Get Your Facts First And Then Distort

Image

Janis Joplin – Jacki Kellum – Watercolor

[For this painting of Janis Joplin, I didn’t have a photograph to follow. I combined several photos, a great deal of inspiration, and a tremendous amount of freedom.]

Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.” Mark Twain

When I was in college, abstract expressionism was still a rage in much of the country.  I love it.  I love looking at good, abstract expressionistic work–like that of Hans Hofman–and I love DOING it.  Painting expressionistically just FEELS good.  Swish, Swipe, Splat!!!! Ah, BRAVURA FEELS good.  Yet, it frustrated me that few–if any got my drift.

Not long after college, I was in an art show; and I overheard these young boys [about 12-years-old] giggling about my work.  One said, she might as well paint the whole thing black and call it night.  That comment caused me to think.  While abstract expressionism is a wonderful cathartic, I am not sure that it actually communicates–at least not to many.  Now, don’t get me wrong; I am not entering the debate as to whether art has to communicate–I am just saying that it made me wonder if I was doing what I wanted to do. It also made me wonder if I really could draw things and paint things more realistically or if I was just trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes.

I began what has become my lifelong quest to satisfy both needs–my need for an expressionistic catharsis and my need to communicate to at least a few. This boils down to my need to be technically good enough that I can paint or draw something anyway that I want–without limitations.

Having taught art for many, many years, my philosophy has been that all art students should learn the technique of making things appear real–and then they should move beyond technique to the actual making of art.  Otherwise, we, as artists, might fall into the sham of abstracting images simply because we cannot draw them.

“All art students should learn the technique of making things appear real–and then they should move beyond technique to the actual making of art.  Otherwise, we, as artists, might fall into the sham of abstracting images simply because we cannot draw them.” –                                   Jacki Kellum

Abstraction is good–it is great.  My digital art is very abstract; and that is one reason that I love doing it.   I provide many clues in my digital art; and I believe that the meaning is not totally obscure.  Yet, I believe that even the digital artist should have a full arsenal of tools–a complete visual vocabulary–so that he/she can pick exactly the correct amount of abstraction or realism that is needed relevant to any situation.

As Mark Twain has advised us,

Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.” – Mark Twain

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Get Your Facts First And Then Distort

    1. What a very nice thing to say. I look forward to looking at your posts, too. It usually takes one to know one. I am rather new at this [I’ve been doing this less than two months], I would appreciate your telling me honestly what you like and do not like in my posts.

      Thank you for your support

      Like

      1. I’m blown away by your thoughts and writing skill. I can learn from you! I was an art major, but always felt tortured in creating art. I can relate to what you said about painting not seeming productive. That was always part of the struggle, since I was fully supporting myself financially, emotionally and spiritually through my 7 years of college.

        I prefer writing. I loved writing about art. I appreciate how you mix philosophy in your posts and your writing style is impeccable. I just put up my first blog post today. It touches on what art means to me and how it has aided me on my path.

        I’m also a nanny and so many of the philosophies you talk about parallel my concerns about education, learning, parenting and the external vs. internal. Trying to express myself to you, I feel like I’m babbling. I look forward to more of your posts.

        Thank you!

        Like

  1. You are not at all babbling. You express yourself very well. I also have the dual interest in visual and written art. I write a lot about William Blake. He both wrote and illustrated his work in 1790 and forward. Please count me as a distant friend; and friend me on facebook. Any time I can help you, I want to do that. I believe that we must be very similar. Besides that, I love your name: Kate Feathers. I also create art dolls; and I absolutely must create my interpretation of your name. Keep in touch with me. I am off to read your blog.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s