Why Do You Create the Art You Create?

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Poetic Non-Representational Acrylic Painting

Painting by Terry Winters

Painting by Terry Winters, just because it’s so frigging beautiful!

Notes in response to the question “Why Do You Create the Art You Create?” posed in the class Poetic Non-Representational Acrylic Painting with Andrew long, Fall 2007

Thoughts and Quotes in response (from several previous classes at SAIC posted earlier in this blog):

An artist needs to be able to sustain their penetration to move past a simply available solution to one with greater depth.

The image must convey something special which appeals to the senses through the way it is presented.

Abstract concepts help to convey visual meaning.
The essence of a work lies in its visual meaning.

Aim for the BIG LOOK:

  • tough
  • brutal
  • uncompromising articulation of imagery and idea
  • extremes of technique


Thoughts and notes in response (from a discussion with my husband):

Meaning is a property of symbols – process is a mapping between symbol and what it’s assigned to represent — an experience of a thing or a concept that the reader has to have had.

Shape – how do we identify a shape?  Similar to the process of mapping a symbol.  (think of shapes in a cloud that make recognizable shapes).

“Something for everybody.”

Shapes relate to the notion of structure – an organizing principle or structures – little shapes that make up the whole structure.

Our notion of meaning and structure – parts relate functionally to the whole.

Some writers invoke “how true, how true.”  Others invoke “I see, I see.”  Better to be the kind who invokes “I see, I see.”

Color is more akin to music – it’s not about experience, it is experience.

Music – listeners’ enjoyment has to do with a balance between the expected (or familiar) and the unexpected – maybe 50-50.

Country music is boring because it’s all expected — jazz is uncomfortable because there’s not enough that’s expected.

Country music is to jazz as [Thomas Kincaide] is to abstract art?

Am I saying something?


  1. hypothesis
  2. data
  3. interpretation of data (mapping of meaning)

The development is a key aspect of it.

Step – “it follows…”

Early phases – R&D – trial and error.
Then exploring; then becomes more directed as you develop & discover how to discover.

Like the Vikings vs. the navigators (Columbus, etc.) — the Vikings may have discovered America first, but they were only about going out and bumping into things; the navigators knew there was stuff out there to discover, set out to discover them, and developed the techniques to discover (navigation, etc).  They discovered how to discover.

So the ‘let’s go find it’ phase can only come after the ‘bumping into’ phase.

Ontology – stuff from the outside world.

Are Your Objects Objects or Facsimiles?

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Poetic Non-Representational Acrylic Painting
"Rabbit" Jeff Koons 1986 Stainless Steel 41 x 19 x 12 inches
“Rabbit” Jeff Koons 1986 Stainless Steel 41 x 19 x 12 inches

Class notes from Poetic Non-Representational Acrylic Painting with Andrew Long, Fall 2007

The object in the painting – is it being an object vs. being a facsimile of the object? Does it have a history, a great hook, and richness, a fullness, or is it empty?

What’s the difference between this abstract piece of art and wallpaper?

Matthew Ritchie — “You mostly wait around for things to leak.” -MR, from this Boston Globe article.

Check out Guerra Paints in NY or Nova Paints in CA for a large bottle of pre-mixed binder & highly concentrated paints to mix.

To increase interest, drama, contrast, come in with a pure black, white or deeper shade of color to really pop things up in high relief. Try india ink.

Mediums – retarder will make paint work more like oils. Acrylic flow release will break apart the paint. Use GAC100 + water (50-50) to use atomizer.

Use a belt sander with 30-50 grit sandpaper to carve down into the history of your paint. Try a Dremel tool.

Jeff Koons has 80 assistants!

Mia Pearlman - Maelstrom
Mia Pearlman MAELSTROM 2008 Paper, India ink, aluminum, monofilament, wire 12′ Dia x 11′ H Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, NY

See and read more about the work of Mia Pearlman.