I spent a lot of my artistic efforts in undergraduate staying away from oil painting and the reason that I always gave was that I lacked the patience for it. This might not seem like the sort of thing that stands out but since I went for woodcuts instead of oil paints, patience seems like a silly reason to gravitate away from painting in oils. Not only that but I have oodles of patience in my daily life. Additionally, woodcuts, and in fact most forms of artistic printmaking inherently require a great deal of patience. The real reason is a reason I talked about in a previous post and that is my loathsome relationship with color in art making. Woodcuts allowed me to create impactful images without abandoning the strengths of the medium and getting to choose in very discrete ways how I wanted to use color, something very much absent in oil painting. I wanted that really graphic expression and I wanted not to have to think too hard about color if I thought about it at all. This isn’t to say that color cannot be a strength in woodcuts, I have seen color employed in envy inducing ways by other very talented artists, but it is not core to the medium as it tends to be in oil painting.
The other reason that I gravitated towards woodcuts is that I was drawn to art originally by comic books, cartoons, and other very graphic media. Based on the art that I primarily consumed my entire life up until college, subtly blended colors and honestly art without outline was a little foreign to me in terms of how I personally would be able to execute it. With all of those things in mind I pushed on through undergrad creating things that I was genuinely proud of even if they didn’t challenge me as much as possibly they should have. My one concession to challenging myself was using watercolors on top of the oil based ink to add another layer of dimension to my prints. I was happy with how they turned out but the colors I chose lacked a certain nuance that I knew other people around me were innately capable of. To an outside viewer all of the colors look intentional but really they were more just “what I was capable of” than they were extremely conscious efforts in terms of blending and color choice.
I say all of these things to introduce this particular piece that I painted (digitally) of a satyr-like creature. She boasts a simple color scheme but I feel as though I accomplished some things that I never was really able to grasp in real world media. The shapes and volumes are described by complex colors instead of an outline and various values on the same color. This is not the most advanced use of those principles and the colors themselves are still pretty limited but for me it is a good sidestep of my comfort zone. In six months to a year, I’ll probably hate it but for now I am proud to have employed my patience to make myself try harder on artistic weaknesses.