Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Grape Tomatoes and Limes
Grape Tomatoes and Limes
oil on canvas panel 6x6"

Such a big scare on the news for contaminated tomatoes, that even major fast food chains are keeping them off their menus. They weren't all that great tasting anyway. These grape tomatoes are OK to eat, but even better to paint.
I have a lot of inspirational painting books, and yesterday I saw something that disturbed me. A quote from Wayne Thiebaud on teaching students:
"I tell my students that painting is more important than art. When they say , I am going to make some art now, I tell them, wait a minute, you are going to make a painting, but someone else is going to decide whether you are doing art."
Well, as much as I love Thiebaud's work, I think that statement is a lot of hooey. And it makes me frustrated. Why would a teacher want to throttle a student with that kind of roadblock? Of course the the student's work is art. It may not be great art, but even bad art is art. Attaching an unreachable value to the term art is just so stupid. Why would someone else's opinion of the work validate it more than the mere act of creation?
Then this note from my friend and fellow artist Sonji Hunt came yesterday:
"There is nothing unique or groundbreaking that makes one succeed. In the big art world, it's just when some designated status person crowns you "a genius". It's all a bunch of sh*t marketing. The art world thrives on exclusivity, which is why all but 1% have to be declared "bad". It's the only way for the "good" to stand out...even if no one knows why!"
I think she has something there.


  1. Anonymous8:21 AM

    Mel, why are those 'light' spots on your limes looking like headlights?
    Or better yet, like eyes!

  2. Melody,

    I love this new work. You are on a roll!

    I agree wholeheartedly with your comment about art. I saw an exhibit last year of Jasper Johns, who is reportedly one of the best paid artists living. Some of his work was interesting, but I didn't like much of it. So much of art is personal. What I like someone else might not like and vice versa. And the reasons for liking or not liking a particular painting vary. Anyway, I love your paintings. They are so full of life, as are your quilts.

    Have a great day.

    Kristin in SC

  3. This is why I love working in education and most especially the younger set. On many occasions my young kindergarten students have declared me a genius! The praise and glow lasts for several hours and I highly respect their opinion! After hearing such praise, my work (whatever it might be) gets better, too!
    From one genius to another I think you make great art!

  4. Liz in IN10:17 AM

    The dictionary on my computer defines 'art' as 'beautiful or thought-provoking works produced through creative activity.'

    I don't think Wayne Thiebaud was judging the worth of the *creative activity*, but perhaps rather suggesting that the concept of and even the word "art" has been co-opted by 'them' (you know, 'them')to mean something far different than the outcome of that 'creative activity'.

    Go to a gallery and read the artists' statements next to the various works, sometime.

    Hint: Wear tall rubber boots. ;)

  5. All that I can say is that I look forward to seeing what's new on your easel. These paintings have such vibrant colors (my favorites) that just make me happy to look at. I'm sure in person they'd be even better because of all the textures.

    "Art" ... yes that's all a load of BS by the mighty few in the art world. I went to art school (for a design degree)and it was just ridiculous what the critiques brought out. Training to belong I guess.

  6. Mel.....I am loving all of your new paintings. I wish I could afford to purchase them all.

  7. Anonymous3:14 PM

    Hi, I sort of agree with the statement by Thiebaud. When I draw I'm not making "art" I'm drawing. No expectation just the lines.
    Liz H

  8. I love what Tami said "training to belong." That is so true. And the second quote in your post is great too. This series of paintings you're doing is just amazing!


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