Friday, August 24, 2012

LEARNING THE VOCABULARY

HILL COUNTRY PALETTE   11X14    oil panel
Everyone sees and feels differently. The two are inextricably rooted in what we do as painters. I think there's a personal vocabulary we have to discover through persistent work if we want to communicate visually about our subject. I think I'm just learning the baby talk for the landscape I love.

With all that goes into just learning how to put paint down, and considering the arrangement of what's before you, and solving the tactical problems of painting outdoors, there's a point at which we're just becoming prepared to translate what we see and want to say about our subject.

My four year old grandson does a marvelous job of expressing himself.  With his limited experience and vocabulary, he's still able to let you know how he feels in terms that are direct, non-pretentious and to the point. Sometimes I'm amazed at the skill he's gained, and the words he uses and understands the meanings of.  He gets it not from trying to impress anyone with what he can say, but through his desire to communicate about what he's happy about, what excites him, and how he feels.  He's keen to learn and incorporate the new words and phrases that he realizes fit his expressive needs, and he's not worrying about what he hasn't mastered, yet.  Often, his toddler talk is more listenable, and full of real joy, than the drivel we adults adopt.  Saying something beautifully in a painting arises from a similar motivation, and it requires learning a personally meaningful vocabulary. 


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