Friday, March 17, 2006

What I learned about Plein Air Painting from
American Idol
Could there possibly be any connection between America's favorite show and plein air painting? First, I must confess that although Idol has been a huge success for several years, this is the first season I've tuned in, and learned a lesson about art.
This past week the 12 finalists had to preform a Stevie Wonder song. Stevie Wonder is an imensely talented musician with a unique voice and style. The finalists all had a difficult time . The judges acknowledged that it was a very difficult thing to preform a Stevie Wonder song, given his uniqueness. Here's what the judges were looking for ....could any of the contestants take a Stevie Wonder song and make it there own. Would they take the chance to re-interpret the song, sing it differently than the great Stevie Wonder, change, reinvent, and mold it to show off their own uniqueness. Very few did. Simon was correct in saying that many of the performances were merely "karaoke" just decent, copy-cat renditions of the song. In art we call that "derivative". Now in some sense all human endeavor is derivative, we are all influenced and inspired by what has come before. "There's nothing new under the sun." so says Solomon the Wise. It's the same with plein air painting, and any kind of painting for that matter. Specifically with plein air there is a tradition of capturing the light, the color and the values exactly as we see them in nature to create a truthful and very naturalistic rendition of the scene before us. The picture frame could be a window frame.
The big question is can a plein air painter have the boldness to reinvent, reshape and mold what nature presents to orchestrate a painting that shows an authentic and unique response to nature. That's the direction I'm moving in. Here are some links to plein air painters who've found their own authentic, original voice. Their work inspires me and I hope you will enjoy it too!

Camille Prezwodek

Charles Sovek

Linda Blondheim

Frank Edwards

1 comment:

L. Diane Johnson said...

Hi Jan,

I love this post about how Idol impacted you regarding plein-air painting! Great observation and application.

Thanks for the insight!