For the lesser painter

Some observations that apply, some more than others, to painting as well.

From: A Lesser Photographer, Ten principles for Rediscovering What Matters, C.J. Chilvers

  1. Artists thrive on constraints
  2. Go amateur: be remarkable, not marketable.
  3. It’s about the image, not how you make it
  4. Tell stories: learn to write or collaborate with a writer
  5. What you keep returning to in your work is your visual home
  6. Don’t improve on what you see
  7. Show only your best work
  8. Control the way you show it
  9. Keep it legal (not so much for paintings; nota bene, Richard Prince)
  10. Be grateful: “While others let beauty pass them by, we recognize it, experience it and share it with the world.”



2 Responses to “For the lesser painter”

  1. Sarah F Burns

    Great reminders. Constantly needed. Especially – it’s about the image, not how you make it. It’s so easy to be “process oriented” and that’s fine if therapy is your purpose, but really if you want to reach people when you’re not around, it’s got to be about the image.

    I also like the idea of telling a story. Tiny stories, but still. I need to ponder this.

  2. dave dorsey

    I agree. The storytelling thing for me has to be unconscious. I’ve had people tell me they like paintings I’ve done that make them think of a story, but that’s never my intent. I’m always absorbed by formal issues: color, light, the quality of the paint. But I like the idea that I might be subconsciously depicting something that serves as the seed of a “story” for a viewer. Same thing on image vs. process: I paint mostly because of the process and yet I won’t get totally focused unless I’m working toward an image that connects with me emotionally.