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
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 

Friday, January 17, 2014

People ask me how long it takes me to do a painting. I know what they mean, but to that question there is no timely answer. The question does not relate to art. Maybe making a ceramic bowl or quilt, or something in the craft arena it would, but in the arts, as with dance, music, theater, painting, etc. it has no relevancy.  Time has no meaning in the creation of art. Art exists, when it is done.
 I personally respond to that question, with, "My art takes as long to make as it does to say what I need to say, and  not even I know the answer to that" ~ russ potak

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

I am starting to grow weary of the same old, same old. I'm referring to painting.  I feel that there is a "been there done that kind of feeling lately".  I think I have reached a point where I need to launch out with more to say than mere subjectivity. I find subjects in and of themselves starting to bore me. Although, there is good news in this for me.  A new approach. To paint, because I love to paint. To do. The mere act of painting is the thing. Not so much simply just the subject anymore, but rather the inner most expression of the overall painting. The excitement that spawns from the paint wandering in an exploratory manner seeking to uncover more that just a good representation.  The subject being merely the vehicle.  I feel I am growing weary of representational renderings in paint. I therefor, am striking out in this new year, with a  more determined attempt to explore, to uncover and reveal things about my process. Things that I use to  relegate to the back seat in favor of painting a scene, a subject, or a thing. Not that I will not use subjects any longer, but it is just that they will be merely vehicles for getting to where I need to go in my art. And on occasion, I may paint those again, if the spirit moves me to do so. The end result in my painting will not be of the surface qualities, but rather an inward expression.  For all of you, who are familiar with my old more subjective impressionist style, .. I still have plenty of works done from my "Subjective Period" on the market.  A good amount of them can be found on Etsy, while they last. But that era in my art, is closing. I must press on. Newer works will emerge, and I have no idea where they will take me. That, my dear friends, is what its really all about. The exploration. The process. The journey. All things change. I know I am.

Monday, January 13, 2014

I am achieving what I need as I utilize a more free and unrestricted application of the medium. I find the letting go approach, so much more in touch with my "hearts eye" rather than my heads eye. The essence of what I need to say, comes out easier and more in tune with my soul and its need to express the things that go on inside, and inspired from things without. 
Landscape with Green
16 x 20" 
acrylic on canvas
©2014 russ potak

Sunday, January 12, 2014

acrylic on canvas
This is one of the first works I have done in moving toward a more internal relationship between me and the outside world. I feel I need to get closer to it and one of the ways I feel I can accomplish this is through a more expressive approach in the mediums I use. The representational exactness or similarities may fade more into the background but the force and life of the essence from which the inspiration was derived will come forth, and not be hidden as before. This is just the first steps I am taking with this, and this painting touches upon that concept, ever so lightly.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

As of late, I am beginning to view things a little differently. I'm not sure if its because I have been painting for so long, or maybe its the way I am beginning to understand why I paint in the first place.
 A fan of mine on one of my sites caused me to re evaluate why I would paint something in the first place.
I had taken what I thought was a very complete photo of an inspired scene. It was very moving and I composed the shot very well. I believe I captured the essence of that moment well with my lens.
 After posting it,  I was asked the question, if I was going to paint this? That is when the wheels in my head started turning in regards to that question, which started to  perplexe me greatly. I felt, that I had already said it, in a photograph.  To paint it would be redundant. What more could I possibly add to this than what I believe I had successfully extracted from it with a photograph. Its that all painting is I thought? Just transfer what I see to paint? To just say it in paint rather than some other medium? It that all painting for an artist is all about. To just render the thing in paint and say, now I have it in paint as well as a photograph?
This caused me some thought and an assessment of why I do paint.
  I know know that photography stands alone. Its medium is what it is. It works well.
Painting is what it is and it works well. The two should never really cross paths and compete. There is no competition as technology will win hands down now, and even more in the future with image manipulations.
 I know now that the purpose of an artist is much greater that the technology that races ahead like an unleashed torrent of cyber matter. I do not want to reveal what is already common and known, but rather what is not. I find myself being drawn to the inner life of things that are beneath the veneer of sight and sound,  and the subsequent representation that we take for granted of associative imagery. I have finally come to know that I will use photography as a medium for stating and revealing the magic of what is before us. The beauty of nature, the creation before us that presents itself on a daily basis. The incredible compositions that emerge from the light and drama on this planet.
 And I know something else now. I have a renewed sense as an artist to speak from within me, to say the things that come from me in response to the above mentioned wonders. I shall paint from within the "me" that must purge my response to these things. I believe now, I feel a sense of liberation, in not having to tell the story with the shackles of representation. What comes forth, will probably be more expressive now. More abstract, yet not really. As I think I am beginning to see, there is no abstract if it comes from a reality of inner self. That is as real as it gets.  If I translate that into paint, is then is that not what I really see and feel? No, not abstract, .. but a true and correct representation of my inner self and response to the world of within and without. The viewer may connect, and may not. To some it might be very real, and to others, yes, ... pure abstraction. That is okay. Its meant for touching on a one to one basis, and yes even to all if that is so. For now, that is where I am heading in my art.  I will certainly share more thoughts on this as they emerge.