Friday, December 2, 2011

Test for Doneness...

Ella   Watercolor   18.5 x 12
The other day I met an old friend for wine at a local vineyard.   She is a professional cookie baker.  We were discussing the finer points thereof when she expressed her preference for cookies that are baked JUST BEFORE browning.  I have always preferred those with a golden color....probably baked a minute or two longer.  That very evening at critique, there were two amazing works on view whose makers expressed that they were "in progress".  Whoa.  I so loved them both as they were.  Michael Nevin paints street scenes, especially Chicago street scenes.  In this case the pencil drawing was revealed....some of the buildings and windows were painted in.  The pencil marks playing with the paint was invigorating to me!  Undercooked perhaps to him.  Barbara Krans Jenkins paints with colored pencil on dried gourds.  She has a fine eye and usually renders small flowers and birds on them.  When finished, one would be hard pressed to know that they are gourds....they are ceramic in nature.  In this case, she was asked to paint abstractly on the gourd using certain colors.  It seemed that this was a bit out of her comfort zone.  She had erased some masses of color thinking that they were mistaken.  The bits of color that had settled into crevices was wonderful....it was there but wasn't.  There was a good deal of rendering on part of the gourd which meandered into the halfway places.  Superb.  I would have considered it a fait accompli.  Again, she considered it undercooked.  Which just shows to go ya that every maker-of-things has a personal aesthetic that takes them along the artistic path and lets them off at different exits.  I feel that there are artists and people of all kinds who carry things too far just because they feel they are doing a good job.  If a little if good, then a lot must be great.  Not always.  An undercooked work allows the viewer to participate in the work....he/she is therefore engaged in the work as well.  The rule of 3's.  That which has been left undone.  That in which there is space to grow.

There are two images here of Ella, a high school art student who modeled for our watercolor class.  I later took the painting to completion at home.  But in this work in particular, I so missed the rawness of the work at the end of the live session.  This lesson will suit me well.

And as for cookies.....they rule.  Undercooked.  Slightly golden.  Whatever.  Joyful participation.

1 comment:

Karyn said...

I think I am an undercooked person all round. Cookies Art and Music. I always prefer a live performance to the studio version that has been all cleaned up.