more than just a pretty picture…

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18/11/2010 by Sarah Ritchie

Before the invention of the camera, the only way to capture a scene was to paint it. “Realism” (and similar movements) was the acceptable and expected style and “Abstract Expressionism” was a mere twinkle in the repressed-painter’s eye. Can you imagine the creative release that artists experienced when cameras came on the scene?!

What a change 150 years made in the leap from Realism to Cubism to Street Art! These days one can even submit a blank piece of paper and call it (albeit tongue-in-cheek) “art” (“1,000 Hours of Staring” by Tom Friedman, 1992 – 1997).

In spite of our modern obsession with digital cameras and the instant reproductions they offer, realism in painting still abounds. Look around and you will inevitably see a modern painting of flowers or a landscape or still life.

When I began Canvassing My Friends I promised  myself that each painting had to be more than  just a “pretty picture”. I acknowledge that I have no formal training and so I consider this project to be like an art “apprenticeship” for me. Knowing that I cannot bring a high level of skill (yet) to the canvas, I am determined that each painting MEANS something.

Canvas #1: The Delicate Heart

For example, in Canvas #1: The Delicate Heart the butterfly – by itself – was slipping into saccharin until I added the barbed wire. Now, not only does it mean something to me, but also to my inspiree and to others that will read what they will into the canvas. The achievement is that I have proffered an image that is worth reading more deeply into and worth a second look.

The world is full of wonderfully-talented artists painting “pretty pictures”…but that is not the path I wish to tread. Feel free to stamp on my foot if I should fall back into the sugar bowl.


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Sarah Ritchie
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while you were sleeping

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Finalist, Estuary Art Awards 2011
Exhibitor, The Original Art Sale 2011


© Sarah Ritchie 2014

Please do not use copies of my original artwork for profit, however you are welcome to share my artwork images as much as you like!

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