Face Making

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

Taking and sharing process photos / Prendre et partager des photos du processus

2014 . 12 . 16 - Comments / Commentaires (17)

I get why some artists don’t do it, but I really think they should.

Je comprends pourquoi certains artistes ne le font pas, mais je pense vraiment qu’ils devraient l’essayer.


This goes back to a recent theme in my vlogs about how being your own art historian is good for your creativity. In the last month, I’ve talked about the importance of acknowledging your sources and about how dating your art is a good idea. Also, I’m not a fan of the whole make-art-seem-magical thing as I explain in this video.


Cela remonte à une idée dont je parle beaucoup en ce moment, l’idée qu’être son propre historien d’art est bon pour la créativité. J’ai fait un vidéoblog sur l’importance de reconnaître vos sources et un autre sur pourquoi il faut mettre une date sur votre art. Aussi, je ne suis pas fan du concept que l’art est magique comme j’explique dans cette vidéo.



Gwenn Seemel

Gwenn Seemel
Free as a bird (Western gull)  / Léger comme un oiseau (Le goéland d’Audubon)
2012
acrylic on panel / acrylique sur bois
10 x 10 inches / 25 x 25 centimètres
(detail below / détail plus bas)



detail image gull painting

This is the last piece from my 2012 series Crime Against Nature to have its process shots shown. In some ways, it’s like I’m finally finishing that series by posting this video.

Ceci est la dernière œuvre qui fait partie du Crime contre nature, achevé en 2012, pour laquelle je montre les images du processus. Dans un sens, c’est un peu comme si je termine vraiment ce projet en publiant cette vidéo.


RELATED ARTICLES:
- Why I paint with all those little marks / Pourquoi je peins avec toutes ces petites marques
- Working on many paintings at the same time
- The process of process


UN PEU SUR LE MÊME SUJET:
- Process work / Le travail du processus
- Mistakes versus layers of paint / Les erreurs par rapport aux couches de peinture
- The secretive part of creativity / La partie secrète de la créativité


CATEGORIES: - English - Français - TOP POSTS - Crime - Practice - Process images - Video -


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(17) Comments / Commentaires: Taking and sharing process photos / Prendre et partager des photos du processus

-- Libby Fife -- 2014 . 12 . 17 --

Gwenn,

A thoughtful post so thank you:)

As an artist who does some copies as a way of learning, I find process shots to be really helpful. I also like descriptions both written and verbal. It all adds to my understanding of the art and the artist. It helps me to relate.

Self confidence is such a big deal; I think it is the main thing behind sharing one’s artistic process. And like you said, I also think that people whether consciously or not want to present a certain image, namely that of the “artist fully formed.”

Thanks for another good post!
Libby

PS-And what about chefs that have their own cooking shows and share the entire process along with tips, videos, and written info in the form of books? I never see them freaking out about having their ideas stolen.

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-- cati breil -- 2014 . 12 . 18 --

Coucou Gwenn !
ça fait longtemps que je ne t’ai pas écrit et tu me manques !!!
la plupart du temps j’oublierais même de photographier mes tableaux une fois finis, alors penser à prendre des photos en cours de travail…j’avoue que cela me dépasse, et pourtant tu as raison c’est super de voir le processus des autres artistes et je devrais songer à me “forcer” un peu car c’est décevant oui de ne pas pouvoir coller son nez sur l’oeuvre et tenter de comprendre comment ça marche ! il m’arrive de passer des heures les yeux sur mon écran pour ça ! je vais y penser désormais…gros bisous my Dear Gwenn.

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-- Gwenn -- 2014 . 12 . 20 --

@Libby: Recipes and fashion seem to be mostly immune from the worry of stealing. For fashion, it is built into the law to some degree, but it seems to me that for the art of food it’s about chefs truly understanding their hand in the food they make—knowing that no one will ever make a recipe quite like they do. Also, they seem to understand more fully than other artists that they will continue to invent new recipes and that those inventions can only come from their mind. Chefs seem to know that fans support an artist for their future work as much as for current or past work.

@Cati: Je le fais chaque matin. Comme ça c’est fait, et je n’ai pas à y penser. Good luck!

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-- Sheila -- 2014 . 12 . 21 --

I enjoy sharing process shots, but I often forget to stop and take them. I enjoy seeing them on other artists blogs. It really helps me to learn new techniques.
I can say for me, it is not a matter of the “artist fully formed” as much as it is the artist “who isn’t doing it right”. ha ha
I am not really that insecure, but I think a bit of that is in the back of my head. And I just am not sure I have put in enough time, to have much to teach anyone else.
Still, I will try to do more of this in the future. Thought provoking as always Gwenn!

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-- Gwenn -- 2014 . 12 . 23 --

@Sheila: I’ve had other artists (usually on YouTube, that unfortunate haven for trolls) say nasty things about my process shots and it does hurt my feelings. Sharing process definitely is vulnerable, but, no matter what the mean people say, it feels less vulnerable when I show process images along with the finished piece. Since I’m confident in the completed work, the mistakes that my process shots reveal can only be good mistakes! smile

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-- Tom Harold -- 2015 . 01 . 14 --

Gwenn,

I love process shots! And how-to videos! I work with a rather odd sort of art, and there aren’t very many sculptors out there making rolling ball sculpture, at least not on a regular basis. The pool of knowledge is growing, but it is still on the small side, and you can’t pull up a thousand videos about “how to weld rolling ball sculpture” like you can many other types of art.

When I started out I had to comb through a few choice internet archives for the information I needed. If the readily-accessible areas didn’t provide what I needed, I had to do a lot of my own sleuthing to track things down.

After some time had passed I had learned enough that I could pass a bit on to others, and I started getting requests for information. I made a couple of videos to show people some basics. My thought was, “Maybe there’s someone new out there who’s dying to learn this stuff, and they can’t find it anywhere. Maybe I can help someone else.”

Process shots are often a help to other artists, but they are also fun, at least for me they are. Shoot, my stuff takes so long to make, if I didn’t provide process shots I’d only have a couple dozen photos to show for the past seven years of work! I have started posting on Instagram, and it’s pretty apparent to me that all kinds of people like to see a project come together.

And, it doesn’t matter if I post process shots. People still look at the finished piece and say, “How on earth did you do that!”

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-- Gwenn -- 2015 . 01 . 18 --

@Tom: The impulse to be helpful was part of the initial drive behind my blog. I wanted to be the resource I’d been looking for—both with the process shots and with any marketing tips. Now that blogs and social media have become more about promotion, I feel like there’s less of that helpful we-can-do-it feeling on the Web, but I like that it’s still there in places. It makes me happy for humanity!

And as for what you said about people still not understanding how you made your art even when they’ve seen process shots, I think that says good things for your art. After all, if your process shots ruin the mystery of the finished piece, there may be something wrong with the finished piece!

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-- Tom Harold -- 2015 . 01 . 18 --

There are only so many things you can show with process shots, Gwen, you know? If you show enough process shots to explain every detail, well, then you have a video! Process shots are a fun way to give people an idea of what goes into your work, and for me they have occasionally served as a very necessary journal of my own processes, because sometime I forget how I did something!

I like what you said about the Web being a collective that fosters and encourages the accomplishment of a goal, be it art or any other type of effort. There’s a lot of power in that, and I’d rather be known as one of those people that is willing to help others than someone who is trying to tightly hold on to every single thing he has. I would like to be an artist that people want to be involved with, and it seems to be that you need to put that message out there to people in a variety of ways so that they can respond to it. I can’t help everyone, but I certainly can make an effort to help in some way.

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-- Dave -- 2015 . 02 . 20 --

One way I find it beneficial is contrasting the painting when I think it is almost done and the affect of the last few tweaks. Especially when you have managed to go from good to wow.
I use the process shots as a blog when I am stumped for a blog topic. I think it also helps a potential buyer relate to you as a person and may get them drawn into the process and thereby build a connection with a piece.

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-- cjy -- 2015 . 02 . 20 --

So I am that artist who does not take process shots and the main reason is that it is not a part of my process. Occasionally if I take a studio shot it will show several paintings in different stages, but this is more about the space I am working in and happens when I am working towards a show. My paintings come from the act of painting and the process varies. Some pieces end up with layers and layers, sometimes with entire paintings completed somewhere underneath the final image. Other times a painting comes together more quickly, more simply. I think of painting as a visual conversation I am having with myself. It is personal during the process and when it is finished it is public. Your process Gwenn, is a very open and public conversation, you literally talk about it from so many different aspects of your life and that is compelling. I really enjoy your questions and answers, your communication with your audience. I have a hard enough time just writing a blog post when I finish a painting, and you at least inspire me to try to write more~!

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-- Martin Geddes -- 2015 . 02 . 21 --

I find the radical evolution of your pictures (e.g. goats and piglets videos) to be rather magical; the exact opposite of “hiding the magic”!

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-- Gwenn -- 2015 . 02 . 22 --

@Dave: Definitely good for a blog! I think that process shots open up an artist’s brain to thinking about their art in a new way, and that helps with the blog too.

@CJY: I hear you about varying amounts of layers and about the privacy of it. I’ve certainly made my process public, but it isn’t always an easy choice—sometimes I wonder what my paintings would look like if I hadn’t. In any case, I’d be fascinated to see how your work comes together. No pressure, but I thought you should know! smile

@Martinique: I wonder if maybe the people who like to the process of art are the same people who like to dig into the process of life, however messy and emotional it is. Yes, I am saying something about you. smile I’d also like to say that you are magical to me. That is all.

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-- Joy Collier Fine Art -- 2015 . 02 . 24 --

I love watching your process. Painting is not just magic but a lot of work and magic. I love seeing the transitions and evolution to the finished product. Delightful. Thanks so much for sharing.

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-- Gwenn -- 2015 . 02 . 26 --

@Joy: Who would want to live in a world where there was no more work? Just as boring as a world without magic! smile Thank you for your kind words!

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-- cjy -- 2015 . 05 . 15 --

Here you go Gwenn smile Process shots :
https://www.facebook.com/cathiejoyyoungpaintings/posts/10153414892418690

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-- Gwenn -- 2015 . 05 . 18 --

@CJY: Like I said on Facebook, thank you for sharing these! Your brain confuses and delights me, and seeing these makes me think of new ways I might try working!! Did taking the process shots interrupt your flow or make you feel weird about the painting? There’s a painting I made for which I counted the hours I worked, and looking at the clock obsessively as I painted made the process for that piece a little weird for me.

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-- cjy -- 2017 . 01 . 27 --

Hi Gwenn - strangely just now got an email alerting me to your reply. It did make me feel a little weird and interrupt the flow. But since the above process shot experiment and joining Instagram I am occasionally taking process shots with my phone. Does not feel so weird anymore and it is interesting to look back at them once the painting is completed. I’ve thought about keeping track of hours too but because I work on multiples at once I’d never get an accurate count for each piece. Also it’s a bit depressing to break a sale down to the hourly wage + materials.

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