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Building Paintings

I used to play a bit part in erecting buildings. Well, I started out disassembling old buildings to recycle the doors, windows and lumber, that and erecting barbed wire fences and beating locust fence posts into post holes with a 20 pound mall (they are quite heavy). I was a scrawny kid, lanky maybe once I sprouted, but skinny. I say that, because, I was about 13 years old at the time.


There are some parallels, at least conceptually, between building buildings and building a painting, although, for the most part, a painting is solitary activity. Often parallels are made about music, poetry, and painting. One can compose a painting and paint allegorically.


But there is a design phase, a thought, an idea, a planning phase, and an execution phase where you actually paint something. Sometimes artists merely paint what they see; however, many decisions need to come together, simultaneously even to do that. It can be a bit overwhelming.


Design is an interesting concept, though. My mother was an interior designer for a department store. Her model rooms and showcase house room designs were a work of art, cobbled together as they were with stock furniture and wall papers. I liked the idea of the field of industrial design. I think it’s very creative. But then there is the field of graphic design, but yeah, no, I’m colorblind.


I suppose I could go into the nitty gritty of design and composition of a painting… but then I could go on about painting indefinitely, and I want to keep this light and colorful. Don’t want to warp anyone’s consciousness with symbolism and the psychology of the color red. Let’s just say there is a lot that can go into the idea and not just the technical part about smearing pigments wetted with oil around on stretched linen fabric. That’s a whole conversation in itself.


I used to, like many beginners, get hung up on details. As it turns out, details are like the least important part of a painting, unlike buildings, where the devil really is in the details. But I think the pendulum has swung the other way some for me, currently. I’m less and less concerned with draftsmanship and tight execution and more interested in a pretty painting. If those two things can occur independently. I asked a gallery owner once what sells best, and she told me that it doesn’t matter, it just has to be really good.


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