This painting has no name

Stephen Smith

This painting doesn’t have a name because I’m not sure who the girl is dressed up as. I am sure that it will be called Green Lantern and ______. The ______ will be whoever that girl is suppose to be. As soon as I solve this mystery the work will be much closer to resolution. I’m sure she’s scarlet something or other. Maybe not. Beyond being yet untitled this painting is also unfinished. This image, at 400 pixels wide, will be pretty much indistinguishable from the finished work. Some of the edges will be a little crisper in the foreground, there will be a bit more detail here and there and the guy’s skin tone needs to be a little more neutral. But for the most part this is it.

I’ve developed a number of rules for what I want out of these paintings. First and foremost I want it to be well painted. It’s been easy up until recently to settle for a painting that’s half-ass. But today more and more artists are learning how to paint with of a degree of skill that, if not completely unknown, has been widely disparaged during the 20th century. Not that art hasn’t made tremendous intellectual advances during this period it’s just that technique hasn’t been a primary concern. Artists have spent the better half of the last hundred years striving to find new understanding about the human condition. Needless to say they’ve all failed miserably and anyone who believes otherwise is just an unsophisticated fanboy.

Another arbitrary rule I’ve made for myself is to paint real things. The costumed characters are a compromise. I find them interesting and they allow me to flirt with fantasy art while still working within the very conservative genre of genre painting. Many of the best painters today are afraid to paint anything that wouldn’t have been accepted by their Victorian heroes. I guess everyone has their own temperament but I believe it’s possible to acknowledge some of the ideas of the 20th century without leaving your painting half finished or gluing some goofy collage element to it.

Stephen Smith

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