Yesterday, after some friends had left my studio, I realized that I’d been bumbling around and lacing the atmosphere with some odd words and phrases. While gathering up the empty glasses, I also reminded myself that, as individualists, we all have the right to “name and claim” our own terms. Here, in an attempt at clarity — for you five treasured friends — are some definitions:
Strip-Mining — Methodical search into personal reference for new material and new directions.
Glancing — To see enough of another’s work to sufficiently prime the pump — without corrupting principles.
Early squeeze — The simple act of squeezing out paint as a method of prompting creative action.
Scumbling — Dragging a brush-load of light (often bright) colour over uninteresting areas.
Nuancing — Modifying elements from prior works in order to extract further interest.
Biggerization — Repeating satisfactory smaller works in larger proportions.
Terminal-Spotism — Final canvassing of a work in order to spot minor opportunities.
Smoke and mirrors — The full variety of methods used to assess work-in-progress — including the mirror.
Self-immolation — Brutal, self-actualized, critical evaluation.
Blind hubris — A pervasive and often chronic, ego-based stubbornness that strikes artists of all ages.
Co-dependency — Mutual approval and help systems that may or may not enhance mediocrity.
Personal foolism — Falling into the trap of “good enough is good enough.”
Strategic recyclism — The act of moving work from place to place (or gallery to gallery) in order to refresh it.
Banishing — Physical disappearance of inadequate work in order to clear the air for better work to proceed.
Re-virginization — Shipment of finished work from studio area in order to renew vision.
Re-humanification — Inviting friends into the studio in a spirit of sharing and reaffirmation of our brotherhood and sisterhood.
PS: “‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in a rather scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’” (Lewis Carroll) “Words are pegs to hang ideas on.” (Henry Ward Beecher)
Esoterica: We are all islands. While we may reach out to one another, and for a time, connect, we must, in the end, be ourselves. “The simple fact of yourself… there it is… just you… no excitement about it… a very simple fact… the only thing you have… keep it as clear as you can.” (Georgia O’Keeffe)
This letter was originally published as “Studio definitions” on September 27, 2003.
Sara Genn: New Paintings runs until November 2, 2018 at Voltz Clarke Gallery, 141 East 62nd Street, New York City. If you’re in the neighbourhood, we would love to see you there.
“predicament, n. The wage of consistency.” (Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary)
Join award-winning Plein air painter Sharon Rusch Shaver as she conducts her next exciting workshop in the south of France. Van Gogh’s bronze foot-steps dot sidewalks in the exact locations for his paintings in this beautiful city lined with rows of towering chestnut trees. Painting daily in your chosen medium: oil; watercolor; pastel; pen and ink artists as well as photographers will find plenty of inspiration in this city bathed in Mediterranean sunlight. Daily demonstrations and one-on-one help will be provided for those wanting to learn how to speed up and work quickly capturing that fleeting light and color in their paintings and with photos.
Chef prepared gourmet meals are served in the shade of the mulberry trees in the garden of this large comfortable country Farmhouse Maison only a few miles from the city where you will have a well-appointed ensuite room with views of the countryside for your stay. All-inclusive* 9 nights accommodation, transfers, meals, and instruction. Go to: Adventure-Artists.com