Monday, July 22, 2013

retro fave: Richard McKinley's Interview, part two

part two

This is a continuation of Richard's interview. You may see part one in Monday's post. I left off with Richard talking about "the hunt"- the search for the indefinable thing that an artist has to communicate.

R- A painter is always reaching. It keeps you vital. Once you have the sense, "oh god, I've got it," then you are done for. There is nothing left to say.

Think about Winslow Homer, he was a very driven man. Every single day he painted. His palette was in daily use. Well, on the day he died they found his palette hung on the nail above the door. He had never hung it there before. The inference was- he had finished.  He had said what he needed to say.

When you don't get it, you are always hungry, always hunting for it and that is a good thing.

I am a very analytical person, explaining is easier when I use stories. I love comparisons because it is all about relationships. My biggest demon when producing work for myself (vs. a demo  in class)is to get out of being analytical.  When I am teaching I am analytical. In teaching my torment humanizes me. People know that my interest is to be helpful.
Be careful that you learn too much that it will get in the way. My battle when painting is to erase that state.  When painting in the studio, at home, I have the TV on so that it will occupy my analytical brain.  Although when I am away from teaching for a long time I no longer need the TV. My analytical brain is off.  Then when I return to teaching there are these pregnant pauses as I organize that analytical brain.
I have to force relaxation.

L- I have been told by other painters that the real painting is studio painting and plein air painting simply isn't as elevated, as valid. Would you speak to that?

R-I am surprised to hear that. The emails I receive from the Pastel Pointers Blog indicate just the opposite. It seems that some painters are intimidated by plein air painting, they find it very difficult.
But think, what is the difference between the two, plein air and studio?
You use the same materials and the same eyes. the big difference is en plain air you are not in a controlled, sterile environment. There is reality. There is no reality in the studio. Method and process painters are studio painters.  En plein air you you have to create the concept with all the constant changes and make the reality...even though it is in front of you.
Keep in mind that some comments you may hear are more about ego and defending one's position.
Another thing about plein air painting you need to keep in mind-at first you are a hunter-gatherer. You are figuring out which place. Then you need to get to know it better. It is important to form a history.
Richard McKinley-Pacific Silver, Mendocino Gold -one of Richard's favorite places to paint...a place where he has history.

More interview on another post. I hope you are enjoying the interview. I sure loved doing it!
Meanwhile check out his fabulous website.


Caroline said...

What a beautiful painting,is this an oil painting? full of detail, imagination and mystery. All an artist desires in their work. Very interesting blog Loriann thanks for sharing Richard's words.

Donna T said...

Thanks for posting this interview, Loriann. It's really helpful to hear his thoughts on plein air painting.

Casey Klahn said...

RM's story about Homer is a good one. It is better, I think, than one told elsewhere about VVG painting the crows over the harvest field, and then ending his life. That story has issues, but I "get" the Homer one, and McKinley is teaching me (by your kind proxy) about the search. I never thought of that before, and thanks to you for these posts.

Janelle Goodwin said...

Interesting words about being the hunter-gatherer. I never thought of plein air in quite that way!

SamArtDog said...

Interesting that Richard uses the TV to occupy his analytical brain. Listening to music is different, I think. For me, the music and art become one. I suspect the music shapes my art, though I often am completely unaware of what I'm listening to.

loriann said...

Hi Caroline, I think it is a pastel. I will find out which...his work is exquisite, don't you think?

Hi Donn, I am glad that you are enjoying it. More to come!

HI Casey, I too like the Homer story. I think you would really like Richard.

Hi Janelle, Isn't it so true. Until we stop hunting and gathering and settle we really aren't painting concept. Don't you think?

Hi Sam!
I understand how music would shape your paintings. When i listen to Edith Piaf's sad stuff it all comes out. I think it can influence our stroke movements as well.