I present this painting in its current state again because it was criticized last night as having lost some of its vital wild character when the trees were softened and much of the orange underpainting was covered over with (admittedly luscious) paint strokes.
At first, I felt saddened and confused. I made this exciting painting into an ordinary one? Young also said NO do not paint over that red! But I got started and could not stop painting till it looked like this.
The question that arises in me today is, for whom am I painting? This is a question that all artists, in all media, genres and styles, face. The axiom is "paint for yourself; you cannot please everyone, and someone will respond to your work". Another side of that is, REAL artists paint as individualistically and idiosyncratically as they can. Now the thing is, everything has been done, from wild colors to quiet sombre fields of soft color; from ultra-realistic to totally abstract. One of the comments I have heard several times in the critique class is, "we have seen this before". In other words, if it has been done, it cannot ever be done again. This is the impossible conundrum today's artist faces.
Yes, this painting is now tame in comparison to what it was, but I like it. Maybe it needs more orange touches to bring the colors back to life, but I like the soft trees; I like the soft sky; I like the brushwork in the mountain mass. So, if "paint for yourself" is the motto, I am doing that.
The options (the ones I can think of) of the audience to paint for are:
Of these options, I will choose JOY. This paining has been a joy to work on, and even if I put in more orange, I will take great pleasure in doing so. That is enough reason to do it.