"The Rules of Painting"—Broken by R.Mindrup
“You read and hear from painters and painting books about the ‘rules’ for painting—it can really drive you nuts, I mean, you can’t follow all of them all of the time,” said artist Rachel Mindrup. “In this piece, I broke them all.”
A definite turn from Mindrup’s usual beautifully classically oil painted portraits, the piece “The Rules of Painting” also uses text, a credible “no-no” for academically trained painters.
Studying artists, she ran across Michael Fullerton’s work and a show of his he titled Get Over Yourself of “stilted portraits of Rothko and Carl Jung looking pretentious.” She was taken by his humor and groundedness with regards to art being ingrained with traditional rules of painting in school and amongst peers so she created this piece.
She went through her notebooks, recorded various conventions and advisements for painting “correctly” whether from her own education/work/peers or even rules that she teaches her own students. She wrote them in permanent marker around a large canvas and began painting over them, breaking each rule as she went; reminding herself “Really there are no rules anyways, just tools. Simple tools to help an artist get better, but not hard fast rules.”
Examples: “It should go without saying that we do NOT cut the figure at the joints” (here she stopped painting the arm at the elbow)
“Control your brushwork. It shouldn’t look like you just had a seizure with oil paint.” (here the paint brush strokes are evident; harsh orange next to green)
“Never paint white around the object. It creates an annoying effect.” (here has white painted around the shoulder and hand of the figure)
“Why are you glazing? Just paint it right the first time.” (his hair was apparently glazed)
The result, is this large (4-feet wide) unframed (of course! As rule-abiding painters: if you care about your oil painting it should be framed!) mixed media on a canvas that also includes an additional glued on (another no-no!) bottom piece on canvas that forms a cross—signifying, according to Mindrup, the strict sacredness of painter’s rules.
The bright red (pure unmixed hue according to Mindrup, another rule broken) is engulfing and the figure of the male dancer is exquisitely painted; ironically making a truly interesting, successful work of art. The figure is looking down, turned away, almost as though he himself is ignoring the rules, and letting go.
"The Rules of Painting," sharpie marker, oil paint, and tape on “somewhat prepared and somewhat not prepared linen” is currently on view in the group show “Femme Qui Bercent” at Noyes Art Gallery in Lincoln thru March 25.
For more information about Rachel Mindrup and her work visit rmindrup.blogspot.com.