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Am I a photorealist?

I recently had my Junior Review at school, where I presented a small body of work to three faculty members whom I hadn’t met before, and we discussed my work for half an hour. The Junior Review is designed to help me prepare for my Senior Show next year, where I will have a small gallery space in which to show a body of work for a week at school.

I was a little nervous for my Junior Review, but it ended up going really well, and I got some good feedback. They could tell where I had painted from still life and where I had painted with photo references. (Busted!) They felt that my white t-shirt painting (painted from an actual t-shirt, not a photo) was the strongest piece there, and they felt like if I continued to paint from direct observation rather than photos, my paintings would offer more of an experience to people who encountered them. We also talked about painterly style. I told them that I admired Bay Area Figurative Painters like Richard Diebenkorn, David Park and Elmer Bischoff, who painted in an abstract expressionist manner. One faculty member said she was seeing more of a realism-based style with my work.

There’s something really humbling about painting. I have ideas about how something I make is going to turn out and in what style I’ll express it, but instead something else seems to happen once I get going. After my junior review, I realize that the power in my painting comes from observing and also in dropping my attachment to how the finished piece turns out.

5 Responses to “Am I a photorealist?”

  1. Lynne Van Engel Says:

    good observations by the review, and great that you can take the criticism and make it work for you.
    Love, Mom

  2. Rachel van Engel Says:

    Very nice!
    I had no idea we had such a great artisrt in the family!
    pease keep showing me!

    Love, Rachel

  3. Gail Schneider Says:

    My two favorites of the work posted above are the portrait of Madeleine(I think) and the view of the buildings, which, to me, is reminiscent of Wayne Thibeaud. CCAO has added some very valuable practices in conducting the junior review, which they did not do when I went there. It’s great to get feedback at the midpoint, as opposed to towards the end of your senior year, as was the case with me. I’m envious, as always. Enjoy.

  4. Phyllis Says:

    Great work! Interesting that they commented on “observation vs. photos”. That is always a very big ongoing issue in painting; just as we talked about it at Aunt Pearl’s! Keep up the great work! Love Phyllis

  5. e v e Says:

    Thanks, everyone! The portrait of the person wearing the apron is indeed Madeleine. Gail, it’s interesting that you signaled out that one plus the landscape once, since I did both of those for the same class. It’s a color workshop, and the portrait was something I did in response to an assignment that asked us to ascribe a new meaning to a color. I chose to use orange to show the DIY movement. The landscape was in response to a song called The District Sleeps Alone tonight by The Postal Service. We created color palettes based on the song we each chose and then structured the composition to match the rhythm of the song.

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