Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A pause for reflection on the blog

Donald De Lue 1897-1988
I have been writing this blog for two years now. I have written 757 of them in a row. I think I have missed a day or two, but that is it. My intention was to write down everything that I think painter should know. I had no outline of how that should go and the process has been accretion rather than an orderly exposition. The materials and basic methods posts are concentrated in the first six months. There is no index to the blog and the search feature at the upper left is only partially useful. Some of the posts that I think are most useful, at least from a technical standpoint, are those. I think the posts on edges and design are probably the best writing I have done . I encourage you to go back and check those out. I don't know that I will write this blog forever, but I am not ready to quit yet either.

There is a lot of art history yet to be written and I have wanted to write more about aesthetics too. I think that is the direction this blog will take for a while. There has been an increasing amount of that lately anyways. It is in my opinion the largest area of study for those who want to make good art anyway. Examining the history of art provides a model for making good art ourselves. I have covered art history only up to about 1890 and concentrated mostly on the Americans. I want to continue that, but, I have yet to do the impressionists and I want to cover the "other" painters of the 20th century, the little known American realist painters that the museums have neglected. I would like to write on the decorative arts and architecture too, not a scholarly examination, but just an armchair tour, as I think a painter should know about that too. Do you know about Eastlake? How about Asher Benjamin? Eugene Galien Laloue? Anthony Thieme? Stafordshire pottery? The Oneida colony? See, there is still some ground to be covered.

I am a little concerned that I frontloaded the blog with so much "how-to", but I have, and now I am going to have to steer the blog more in the direction of a course in aesthetics. I hope you find it interesting. But I am willing to bore you, too. I think painters need to know this stuff. In the long run the importance of taste is huge. Taste is terribly underestimated and I often see well made art that fails because it lacks taste.Taste is the integrity of aesthetics.

Either way I intend to keep going and on this the second anniversary of this project I am pleased at the enormous audience it has built.About 30,000 people a month read this blog.Or maybe one guy out there reads it 30,000 times, who knows? Thanks for reading it. I am appreciative of the time you give me. I will take a deep breath and continue. I hope I can make it worthy of the time you give me to read it and I hope I can be of service to you all.
...........................Stape

There are still a few slots left in the second Snowcamp, the first is filled
I will lead a band of fearless painters through the snows of New Hampshire's White Mountains from a 19th century inn early next month Do you want to come? I can save you YEARS of screwing around! You can sign up here.

42 comments:

CANDY said...

Yes! aesthetics please. AESTHETICS!

Pat Jeffers, Artist said...

Thank you for all the time and effort you put into the blog. It is truly appreciated. I'm a fiber artist, not a painter, but I read your blog faithfully and I've learned so much from it. Congratulations on making it to the 2 year mark.

Charles Valsechi III said...

I am excited to see the new direction. Your blog has definitely helped in my education as an oil painter.

Carl Johnson and I talked about you the other day. All good things, but it's crazy how small the world of art is.

Mike Thompson said...

I think I have read about 756 of those postings. I started reading your blog shortly after you started writing it because I was looking to see if you were going to have a workshop on the Cape that summer. WAAAAY back then it only took a weekend to read the entire thing. Twice. But now. . . You have become the EverReady Blogger - Still Going!

If I don't get my daily dose of Stape's Painterly Wisdom I get the shakes. For all the pain and suffering and just plain hard work it took to put together those 757 entries, my deepest thanks.

Chris said...

Great to hear you plan to continue your wonderful work here - I'm enjoying the ride, take me where you will.

Deb said...

How do you know all this stuff???
Congrats on making it to two years. Wow.
I tried to paste a picture of a cigar as a virtual congratulations, but it won't work. This link will have to do.
http://modernlanotlosangeles.voices.wooster.edu/50-years-without-cuban-cigars/

Jim G. said...

"...but I am not ready to quit yet either."

Yay!

"Or maybe one guy out there reads it 30,000 times..."

That's me!

Your posts on materials, methods, edges, design, etc. have been written in such a clear and understandable way. Much more useful than the often obtuse explanations and descriptions of methods I've gotten from other sources. I've been able to take your lessons and run with them. I'm looking forward to the new directions you're planning to steer the blog. I expect that I will continue to learn from and enjoy your writing!

Sidharth Chaturvedi said...

Can't wait for the upcoming posts on aesthetics, Stape! Definitely something I'm trying to learn more about, right now I have next to no idea where to start. And of course, all the art history posts are always a treat :). Congratulations on doing this for 2 years! Don't stop soon.

Karla said...

Happy Anniversary!! I looked up what a second anniversary gift should be and it said cotton. hmmm.

I'm so glad you are continuing the blog. You are at the very top of my daily reading list.

Michael Chesley Johnson said...

Stape is my morning newspaper.

jtglover said...

Happy Anniversary! Hope the next two years are just as wonderful. There's nothing like hearing how it's done from someone who's doing it. I think that stretches to criticism and interpretation as well. Academic art history is can be very interesting, but (as with literary criticism) critics and artists generally seem to have different perspectives and goals, and I love getting artists' take.

Jo-Ann Sanborn said...

Oh, Stape, we'd be lost without you! No one gives a morning dose of laughter and knowledge as well. Thank God you are continuing!

Durinda Cheek, Director said...

I applaud your two year mark with the blog and am looking forward to the next two years. I totally agree with you that some "artists" take up painting without a background knowledge in the arts and never seek it. We have lost the aesthetics, the philosophy, the inquiry into what makes art, well art. Thank you for all you are doing to broaden our perspective.

Trish King Slaven said...

I too, find that your blog is my morning newspaper. Looking forward to the aesthetics!

Sandra Galda said...

Happy Anniversary! Keep on keeping on! Many thanks :)

Philip Koch said...

Stape your blog is both passionate and wacky. Nothing else goes as well with my morning coffee. You are a constant reminder that the art world, especially the art world in the US, is always a more multi-sided critter than one would ever know from reading Art News. You better watch out though- your readers may erect a heroically scaled bronze sculpture of you in the Boston Common to commemorate your third year of posts.

Richard J. Luschek II said...

This blog is not only recommended reading by me, but I suggest it to all my students and even to perfect strangers on the street.
Keep it up. I look forward to all of this being assembled into a big book some day.

Deborah Paris said...

Happy Blog Anniversary Stape and thanks for the daily dose of wisdom, information and laughter. Looking forward to year 3.

Pam Holnback said...

I am appreciative of the time you give us. Thank you.

billspaintingmn said...

Stape! I'm trying to paint an elephant in my pajamas!..

Happy Anniversary!:)

Steve Baker said...

I have been reading your blog for about a year now. I look forward to it every morning. Sometimes I learn, sometimes I want to say amen, sometimes I'm not so sure, always, I look forward to hearing what you have to say. Thanks for the effort I know it takes to keep pushing forward. Tired, distracted, nothing seems to hold you down and I appreciate it. Keep pushing me to think.

Scale said...

Sounds great! A big THANK YOU for all the time you spend to teach these things, I have learned tons of stuff from your blog which I'd never have the chance to study elsewhere. Much of the things I've improved in my art in the last year I owe to this blog. :-)

Mark said...

Stape, I came across your blog two months ago from reading off of James Gurney's blog. I was blown away from what you had written that I decided to go back and read them all from the start.

As of last week, I've read them all. These are all great posts, full of useful information. Though I never did figure out what butter was doing in those shoes!
Thank you and keep it coming.

pfranklin said...

I echo what all the others are saying. I’m a daily reader and feel something is missing if I don’t get my daily “Stape”. Thanks for the daily art knowledge and laughter delivered to my home each day. You are the best!

Connie said...

I look forward to each and every post. Thank you for your generous sharing of knowledge and your time.

Karen Thumm said...

The depth of your knowledge is just awesome. I've learned an immense amount from your blog and look forward to it every day, even if I don't actually read it daily. I'm a very dedicated reader but it would be okay with me if you cut back to a few times a week. It must be difficult to write a blog post every day. And it's hard for me to keep up with all the must reads every day as it is.

Congratulations on your two year blog anniversary. It takes a lot of dedication to keep it up for that long.

Carole Buschmann said...

I have just stumbled on to your blog and will need to look at your old one on edges, etc. But-- Asethetics and art history are my love so you've got me!

Jeremy Elder said...

Thanks for writing it Stape! You and Gurney are the most generous guys I know. Your insight has probably saved me hundreds of hours of doing things the wrong way. The "how-to" may have wrangled me in, but now I realize how much design and aesthetics matter and I look forward to reading about that as well.

Trish Stevenson said...

Congrats & Thank You, Stape, for your time and wisdom. I have learned more from your blog than any other studying I have done and I recommend your blog to every single artist I encounter. I always think of your advice on being a tilelayer when I paint, it made a huge difference in my paintings.

Barbara Carr said...

Thank you.

Lyn A said...

Stape, Like so many others, I look forward every day to your blog. I'm always amazed at the depth of insight and the amount of information that you are able to pass along in such a unique voice. You make us all think! For that, many thanks!!
May your brain never run out of interesting things to share!

Antonin said...

2 years already ! Congratulation ! I cannot thank you enough for all the knowledge you gave me.
Now I cannot imagine my life without reading your wise words everyday !
Thank you for keep on going !

JonInFrance said...

Hear, hear! Love the wacky humour and the style - it must feel good to have reached out to so many people!

joey said...

Mr. Kearns - I found this blog a couple of months ago and am very grateful for all the time and energy that you've put into it. I think it is a very useful resource for both beginning and experienced painters.

Thank you for mentioning that the blog is "frontloaded" with more technique oriented info in the earliest posts. I did not know that, and I was very happy to find such a substantial amount of information in those posts. That will keep me busy for a while! Once again I sincerely thank you for your efforts, and wish you nothing but the best.

Terry said...

Oh Stape I was so worried at the start of your post and so happy that you will keep on keeping on! I have no words to express how useful you have been to me. Your blog constantly makes us think, laugh and set our goals higher. Thankyou, thankyou, Terry

CM said...

THANK YOU STAPE for all you do. The world is a better place with you in it. We all appreciate your contribution and hard work so much.
Corinne

willek said...

At Deborah, Paris's suggestion, I bought A History of American Tonalism 1880- 1920 by Cleveland. It is a huge and heavy book and I am about a third into it, but it has to be the most informative book on the history of American painting I have ever heard of. Square touch? the Duveneck Boys were learning Square Brush from Bastien Lepage in Brittany. I thought it was a North Shore thing. The section on the influence of Whistler is outstanding. Your blog is a catalyst for all kinds of information. Thanks, Stape. Keep Going.

MCG said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MCG said...

"I don't know that I will write this blog forever" ooph Guilmet has mild cardiac arrest. Thankfully there was more to the sentence.

I would happily pay good money for this blog, and for an occasional online critique. There I go monetizing things again, but,I'm just saying....

Good gosh I sure hope all of this is backed-up, two or three times?

Mary Byrom said...

Congratulations Stapleton ! Awesome job! Thanks for all your consistent hard work.

Stapleton Kearns said...

All;
There is no way I can answer 40 writers. Thank you all for your supportive comments. I am touched and appreciative. Its in good to kn ow you are all out there and I will think of you all as I continue to write and hopefully make this blog useful to you.
..............Stape

Amy said...

I've been sick but wanted to chime in...a cup of freshly brewed coffee.....$.79, a couple of lovely pieces of homemade toast and jam......$1.50, reading Stape's daily blog.....priceless. Thanks for your dedication, passion, and willingness to share it all with us.