there are two sides to every bottle cap. here is the underside of the ranier bottle cap i painted the other day, as per michelle's request. what's funny is, the underside was no bed of roses, and ironically, much more difficult to render than the top. perhaps it's because the top of this bottlecap, with it's emblematic red "R", is so identifiable as a symbol of northwest history. your mind is trained. you instantly know what it is, how it shines in the reflected light, what it means. but the waxy underside, the one with the puzzle, not so much. in painted form, the bottlecap becomes almost abstract. and that is precisely what i like about it: it's not automatically recognizable. it's not automatically beautiful.
today i was listening to my daily dose of bad at sports--my new thing--while i was painting, to broaden my philosophical horizons and my vocabulary. today's installment was particularly thick and chewy, and had to do with philosophies of the aesthetic, the anti-aesthetic, and beyond. i won't go into much detail, but i will say that artists can chase each other in circles debating beauty versus concept and everything in-between. it boils down to the notion that we artists have been divided into two schools, the "flower painters" and the "conceptual artists", for far too long. past schools of theory seem to imply that art for the sole purpose of aesthetic beauty lacks substance, politic, concept, and even potency. yes, in some cases that may be true. but in some cases, i believe that a thing of recognizable beauty can command more attention and communicate more clearly, and to more people at once, while conceptual art often begs for further explanation.
in this modern era, with people upon people, technology quickening it's pace, and the media proliferating images and ideas at the speed of light, the lines between literal and abstract are blurred more every day. that makes art-making a particularly diversified venture. what once may have been a painstaking process can now be done with computers, projectors, and printers, making our jobs easier and harder, simpler and more complicated, all at the same time. ah progress: if it's good for anything, that's keeping us on our toes.