Sunday, March 9, 2008

Nudie Paintings! The Poetess Collects Art

I will admit to some odd taste in art. I don't much care whether it's famous or not. I choose my wall decorations the same way I choose favorite poems - based on whether I am touched or inspired by them. Deep in my soul, I admit that I desperately want to be able to do figure drawing and painting, but I haven't made the time to develop that skill. (Truly. I've even bought canvas and oils and acrylics and brushes and brush cleaner. I'm just terrified of putting paint to canvas and looking as untutored as I am. I feel I need professional training or something. Bob Ross vids, here I come!)

Instead, I peruse art and buy what I like, if I can afford it. I have a number of prints, and a few watercolors, and even some oils, all thanks to that affordable bastion of reproduction, eBay. I will discuss later whether or not the fact that I am buying 99 cent oil paintings detracts from the value of the original. (Personally, I don't think it does, since I can't afford the gazillion dollar originals but would still love to display an artist's work, but again, this is a discussion for a different post.)

I do usually end up choosing figure studies, and (I admit it) female nudes. My former roomies (both male) considered this a great boon - free porn! It actually comes down to this - for art purposes, I find the female form more graceful, with a more soothing line to it. On a personal level, sorry ladies - when it comes to holding onto something, I prefer men. But feel free to whistle at me anyway, I always take it as a compliment.

But it's true - landscapes don't do it for me - they leave me feeling cold. On occasion I fall in love with a simple seascape, but it has to be devoid of people, umbrellas, and the other detritus that comes with inhabitants. I like my oceans to be solitary places of refuge.

I don't prefer abstract art, though I appreciate it. For me, art is a space to go to reflect upon beauty and silence. A painting or print with people in it is no longer silent - I can hear the noise of conversation. (My one huge exception to this is Jack Vettriano's work. You can look him up at if you don't know who he is.) Flowers and landscapes and such are too impersonal for me, not my cup of tea. Van Gogh doesn't entice me in the least - his work looks like a talented kid with crayons gone wrong, and Starry Night gives me a headache. Picasso's pieces look to me like they were tortured, torn up and pieced back together. See how judgmental I am? I am one very picky poetess. For a very long time, I didn't put any art up at all. As I've grown older, this has become more and more unacceptable t the artist in myself.

I like simple things, with simple lines and grace.

Let's discuss my current eBay oil painting spree - I have other oils rolled up in the corner form other sprees, but let's focus on what I've got visuals for.

I have a number of Michael Austin prints, which I love. This one is already matted, framed, glassed and on the wall in my living room:

I had planned to make it an all-Austin room, because I love his figure painting, but that seems a bit sterile and predictable. His lines are gorgeous and simple, the pieces are stark, and (very important to me) they have no faces. I do not like faces of weird/strange people on my walls. It's a personal preference, of course, but if anyone is going to be lookin at me, I'll make it photos of my family. For me, art is personal, and much like a book in that I do not want to be told overmuch about tiny details, I want to make some of it up on my own.

And so, I have been shopping victoriously on eBay, which is a wonderful way to find art on the cheap. Yesterday, I picked up this beauty, which was a print I had been eyeing on

My living room carpet is sand colored, the walls are white, and the couches are a merlot color, so the splash of red in this piece fits perfectly.

This one - well, I don't have an explanation for why I'm bidding on this one, other than that I like it. I don't have a dang thing in my apartment that blue will match with, so I'll have to improvise to find a spot for it.

I have considered taking all of the random art I love (but that doesn't "fit" anywhere) and simply stuffing it all into my mini office area in my apartment - a deluge of inspiration and beauty, if you will. Besides, mom decorated the rest of my place with such an eye for detail and matching that it seems a shame to clutter it up with my odd taste in pretties.

This piece I did win already, though I have no clue where I'll put this one, either.

At least it's pretty neutral, so it can go in the bedroom no matter what, though I've considered draping a scarf across the top (and left to dangle down the sides) just for color once it gets stretched and ready to hang. This one *is* too risque for the living room, methinks. My old roommates used to get a kick out of how my bedroom was the "porn room," but I do want whomever visits my apartment to feel comfortable.

One of the best compliments I've ever received was when one of my old roommates walked into my bedroom after I had, in a frenzy, hung all of my pieces in a manner that suited me. He said, "Well, you can definitely tell that you are indulging your tastes, and that you're not putting this up to impress anyone else." I suppose, offhand, it seems rather like an insult, but I'm okay with that, too. A large part of my life is spent bowing to the will of others - we all do it, both at work and in other areas of my life. I don't mind it overmuch; my boss is quite okay with my tattoos and the occasional pink streak I sport in my hair. But I want my art to reflect my tastes, particularly if it is going to hang in my home, which is my sanctuary.


Christina said...

What gorgeous works those are! I was not familiar with him before your post. Now, I'll have to go and look him up!

Oh - if only I had the wall space, time, PATIENCE . . . I would have all sorts of nifty and delicious paintings and art-type-things all over my apartment. Maybe even some that were self-composed.

Of course, I'd also need to clean the entire place so that the walls could be seen from behind the (still) rather tall stacks of stuff I have going on. C'est la vie.

Colleen said...

Heh, I just make sure to hang my paintings high, so as to avoid them being blocked by the piles of books and yet-unpacked boxes...