Further art discussions and notifications for the artwork of Sam Thorp

Sunday, February 26, 2006


more notes

Art is food. You can’t eat it, but it feeds you. Art has to be cheap and available to everybody. It needs to be everywhere because it is inside the world. Art soothes pain. Art wakes the sleepers. Art fights against war and stupidity. Art sings hallelujah.

Sacred cows makes the best hamburgers.

To draw a tiger one must become a tiger. You must feel the pose in your own body. You must put your own life into the creation. Re-creating the drawing by association by empathy. The object must become a real thing. A drawing must contain impressions of the artists convictions, his involvement, An object is not the outside shape, but the presence from inside.

Subject matter
• What kind of subjects do I paint?
• Do I tend to avoid certain subjects?
• How can I broaden my range of subjects?
• Are the 3 distances in my picture fore, middle, distant)?
• Are similarities or differences of focus justified?
• Is there diversity of spatial organization in my pic?
• Are most of my paintings, pretty much the same size and shape?
• Am I falling into compositional habits?
• Is there any good deal of variety in the formats of my painting?
• What are my compositional tendencies and preferences?
• What tendencies can I see in my doodles?
• Where is my center of interest?
• Do I use repetition in my compositions?
• How am I using visual similarities in my work?
• Do I have enough?
• Do I have too much?
• Does contrast contribute to the meaning of my work?
• What is my color scheme like?
• Do I include more colors than I really need?
• What are the relative transparencies of my color?
• How can I alter hues with the least possible intensity loss?
• Should I use more complex color mixtures?
• Does my work remember one another in overall value or value pattern?
• Do my paintings reveal good color organization or are they color chaotic?
• Have I been adventurous and imaginative as I might be about selecting colors?
• Does my work really hang together coloristically?
• Do I tend to prefer direct or indirect lighting in my painting?
• Why do I paint subjects in the light I seem to prefer?
• Do I make good use of the effects of direct or side light?
• How often do I use top light as an option?
• Do I use back lighting in my pictures?
• Have I explored the possibilities of front lighting in my paintings?
• Do I make full use of colored light as a unifying factor?
• Have used the value of contrasts in scenes illuminates by colored light?
• Are my darks dull & lifeless or glowing and vibrant?
• Do silhouettes in my paintings accurately characterize the objects they depict?
• Am I making wise use of shadow patterns?
• Do I pay enough attention to the role of darks in preserving light shapes?
• How literally do I transcribe objects and the effects of light in my paintings?
• If I do not copy exactly, what changes do I make and why?
• Are my alterations deliberate of unconsciously?
Painting Technique
• Are there areas built entirely of light and dark?
• Do my paintings have a lot of overlapped or blurred images? Why?
• Is there surface coherence?
• Which painting method do I prefer?
• Do I rely on linear strokes for clarification?
• Do I vary my brush strokes?
• Do I overlap too many brush strokes?
• Do my edges work for or against my pictorial interests?
• Ami using my edges to help define space & focus of the composition of my paintings?
• Am I using edges to unify my paintings?
• Do my paint textures tend to be bland?
• Is there too much textural contrast?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


Notes from Salvador Dali & the secrets of master craftsmanship:

If you understand the painting before hand, you might as well not paint it.

You must have the technical tradition if you want to paint what you WANT to otherwise you get whatever comes out of you.

Don’t be afraid of perfection, you will never attain it.

Don’t vomit on the picture because it is the picture which can vomit on your after you are dead.

Painting is visual truth and the most evolved philosophical activities- to look is to think.

Don’t be impatient

Sleep as deeply and soundly as you are possible to do. Create physical and psychic calm
Only the last dream ,, the one closest to waking can be controlled.
Use Aromatherapy & music

When you paint, always think of something else.

You are not obliged to paint the whole universe. Only choose a small part.

The material time for the painters marked by the clock of pain.

Upon finishing look at the painting in a mirror.

Guard your studio from intrusion.

You must learn to draw before you ever touch the brushes. Draw directly from nature. Remember your work depends on knowing how to draw well.

Cobalt blue makes the best sky.

More notes on drawing:
Gesture: capture the body language. Consistent observation. Look at the whole figure. The total shape of the person. Leave it loose and work back and forth to maintain proper proportion

Schemata: a drawing (noun) exists before the drawing(verb) has begun

Monday, February 13, 2006


Notes on Portraiture

Portraiture is an old tradition, yet the interest in it never fades.
Yet it is still challenging to create a likeness, bring forth a personality and create an original style with good composition.
Each face has been presented like a mask the expressiveness of the head is not just the shape of the features but its total gesture.
Even though portraiture as a whole is rivaled and perhaps beaten by the many advantages of photography, I have tried to work with modern social and technological concepts and sensibilities to go beyond visual documentation and sameness of features.
These portraits are documentary and yet so much more.
These people all have at least one thing in common and they were together in a community of sorts for a short period of time. A community and friendship I am/ was part of. This social circle presented these faces these masks for each other. And then they were chosen, selected and drawn because of what I saw in them. A moment that went unnoticed to the rest of the world held on to in color and line. Each a living statement not to you the audience but to the other members of the circle. So each has its own personality delicacy of feeling and psychological projection.

Friday, February 10, 2006


More note taking

Don’t go too far into developing your first sketch, stop as soon as the image shows up.
Then study your sketch. Find the main geometric surface motif. This is revealed after you’ve done your first sketch. If no pattern emerges use your intuition to decide the motif. That motif should be strengthened in the next sketch.
Check the outer dimension of your sketch to discover the weak spots. Adjust the composition again. Repeat sketch from memory. Repeat until perfect.

Keep relaxed. As soon as the subject emerges in your sketch, switch your attention to the whole composition.

With shortcuts you miss the whole point. The necessary experience is to test and adjust the spatial relationships.

Distortion plays a key role in composition. Picasso was a master of dynamic distortion.

Light & Dark
Without disturbing the already established composition, establish light & dark values within the shape areas. Harmonize light & dark as a whole. Superimposing them on the balance of shape relationship. It will arouse greater visual awareness by stimulating the retina. light & dark when properly balanced, intensify the mood of the picture.
Squinting lets you concentrate on the variety of light & dark and helps you see the whole.

Lights are created by black borders.

Lights can be focused for dramatic appeal. The darks keep tonal relationship in balance.

light & dark are the most artistic compositional elements. Large masses of dark evoke feelings.

Be ready to accept a change in mood as you develop your imagination and tremendous memory bank. As ling as you are creating, let your subconscious have its way.

Don’t get involved with improving details of subject matter. Emotion must be present in your work at all times.

Negative space
The biggest problem is not utilizing negative space. Give it equal emphasis. You can’t use the inside of a cup with out the outside.

Notes from Plato’s Republic:
Children’s upbringing often begins with fairy tales and stories…. Lies.
Art is only imitative and imitation is never as good as the original.
The REAL artist would be interested in realities not imitations.
You can create likeness or be imaginative.
To judge imitative art:
1. what the imitation is …. It could be vice or evil
2. is it a true imitation
3. has it been well executed.

To understand serious, you must know comedy.
You must understand opposites even if you cannot carry out both.

When you have acquired knowledge of a whole art, the inquiry to good and bad is one & the same.

God takes away the mind of poets and artists and uses them for own ministries. God himself is the speaker. Artists are only interpreters of God.

Notes from Aristotle:
Art must be a matter of making not acting.
Art loves chance and chance loves art.
Art does not deliberate the purpose of art, it’s the same as nature. Its just like that.
Art is thinking then making.
Something’s will not exist apart from someone who has the art of making them.
When art is good… when you cannot add or subtract anything from it…. It has virtue.
There are 2 causes for your actions, thought and character.

“Everything we teach you here is worthless, UNLESS you decide to use it.”

Is one element symmetry? Where’s the symmetry in abstract thought?
All loveliness comes to this world in ideal form.
Ugly is something that has not been mastered by a pattern that is reason.
Perhaps the soul affirms beauty when it recognizes the ideal form.
Beauty of color is the outcome of unification; that is why fire is the most splendid of all elements.
Beauty must induce wonderment and delicious trouble, longing, love, and trembling of delight.

Those who see with the soul’s insight will rejoice and awe and will fall upon a trouble deeper than all the rest could even stir, are moving in the realm of truth.

What do you feel in the presence of grace? When you see that you yourself are beautiful… within that what do you feel?
What Dionysiac exultation do you feel straining upwards of your soul this longing to breakaway from the body and live sunken within the veritable self. These are no other than the emotion of the soul under the spell of love.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

"Don't let alcohol drink your brain... and don't let the drugs tell you how to feel... And don't puke allover.... Go kill some bunnies instead.."

I kinda liked that....


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