Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I Wanna Be Like Max

OK, maybe not literally...but my art teacher in San Francisco told me I seemed to paint in the style of Max Beckmann, a German expressionist painter from the first half of the 20th century (this thumbnail is his painting, "Party in Paris", 1931).

After reading the Wikipedia definition of expressionist (there really never was a formal movement called expressionism, but I guess it seemed like a good label for a group of artists with a similar style in a similar era), I'm not sure I could emulate Mr. Beckmann. There's no way at this point in my life I could understand the social upheaval and tragedy that he experienced to make him the painter he was, much less to "express" the emotions in his paintings.

But, I love his bold use of color and his strong, black outlines. I also love that he paints representations of reality without being too abstract (i.e., you can tell the people are people and their noses are where they're supposed to be on their faces, etc.), but he shifts the perspective so that his paintings aren't too realistic--the composition and the placement of things throws you off balance. His paintings are merely an expression of what he perceives as the painter. It's exactly how I think when I paint, and I hope to share my perspective of the world through painting even a fraction as well as Mr. Beckmann someday....

Still Life with Candles and Mirror, Max Beckmann, 1930

4 comments:

The Joffes said...

Hmmm, and here I thought that you just wanted to be like your cat! :) Love your comments and can't wait to see more of your artwork! Just keep painting, painting, painting!

Jennifer said...

Valerie, thank you for sharing your thoughts and ambitions on painting. What I like about these paintings by Max is that they are dynamic but more from a personal perception point of view rather than a physical. The first one seems to capture his sense of being overwhelmed in a social setting, slightly chaotic, "who are all these new people? where do I fit in?" Also, his use of colors remind me of "El Greco."

I look forward to reading more of your thoughts. Thanks again!

Jonathan Lucero

The Joffes said...

OK, how much do I look like a neanderthal compared with Jonathan??

Jennifer said...

Actually, I've been waiting for soooooo many years for such a situation to present itself especially in the painting context. I tried it once at the wake of Jenny Jenkins, "What I liked about Jenny Jenkins is that she was dynamic.........she was overwhelmed at times......and slightly chaotic.....and where did she fit in, I mean really? and did you know that she partied way too much with 'El Greco'?"