Friday, July 8, 2011

John McNelley


Painting to me is firstly painting yourself. Each painting no matter if its a landscape, portrait or marine, its a self portrait. I paint to re-connect with something sane. The world outside so to speak is lacking mostly of sense, everything is way too fast and way too empty. Painting fills the void of a life that is pretty much work and nothing else.

I want to paint stillness. I want to paint so that the viewer has some appreciation of nature and some indication of a life beyond the mechanical grind. I don't like abstract or modern art if it does not convey stillness or nature's power in some manner. I have never done a successful plein air painting because it lacks that something else that I need to go above the daily grind. If I can't feel it then nor could the audience.

Mostly then I paint in the studio after I have gone for a walk in nature or visited a place where peace exists. The notion is to carry this into the artwork so that the painting can add something to the home in which it lives.

When I look at a painting, the first question I oft ask is “ would it look good on my wall ?” I thus can not paint a Piccaso-esque work because well … how would I feel first thing in the morning if I woke up to that? My favorite artists are probably many and varied. I love some of Cezanne's works, some of Monet's and Renoir's. But I also find Fauvist works of painters such as Brian Simons exciting stuff indeed [ ]. So my tastes are really a little varied. My only teacher of art said there is no really wrong way to paint – I might add, it depends upon what energy within yourself you want to connect with and to express thru the painting to the audience.

Photo realism in art doesn't excite me. Bravo to the people who can do it but my camera a $50 special, can do that sort of thing far better than I. What tho I like to do is to take several photos and put them together to make a painting. Often only 1 element in a photo is just what you need in a work. Rarely have I copied a photo exactly. My favorite subject is landscape and still life.

I would like to work as a full time artist but a the moment its working to make a living at anything I can get and painting when I can. I like the odd plein air adventure and I am inspired by David Hockney's example in painting his native Yorkshire.

Art to me is a healing thing. Quite needed in a crazy world. It is an exploratory adventure in developing your senses. If you can feel what you are painting, the painting is half way to being a successful work. If you can sense what you are painting then alas, it might just be ok but nothing one would want to hang anywhere. I really like any style so long as it conveys stillness, not deadness, life not sterility.

If I don't paint, I see the day wasted. Even if its making a few drawings or mixing up a few paints or preparing a canvas for a painting. I like putting symbols in my paintings, I think they say a lot. I like abstract figures but struggle getting something graphically pleasing. At the current time, my interest lies in suggesting curved space rather than three dimensional space. I feel this is a new direction that painting could take and it is adaptable to both abstract and traditional methods of painting. But its a new thing for me and have only had 1 attempt work out.