Red Barns

Sentinel Shadows

Recently we attended an artist Q&A session with several abstract painters. I am not, nor will I ever be, an abstract painter but I found the session to be a wonderful insight into what makes these folks tick. There was a lot of discussion regarding line, shape and use of color. Inspirations and methods also came into the conversations. I was enjoying the insightful commentary until one of the artists, while discussing the difference between representational art (a.k.a. realism) and abstract noted that “In realism people paint red barns….you could see a thousand red barns and once you’ve seen one red barn painting….you’ve seen them all.”

Wait….what? I’ve painted barns. Red, white and worn out weathered wood barns. None of them look alike and I have had different feedback from many different people regarding each one. I love barns…dammit. I suppose what bothered me the most was that in this open forum I had to listen to another artist bash my style. A little voice in my head told me to calm down, remain quiet and listen.

What I walked away with was a renewed notion that creativity comes in many different shapes and sizes. Much like people and politics, we all have different views and each one needs to be respected. I start a painting with a definate plan and follow through all of the steps it takes to completion. In the end I may have a red barn but most of the brush strokes that got me to that point were abstract shapes….placed with great care. The abstract artist places shapes and color freely but in the end titles the piece which lets the viewer know what they were thinking, thereby giving it validity and guiding the viewer into their completed work.

Abstract and representational artists have more in common than not. Opposed political name calling seems to be the fashion of the day but when it comes to art it is possible to find a common ground. Let’s keep it clean folks and appreciate that fact that we are all striving to understand each other. P.S.: My current painting features an old weathered barn wall….just sayin’.

5 thoughts on “Red Barns

  1. At first I found myself saying what the heck does this guy know about red barns. I love all barns. As I continued reading, I had to agree with you. Individuality is what defines each of us. Who am I to judge? Well, said, my friend.

  2. When an artist makes a disparaging remark regarding another style of work it does more damage to the artist who made the remark than anything else. It reviles a lack of understanding and an unwillingness to be open to what they are critical of. Particularly when all any artist asks is to be accepted and considered. To simply reject any artists work without a clear expression of what is at the basis of the criticism is shear ignorance. You don’t have to like everything but if you are going to engage in that kind of dialog you should be prepared to accept the work for what it is offered up as and then explain why and wherefore there is a divergent point of view at play in his or her position. It is not just outright rejection of the work on the surface. To do so makes them much less than what they put themselves out there to be. An artist who creates a work of art that is either beautiful or significant and you the viewer should see this. It doesn’t mean you have to like it because it is Art. It simply means that you should be willing and open to what the artist has engaged. Be it realistic or abstract.

  3. +1 Boz, in spite of this persons comment, I wisely chose to stay out of it. I highly doubt you’d ever find this participant in a Q&A on realism. Ignorance indeed. “Willing and open” seemed to elude her, as well as an awareness of the audience possible likes and dislikes.

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