skies are rarely true blue, like the skies of the west, but here they are rather thick with atmosphere and haze at times. I notice that I have toned down my palette for this time of year. as the long days and warm nights have given me a more naturalistic feel to my painting the earth and its backdrops. This painting is from a sketch I did just up the road from my studio, and I go there often to scribble subjects for paintings I will do later. 
Berkshire Landscape
11 x 14" 
acrylic on treated canvas paper
©7/14 r potak

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The thing I love most about landscapes, is that they change, morph, and are in a constant state of flux. Not the physical land, but rather the life and mood they exhibit. Like a person, they have personalities. They appear in many different moods, .. some happy, some meditative, some angry, or sullen and everything in between. They are limitless sources for an artist from which to take note and express those qualities. Its free for the picking and it occurs in any season. All you have to do is tune in, take note, listen and look,.. and especially .. see. The seeing is the most important part. The look just points you in the right direction, but then you have to see. With a little patience, the land will reveal its true inner self to you.  The essence of what it is saying. It does speaks. You just have to listen. 
12 x12" acrylic on 200 lb archival paper
© 5/14 russ potak 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Sometimes its a feel, or a sense of place and other times it a mood, or reaction to some colors or shapes. Other times its pure experimentation. A dream, a mood, a feel, or just pure and free creating. But its almost never ever,  a true and correct representation. I have no interest in that whatsoever, except with the medium of photography.  In this instance I was surfing the web and found some photos  of Malibu State Park, and right away, I felt some inspired moments by observing some of the features in the land. I went with that, and a feel for  what I was seeing. The rest just evolved. This is usually how I like to work best. Just letting things happen. No nets, no plans, no expectations. Free to explore the subject and the medium. 
Painting inspired by Malibu State Park
12 x 12"
acrylic on 200 lb cotton press paper
©5/13/14 russ potak

Friday, January 31, 2014

This painting fall in line better with what and how I want to say. The overall work is loose but not to the point of pure abstract. The mind still can grab on to some identifying features and shapes. I employed the lights and darks throughout to maintain drama with lighting. High contrast, yet soft in places. I call this "Restaurant Interior' Its 11 x 14", acrylic on 200# archival paper. ©2014 rpotak