• Natalia Plachta Fernandes

The Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow and artistic progress

Zaktualizowano: 9 gru 2019

Artistic development happens on many levels. Complete description would be quite challenging, if not impossible. One thing that I know is that the word 'progress' is not the most suitable one. Because working with art is not exactly about constant going up, improvements. Today's world of technology makes us think this way - speed up, do more, do new, invent. But creative process cannot be compared to taking part in a race. Making art sometimes is connected to stepping back, repeating, rediscovering, seeing/doing the same but from a different perspective. And it feels chaotic. At least on the surface - because there still exists that stream I have described previously (sometimes takes form of a whirlpool, gulf!). It is still development, growing, just not so linear, not necessarily into one clear direction. No aim to achieve. It wouldn't be creative if you knew where you are going.


For past 2 years I have been participating in postgraduate studies at The Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow. This months it finishes and my defence will take place in 2 weeks. How did it influence my painting? What kind of 'progress' did I make? Probably I am asking myself a difficult question that is too early to answer. But there are few reflections.


Few years ago intuition made me believe that what I am doing as a painter makes sense. And now it was good to find some kind of confirmation at The Academy. Hearing good words from the best art professors in the country is priceless. And of course constructive criticism was even more important.


Participating in different workshops made me more aware of both me weaknesses and strengths. I am quite strict about the way I work and some classes forced me to do it differently. With better or worse results. I think the real ones will appear in months if not years, after digesting it all. What has been confirmed is that fulfilling tasks is for sure outside my creative process. Luckily some of the professors knew how to lead us through it in a painless way. This for me was for example making project of a mural - thing that used to be totally outside my interests, but somehow with enough explanation, time, work and patience it ended up with not bad results and made me think in a quite different scale. I am not becoming a street artist, but it is not that distant subject for me any more.

Not time and place now to make detailed description of the studies. I would just say that for sure it was worth. As at any course - you get what you give. So some work and stepping outside the comfort zone is essential. When you feel stupid it means you learn something, so if you do - very good, you are growing. Happened few times and I am thankful.


Not easy to say how much it is directly connected with the Academy but I have noticed lately (last months) few things that could be described as part of my development. First is coming back to a painting. Not finishing at once. I used to paint in a moment, when started it needed to be finished right away. And now I am able of having a break and come back to it. Even day after. Well, maybe because my paintings need more work now? It would be to exhausting to make them at once? Maybe. But I would also say that the way I work is in a way more calm, trustful. Or maybe it is about that divisions and colours, I know which colour is next so I can leave and after I am back usually not much has changed, it is still the same colour to be painted. I am not going away from painting because I don't know what to do next. In fact opposite - I feel I can have a break because I know what is next - so it is OK, I am still 'in'.


Another thing that I consider my growth is a bit more difficult to explain... It is about 'making decisions about things that doesn't matter'. It is rarely used, but I really think it shows some kind of maturity. Let's try: sometimes when you have something to paint, there is the 'essence' to be painted, the leading motive and rest of the paper/canvas doesn't matter that much. It happens that for the not essential parts answers also come, but happens as well that not really and you need to make some kind of conscious decision (or maybe I should leave them white? without inventions?). This was difficult to me because I am not a good 'conscious painter'. As I have said many times I am lucky to work with what comes. But still I think it would be good to do something with those blank spots, and what I consider progress is that sometimes I manage to take the decision. What makes it easier is the fact that this parts usually don't matter much (are there parts of paintings that matter less and others more? - another topic), and based partially on what is painted, partially on intuition, some knowledge and memory it is possible to invent something. Another part of this situation is when the painting is ready, I mean the the surface is covered by paint but I feel there is something wrong - and I am able of changing some part. For example if it doesn't matter if something is transparent or opaque, but seems that opaque will fit much better the whole thing - it is possible for me to put another layer. It was not that obvious some time ago! Fortunately these situations doesn't happen often. Usually there are clear answers for every part of the painting. But I really consider this... progress. Useful specially when I have the crazy idea of painting something from observation, but not completely, with let's say invented background.

And yesterday happened something different. Part of my paintings start with a sketch of some lines. First are black lines (pencil, pen etc.) and after colours. After putting away the pencil and taking the brush. Without coming back to the sketch. And yesterday I made a sketch, picked the brush but didn't put the pencil away. Did I use it after? No! It was as always, but just leaving it close and considering in the back of my head another use of it was for me one more tiny revolution. Breaking the scheme, shaking a bit the process. Staying open.

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