Responding to Rutenberg

ID #103

I’ve recently discovered an artist whose work and words I’m eating up these days.  To say that his paintings are delicious would be correct…the color, movement, and draw-you-in composings on canvas are breathtaking.  His words are equally inspiring.

Brian Rutenberg lives and works in New York City.  His work is about as far on the other end of my own artistic offerings as one might be.  He has an art degree while I have a French degree. He was a Fulbright Scholar and has made his living from his art whereas I have raised kids and worked small odd part-time jobs while my art-making has been stashed in-between every-which-way.  He works in oils on HUGE canvases and currently I work in a sketchbook. He works in abstraction, with his drawings in charcoal being representational; I draw representationally with forays into abstraction.

We do have a few things in common though: born in the same year, southern upbringing, family people (he is married with two children; my husband and I are raising three). But the largest common denominator is a love for articulating all-things-art.  And this is what I want to share with you…my reactions and responses to a few of the ideas and thoughts he presents in his marvelous Documentaries.

There are 18 of these 10-minute videos of Brian speaking to us about his work.  I’ve watched them all, eagerly absorbing and mulling over the concepts he espouses and describes so eloquently.  You really must watch these.  I suggest watching only one or two and then spend a few days thinking about them and letting the ideas seep into your way of creating.

ID #105

I have also been making more of these Improvisational Drawings (as I’m calling them:).  I’ve started numbering them with ID (stands for Improvisational Drawing) and then a number.  I’ve also taken to writing about each of them on the back, or on a sheet of paper placed in an envelope I glue on the back.  I enjoy creating the words that speak to how the drawing evolved, any thoughts as to why, and specifics about approach, or underlying ideas.  The drawings themselves are in no way an attempt to replicate Rutenberg.  The thing I’m going for is to consider the elements surrounding the drawings, the making of them, the impetus behind them…like Rutenberg, as he so wonderfully communicates in his Documentaries.

My next post will be responding to one aspect of one of his talks. In the meantime, see if you can watch a few of his documentaries.  It will be time well spent!

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