A Random Observation on the Details.

by ncwinters on December 8, 2011

So this was cranked out in a feverish matter of minutes, in the middle of a painting jag. I couldn’t get the idea of details out of my head. Sorry if it’s a bit rambly, poorly written, chaotic and in general, poorly grammared. This may be one of the most honest and direct things I’ve written on this blog, apologies in advance as it may offend. Enjoy.


“No one is gonna notice all those tiny details. Why do you bother and slave over them?”

The presupposition is that I’m making art specifically for you, John Q. Viewer. While I display my work for the public to see and honestly feel good when the work receives a positive reaction, there’s a fine but very distinct line between pleasing an audience and letting their opinion dictate my creative direction.

Take it in another direction:

When friends and acquaintances see me slaving over a chunk of detail in a painting and can’t figure out why I’m so compelled to get it just right, they plead with me to move on because others, like them won’t ever notice. I wonder: says who? Who’s to say that THEIR level of observation is the most optimum, when in fact it may be sub-par? Am I then beholden to this viewer’s lack of depth to dictate the direction of my work? What if a friend of theirs walks up and points out an interesting aspect of the painting that the original friend never noticed? What happens if they take some time a few moments later, some time later in the day, or years later in life and notice those details I’ve slaved over? What if this new revelation leads to an increased appreciation for the work? What if this new revelation leads to an increased appreciation for the world they live in? This new experience heightens the pleasure they could obtain from just a quick viewing a piece of artwork and just maybe, (more importantly) may influence how they observe the myriad details of the world they live in.

It’s kind of like saying why bother looking at all the stuff in the world, when so much of it may be uninteresting? Why bother searching for that life experience that may be a new reward visually, emotionally, spiritually or soul satisfying in some other way? Why bother making art at all?

Why would I thus limit my artmaking to one viewer’s shallow viewpoint? Not to say that their view of the world is not valid and satisfying FOR THEM, but then again, why choose to make their viewpoint my own? I make art for myself and show it to others so they can share my experience and maybe experience a pleasurable feeling seeing what I have created. The moment I start limiting what I choose to build and create because they’ve “looked as much as they want to” is the moment I stop making art for myself.

I choose to make art for myself, and I think the enjoyment people get from it is to see a little window into my creative mind and take from it what they wish. If I were to start compromising what I choose to create to manage their viewing expectations, I begin to annihilate the idea of what it means to have my own artistic voice.


Five Amazing Years…

by ncwinters on May 27, 2011

…with the woman I love.

It’s our fifth anniversary, and I realize I don’t talk often enough about the amazing woman in my life.

I’m not an easy guy to love or live with. I get cranky, I focus on the wrong things more often than not, I get frustrated, I don’t take the best care of myself, I have a short temper and I too often take for granted the amazing love, patience and care my wife willingly gives constantly without question, guilt, demand or complaint. I’m usually bunkered in my art cave or at playgrounds with our son, so I don’t often get out and mingle publicly as much as I would like. The rare occasions that I do, I catch glimpses of couples who don’t have the same relationship we do. Too often I see these couple angry with each other, frustrated, and basically on the verge of severe problems if not a breakup or divorce.

Our life isn’t perfect, and we have our own issues (mostly mine) but I think we’re in amazing shape and I owe 80% of it to her. Her patience is amazing. Putting up with me alone would drive most women over the edge, let alone the art career with the struggles, ego and angst that it entails. Too many times I catch myself taking for granted how much she gives, and never asks for anything in return. She never makes the insane demands of time to work that I do, or requires that my life be super adapted around her dream. She never does these things because she’s amazing and lately I’ve realized that she’s important enough in my life to change who I am to make our relationship better.

I make art. I paint, I draw, I make comics, I design (less so these days) I illustrate for magazines, I make and sell prints, I have gallery shows and I got to art events. I do these things because they’ve become a part of who I am. All of these things take time and energy, and there’s a limited amount of both, no matter how much I want to believe otherwise. Our life together and marriage is a choice I’ve chosen to make. I like our life. I love our love.

Our life together and our son is more important than making art.

I realized this the other day and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I’ve always known it in the back of my mind of course, but recent events made me take a cold hard look at this fact and decide what’s truly important. I don’t want to be grinding away on this career, this dream and leave my wonderful son and amazing wife behind. I truly realized I could give up what I was doing and still be happy. Of course, I’ll never stop creating, but this thing, this stress, this dream, this grind. It isn’t more important than my happiness with my wife and child.

I’m rambling, so I’ll wrap it up. I love you, Ginger. I love our life together and I don’t ever want to lose you. Happy Anniversary.


Unwritten Number Twenty-Six…

by ncwinters on April 9, 2011

…even though I end up writing a lot about it!

This “drawing” ended up being a lot of fun. That was the original goal, and it’s great when it actually happens.

Number 26 of 100 Drawings was another culled from the stack of abandonment, reworked, experimented with and in general, let loose upon. There’s something here that I’m enjoying and that’s really working in my art head. It may not come across, I’ll have to go back and scour the drawings I’ve felt this way about (using the blog in a useful way!) and analyze the common theme, but I think it’s the beginning of a move away from pure renderness.

So much of the work I’ve done has come to establish me as a drawer that renders the ever loving shit out of a painting. I like it, it’s fun, but it gets to a point when it becomes tedious. I like to say the first half of a drawing or painting is fun, the second half is work. Every brushstroke and mark builds up and leads to a series of fewer choices down the road. You make artistic decisions and then are forced to deal with them later. For me, the trick is to make that final work still remain fun. Too many paintings end with me frustrated and defeated.

Perhaps it’s the perfectionist in me. I’ve heard critics say “that’s good enough” and “no one is gonna notice that much detail” and it annoys me. *I* know how much detail is required, because that’s what makes it *my* work and not someone elses. However, there is a kernel of truth where you have to maintain a balance and finish the work in a timely manner. Someday when there’s more time, when the kid is older, when responsibilities and priorities afford more time to just take forever on every painting, I can slave meticulously for years on something.

While that point is not here yet, my original point (is there one even?) is that I’m enjoying finding ways to break up that monotony and experiment with looser, more gestural and abstract painting methods blended in with some of the renderness. Man, have I been rambling away.

All of this could probably be said easier by just saying “I’m having fun with splatterely brushiness.” Enjoy.

Ink, watercolor, marker, and acrylic on paper. 7.75″ x 10.75″ (2011)
Number 26 of 100 Drawings.
Purchase availability here.