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  • Writer's pictureCristinaCasillasArt

Artist Statement, or something like that...

Dear art lover,

Welcome back to my art journal. It's been a while since the last time I wrote and I apologized for that. I usually try to write once a week, but last week was just impossible. Hopefully, you will enjoy this article so much that it will make it up for the missing one.

My art journey began with organization and self-control.

I am a planner and a true believer that organization is the mean to achieve everything. Besides, I take so much pleasure from seeing my living room clean, my clothes organized by color and the food in my kitchen in small transparent jars.

I am the kind of person and professional who plans the day by day, including lunch breaks and working out hours. I plan vacations, I make lists, sometimes I even plan my meals. But, at times life gets in the way of your plans, and you have to adjust.

When I started my art journey in 2020, during the pandemic and with a very long lockdown in the Netherlands on the way, I planned so much. I even planned what I was going to paint everyday. I took pleasure in looking for inspiration in my physical and digital surroundings to plan a head.

As you may know, I studied Architecture, and I took that as reason, or perhaps, as an excuse, to only paint Architecture or cityscapes, and to not take the time to rethink my new journey. For an organization and control freak like me, exploring the unknown can be quite hard and frightening. Hence, at that time, the safest way to approach my new challenge was to stick with what I knew how to do.

I created my paintings by letting my perfectionist and control freak self dictate my lines and strokes. I used to think that I was merely replicating on paper or canvas some architecture masterpiece and who was I to change it. I tried to create my artwork as accurate as possible, but without reaching realism, as it is not my cup of tea when it comes to art.

Can an artist get bored of its paintings?

For the last few weeks, I have been feeling bored. I didn't know an artist could get bored while painting, but maybe this is what is called an artistic block. Although, a few days back, I realized I was not really bored with the action of painting but with the topic of my art work and the need to paint carefully and with a method.

How did I get pass this boredom or artistic block? I bought oil pastels. Oil pastels are basically oil paint contained in a stick. The sticks are usually around 1 cm of diameter and it is not very easy to make details in the paintings while using them.

The first day I drew with oil pastels I made a mess and got very frustrated because I was not able to reach the level of accuracy that I always want in my art work. Nevertheless, I kept reminding to myself that this was exactly the reason why I got them in the first place: to get out of my control obsessed comfort zone.

Long story short, after 3 attempts the oil pastels really started working for me, but I realized that while practicing with them my art topic was not architecture but landscapes. I guess, it was just easier to picture in my mind how to make a landscape look like a landscape than making architecture look like architecture, when drawing with pastels.

I can paint other people, but I can not paint myself.

Lately, I have been thinking that I am an artist who is able to paint portraits of other people, as I have done before, when this is commissioned to me, but I am not able to paint myself. Someone told me that this can be because I don't know myself that well, and that thought really stuck with me.

A few days back I had a video call and while looking at my face through it, I realized how asymmetric it is, and because I am a fan of perfection and symmetry that really bothered me. I thought maybe that is the reason why I am not able to paint myself, because I am far from being perfect.

Some other day, while I was randomly stretching my legs, I realized one of them is longer than the other, and this makes my hips look crooked when I am standing, not to mention how weird my jeans look from the bottom, one leg shorter.

The above are characteristics about myself that I usually like to ignore, but if I stop for a while and think about them, they actually bother me a lot.

I have been thinking on ways to own my imperfections, and I realized I want to paint them and this is where it gets tricky for me. I am artist/architect and I make architecture paintings. Painting myself, the body and its imperfections it is not really my topic or my strong subject.

Self Portrait, painting in progress, Cristina Casillas Art, Oil portrait, oil painting
An oil self portrait that I could not finish.

Broadening my paintings subject and searching for my art style.

One of the reasons why I decided to stick to one subject was because I learn that it is better for the art business to only focus in one thing. That way, the artist starts to get known and its art work recognized for that one subject.

At the beginning I agree with the above statement, or let's call it a well known fact. But, what is the point of being a creative soul if I have to repress myself for the sake of my business? This is something else that also stuck with me and kept me thinking and re-thinking for a long time.

My priority should be to create freely while improving my technique. What if I want to be recognized by my technique and style instead of my art subject? Then, I researched the big artists. Van Gogh didn't always paint landscapes, but you can still recognized his master pieces from far away. Even thought his technique was unique, his art is still categorized as post impressionist.

Now, I am not saying that I want to cut my ear and make a portrait of it, but I would love to follow Van Gogh's artistic path. From time to time, I can find in my paintings a hint of post-impressionism style trying to come out, and perhaps it is time to let it come out to the light completely and let my art work be known for that and not my subject.

May I now introduce you to my Artist Statement.

The things I am passionate about are the subject of my art work. I love to travel, which has broaden my knowledge about architecture, other cities and cultures, and people in general.

At the same time, every single painting I make has as much from the world as it has from myself, and I want to share not only my point of view and feelings but the body that contains them.

I paint landscapes and portraits of nature, because without it, none of the above could exist. Hence, no matter what I paint, nature is always part of my work in one way or another.

Realism bores me, surrealism and abstraction scare me and contemporary art disappoints me. But, post-impressionism is the one, as I like to paint what is outside in the world, but from my unique point of view.

I mix colors in my paintings to create new ones and non existents, and big strokes to make a point and focus in the whole. But, because I like to control, you will find in each of my art pieces a hint or more of symmetry, patterns and consistency through my style.

My art work is a reflection of the way I see the world and everything it contains, from the tiniest (human) to the most immense (nature).

I want to transmit happiness trough my paintings and that is why I paint what makes me happy, hoping it will make you happy as well.

Oil painting in progress. Cristina Casillas Art
Cristina painting with oil on wood.

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