After lunch, I went to one of the galleries in the Met to view some of Winslow Homers' watercolor paintings. I stood in front of a magnificent painting of Homer's, just quietly viewing and enjoying the artistry of his work, when I noticed a couple standing next to me discussing the same painting. I was curious to hear what they had to say about the piece so I took my earphones out of my ears to ease drop on their conversation…hmm, interesting.
The woman was pointing out how she could see pencil lines showing through the watercolor paint and she felt that Homer should have, “cleaned up his work before he finished it". I walked away thinking about her comment.
Should an artist leave pencil lines show through the paint or should they clean up their work before they finish? Well, it is my opinion that the artwork is more interesting when the pencil lines show through the paint. I feel that the lines gives me a hidden insight to the process the artist was taking to create the work, or shall I say, “The steps the artist took to get there.” The pencil lines allow me to see the artists' original intentions.
Then I started thinking about art and life. If my life was a painting, would I allow people to ‘see my lines’ through my paint, or would I clean it all up and make everything in my life appear perfect?
Would I want people to see all the steps I took to get to the place I am right now? YES, yes, yes! We learn from each other. I teach you guys more than just art, right?
Art comes from within us. It is a means of self-expression. That is why I strongly believe that if I am to properly teach you how to be good artists then I must not just teach you how to 'make art' but I must teach you how to 'think about art'.
All the things that happened in our life 'show through' just like the under-drawing of a watercolor. Songwriters, singers, and rappers express their life experiences with words, we as visual artist express life experiences, visually. If this is true, then why would you want to conceal or hide anything? Rappers certainly don't, they put it all out there!
Allow the world to see who you are and all the things in your life that brought you to the place where you stand today. The good, the bad and the ugly…embrace you. Embrace your heritage, your social economic background, your community, your school….accept and be happy with who you really are. Don’t hide anything! It is very freeing, trust me! Express you and you will fulfill your purpose as an artist.