Catching up the Homare Ikeda

I posted last week about an inspirational moment eighteen years ago that has influenced the way I make my paintings. In another serendipitous moment, I got an email Friday for an artist presentation img_2691by none other than Homare Ikeda, the same artist I had just reminisced about. And the presentation was going to happen the following day, Saturday, at Meininger Art Materials.

The event was part of a series called Demo & Dialogue, organized by the Art Students League of Denver. The Art Students League was there for me in my youth when I had limited access to art and art instruction.

The idea behind demo and dialogue is open up the artist’s process to the audience by having the art work on a piece. Ikeda gave us an open invitation to interrimg_2664upt with questions as he worked on two large (and several small) works.

On the island I am from they had no sense of what art was. I’m lucky I didn’t have a preconceived notion of what art was.  Before I came to the US, I studied traditional painting so I’m aware of how I use my brush. I will hold with my left hand or use two brushes, that creates negative space.” -Ikeda

I was struck by how similar his thoughts about process and his approach to making resonated with my own. Ikeda approaches his art with openness and flexibilty, focusing on the process with little interest in the product. He is able to speak about his process and work with depth and humbleness.

“I’m not trying to make a painting therefore finishing is not my goal, the process is something that excites me. I have many paintings that come down from one show and I keep painting it. I know what color theory is but at the same time I just grab whatever I can grab. I’m looking for surprises. In my mind I ask, ‘Should I keep this or do I change it.’  I have options.”

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“Painting is honesty. If the artist is honest it’s a good painting. Getting honesty is very hard to deal with. Painting is making me more than I am making a painting. ”

The demo wrapped up after close to 2 hours and Ikeda stayed answering questions and greeting the crowd. I waited to approach him and thank him for sharing his craft and thoughts. Last week I had shared my  blog post with him and his response in person was as gracious as his email had been. It may not surprise many these days as Denver emerges onto the national scene, but we have long had a vibrant art scene including artists like Ikeda.

Dialogue with Modern Perception

I just finished my first large painting of 2017, “Dialogue with Modern Perception”. I have not finished a work like this in a while and I have a body of new large paintings getting close to completion. I have felt quite successful with the push and pull dynamic of working on both objective work and non-representational simultaneously. As I have worked on both my large paintings, I have also made my drawing series “Studies in Light Dynamics”.  Art making is not a liner process it seems, the impulse and drive to create requires time to percolate, because of this, it is beneficial to work in two alternating modalities. Gerhard Richter seems to me to be a great example of this push and pull of two different ways of working. I feel like many artists get pushed into one mode of working, which makes sense. As an artist becomes successful in a certain style, they now have an audience seeking that from them. Working in both of these modes, I feel has strengthened my process and work.

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Dialogue with Modern Perception | See more large oil paintings.

study-in-light-dynamics-2study-in-light-dynamics-1-4study-in-light-dynamics3-22x30Studies in Light Dynamics 1 through 3  |  See more drawings.

 

 

Quick Tip!!! Textures with an old tooth brush and some stenciling.

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I never get rid of old tooth brushes. To get the speckled texture on this piece I made a stencil with tracing paper and scrap paper. I traced out the area that I wanted to remove from the paper and cut it out with an xacto. I lined it up and blocked out the rest with scrap paper. Then I used a tooth brush that I dipped in ink and then pressed the bristles of the brush with my thumb to create a small splaying effect.

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Give it a try and do it on a practice piece first.

Don’t use the tooth brush on your teeth ever again.