Why, hello there! If you are reading this, then you have been summoned to participate in the "Not My Thing" Challenge. Lucky you! What is this challenge, you ask? I am happy to explain:
About a week ago, I decided that I needed to challenge myself. I've been out of art school for 9 months now, and while I love the freedom to create what I desire and push my unique style, I miss the challenges of learning and expanding on the technique of my craft. I desire to be well-rounded, proficient, and adept in painting. Which leads to confession time. I struggle with glazing.
For those that don't know, glazing is a technique of painting that was made famous by the Old Masters. It consists of layering transparent colors on top of each other to achieve a luminosity that comes from within the painting. This technique is what makes Da Vinci's Mona Lisa, and Vermeer's Girl with the Pearl Earring, look so real and alive. Hundreds of thin layers which blend and reflect light from within, instead of just light hitting the surface of the painting.
Now, I've learned to glaze in college, but OH the struggle. Horrid nightmares of zombie looking figures haunt my memories. I still feel guilty and terrible for my figure painting models, due to my horrendous and inaccurate depiction of them. Glazing was just not my thing. But I digress.
I believe I struggled so much with glazing for two main reasons. 1. I'm not patient. Glazing is a very time consuming style of painting. It takes an obscene amount of layers to build up the painting, and you must wait for every layer to dry before adding the next one. 2. I exaggerate color. Those who know my style know that I LOVE to go obnoxious with color. This natural inclination of mine is what resulted in my poor figure paintings being grotesque and zombified. I'm not a realist artist. And that's okay! I love my style. It is a part of who I am and my voice. However, I don't want to be viewed as "that artist" who paints so vividly and abstractly because I "can't" do anything else. My style is my choice. That does not mean that I'm excused from bettering myself and having multiple tools in my artist back pocket.
Hence! (yes, hence) The challenge! And I decided to challenge myself in a BIG way. I decided that I am going to tackle glazing in an attempt to create a hyper-realist painting. Hyper-realism is a style of painting that is more life-like than life! For examples, check out artwork by Tjalf Sparnaay and Lee Price. (Seriously, go do it. It will blow your mind.) This extensively detailed and accurate style is vastly different my own. However, I've admired the technical skill and beauty of it for so long. So, I'm taking something that's not my thing, and am determined to learn from and conquer it in epic proportions! The result SHOULD look like the picture on the right. That's the goal. There's not a time limit. This is a personal project that is set aside from my other paintings and professional body of work. But I still believe it is important and relevant to growing in my profession. I'm not saying that I will ever be an accomplished hyper-realist painter, but I'm also not saying that I won't be. Who knows? I'm just trying for me.
So... you. What is that one element of your trade that you would say is "Not My Thing?" You got it? Good. I now challenge you to turn it into a project! Artists of all types (visual, writing, music, dance, the list goes on...) have a niche within their world. However, I fervently believe that if we are to grow and become relevant members of society, with strong voices advocating for our chosen careers, we must always learn and grow and accept new challenges. So will you?
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