I want to share a thought-provoking comment that Jane Sparacio graciously wrote on my blog last week about my beach-look paintings:
Cassandra I mean this in the most positive way – branch out and paint. I know you have the talent and you are repeating painting after painting. The only thing that changes are the colors. Some times I pour a painting like you do and then I’ll go ahead and create several areas within the painting while also adding texture. Branch out as everyone is pouring paint now days. My own mother did this back in the day and she has been gone since the early 1970’s. Can’t wait to see what you create!
Thanks, Jane! This gave me a lot to think about. Jane is right — I do repeat myself. I work in a series, and I’ll explore a concept as long as it continues to delight and amaze me.
In her comment, Jane is referring to my paintings created using the technique of pushing the canvas into paint. I find that there’s always more to learn and explore with this technique, but I also paint in other styles, some of which you can see here and here.
Is repetition in art necessarily a bad thing? Are Damien Hirst’s spot paintings repetitive? How about Jackson Pollock’s drip paintings? Is the exploration of color alone a worthy pursuit? What about the color study paintings of Josef Albers and Mark Rothko?
As for the concern that everything has already been done — yes, everything has been done, but not by me. By listening to our inner voice, we bring authenticity to our art, and that makes what we do unique from anyone else’s work.
To honor Jane’s request that I branch out and paint, I spent some time working in the studio this week. The two new paintings below feature a quiet, muted color palette and references to nature with a soothing quality.
“Connections,” 36″ x 60″, repurposed acrylic latex paint on canvas
“Above,” 40″ x 30″, repurposed acrylic latex paint on canvas
Click on the images to see them in more detail. Enjoy, and have a great week!
What are your feelings about repetition in art? Is it necessary, desirable, a waste of time? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please share them with us in the comments section below.
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. – Aristotle
Don’t be afraid to scrape the paint off and do it again. This is the way you learn, trial and error, over and over, repetition. It pays you great dividends, great, great dividends. – Bob Ross
Repetition makes reputation. – Elizabeth Arden
With love and appreciation,