Thursday, April 21, 2011

Good or Bad Paintings

A friend asked yesterday which painting I thought was my ‘best’ Immediately I knew which one I considered “my best”.

Interesting subject … how do we know when a painting is “good”, “excellent” or a “throw that one away"

I’ve never entered a juried show, and cannot anticipate every doing so; so don’t know the criteria established for these shows. Would some ‘jurist’ deny my ‘best’ as garbage, and by what measurement?

I was taught that a good drawing is the underlying precedent for a good painting; that without first identifying all compositional aspects in a drawing, the painting would not succeed. Sometimes, very rarely actually, I pay attention to all the aspects of a ‘good drawing’ …. Identifying scale, proportions, form of composition, emphasis, focal points, motion. Sometimes! Usually I simply work from an initial sketch and hope for the best.

It seems to me that ultimately a painting must ‘speak’, it must have a VOICE if you will!  First, to the artist saying ‘here I am, this is what “I” feel, this is what “I” see! The trick of course is to convey to the viewer the same message.

I look at the painting included here – which I’ve titled “Indigo” and I know what it says to me; I have personal reasons for considering this my best. From a compositional aspect or ‘design’ flow I see changes I should make; but will not as I may wind up altering the moment I ‘felt’ this painting. I will not divulge what I see or feel in this painting at this point because I am more interested to know what readers of this blog ‘feel’ when they view “Indigo”.

I firmly believe that a “good” work of art must move the viewer; must provoke thought and recognition of ‘something’ personal to that viewer.   What do you think of “Indigo” ? Does it speak in anyway to you?


  1. Nicely balanced, Ruby, I see a power struggle.
    Dark, oppressive and a storm is brewing, but clearly there is light and a calm is hinted at when the storm passes. Love the duality to this, the light and dark and shadows.

  2. Thanks Jerry for looking and commenting; so appreciated.