That question was asked of me by one of my instructors in my last year of classes at the U of A. He’s British, so it came out sounding more like Ricky Gervais with a mouthful of marbles: “Is dat awl yew dew, is pain’ beau’ifow pain’ings?”
At the time I didn’t know how to react to that question, other than a nervous giggle. I still really don’t. On the surface it’s a compliment, an admiration of my work. In context, it’s a challenge. I had often been questioned about my use of brilliant colour, and have been encouraged to step outside my comfort zone and make something “less pretty”.
My best friend and fellow artist still encourages me to “grey things up a bit”. When she sees a finished work that is more subdued than my usual palette, she’s often very excited and prods me to go more in that direction.
I’m not convinced, however. Sure, I like my less intense works, but they’re still not my favorite. Don’t get me wrong. I like more subdued works when they’re done by other artists, but it’s just not… me.
Being true to myself and my work is important to me. I struggled for years to find myself and my artistic voice. I’m not letting go of it, now that I have it. I am not going to compromise my work for something that someone else will like better.
Yes, my work uses bright and intense colours. No, that’s not going to change anytime soon. I love my work, and loving your own work and being confident in it is the first step to getting other people to love it too.
It’s time again for Retro Art of the Week!
Spectrum I, Acrylic on Canvas, 30 x 60″, 2007
This is a rare painting where I was convinced by an instructor that it was too bright and encouraged to tone it down quite significantly with grey. It makes me happy you can still see much of the colour coming through the grey.