Face Making

Artist Gwenn Seemel’s bilingual blog about art, portraiture, free culture, and feminism.

The magical mystery of art / Le mystère et la magie de l’art

2012 . 08 . 22 - Comments / Commentaires (6)

I talk about art-making a lot on my blog and in my life, but that doesn’t mean I understand everything about my process.

Je parle beaucoup de ma démarche artistique sur mon blog et dans ma vie, mais cela ne veut pas dire que je comprends tout ce que je fais.

Female emus mate with males, lay eggs, and then move on, often times mating with multiple males in a single season. The male incubates his eggs, which have usually been laid by various females. Once the young are hatched the male nurtures them for up to seven months, defending them from predators and teaching them to find food.

To learn more about the series which this painting is a part of, visit the articles in this section of my blog.

Parmi les émeus, les femelles s’accouplent avec les mâles, pondent des œufs, et repartent, souvent pour accoupler avec d’autres mâles dans la même saison. Entre temps, les mâles couvent ses œufs, qui ont normalement été pondus par plusieurs femelles. Une fois que les oisillons sortent des œufs, les mâles les nourrissent pendant sept mois et les défendent contre les prédateurs.

Pour en savoir plus sur la série dont ce tableau fait partie, regardez les vidéos dans cette section de mon blog.

painting of a male emu with chick

Gwenn Seemel
Mr. Dad (Emu) / Monsieur Papa (L’émeu)
acrylic on panel / acrylique sur bois
10 x 10 inches / 25 x 25 centimètres
(detail below / détail plus bas)

painting of a male emu with chick

- On making better art
- Full studio, empty brain / Un atelier bien rempli, un cerveau qui se vide
- Why I talk about art / Pourquoi je parle de l’art

- Natural style / Un style naturel
- Educating the public / Éduquer son public
- My own color theory / Ma théorie des couleurs

CATEGORIES: - English - Français - Crime - Philosophy - Process images - Video -

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(6) Comments / Commentaires: The magical mystery of art / Le mystère et la magie de l’art

-- Yanik Falardeau -- 2012 . 08 . 22 --

Good for you, Gween. Art is so personal that I think it can be whatever we want it to be. Follow your own rules and stay true to yourself. This is definitely an interesting piece. Thank you!


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-- James -- 2012 . 08 . 22 --

With regard to the question of whether viewers can see the magical moments in your process while watching it, I think there is a hint of it - at least for those of us who either aren’t artists ourselves, or who work in a very different medium. That hint, for me, is those frames where the picture seems to change radically in color or have large portions of it obscured by a new layer. In those moments I always wonder, “but why this vastly different color” or “why did she just obscure all that previous work?” - and I suspect that it’s in those moments that you gained a “magical” insight into the painting and suddenly, inexplicably, knew what it really needed. I have those moments while writing, and I still don’t understand how they work.

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-- Gwenn -- 2012 . 08 . 23 --

@Yanik: Thank you!  I like it when friends challenge me about any aspect of my work because it causes me to think through things I might not otherwise think through!

@James: Sometimes I think I need to take my time adding layers so I can get over the feelings I have about a certain layer and be able to obscure it!  It’s probably the same with writing for you: getting attached to certain wordings and flowing with them until suddenly they seem wrong.  They may be edited out, but they still helped you find the right direction.

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-- Kelly in AK -- 2012 . 09 . 04 --

I think you could show every little step of a painting and the magic would still exist because the magic isn’t in the mechanics of putting paint on canvas or board or paper.  It’s in the artist somewhere between head heart and hand.  I don’t know why I use certain colors of paint or beads, I just know they look right, or feel right. Like musical notes sound right.  I heard someone say mixing colors is learned and I didn’t get it because to me mixing colors just is. 

I see magic in the shape of your brush strokes, your application of color and your sense of the personality of the beast human or animal.

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-- Gwenn -- 2012 . 09 . 06 --

So true, Kelly!  I went away for a week recently, and when I got back it seemed to me my paintings had changed.  Of course, they hadn’t!  I was the one who had been changed in the interim, but they still felt different.  And that’s to do with my work—and the magic too—residing somewhere between me and my paintings.

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-- Kelly in AK -- 2012 . 09 . 06 --

I wish I could explain that feeling to “non artists”. I put that in quotes because I firmly believe everyone has some sort of art/magic in them whether it’s painting or drawing or music or cooking or raising kids. I wish I could explain to my sister that that goobery happy feeling she gets with a newborn is similar to the feeling I get when art reveals itself.

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