Friday, December 12, 2008
I heard a radio interview by Canadian wildlife artist Robert Bateman, so I went to see his exhibition. I expected to be wowed by his technical prowess, but instead found the acrylic on panel paintings rather dull. He uses photographic sources and spectacular settings, but the work doesn’t “glow” (luminosity created by layers of paint).
I was interested, however, in how Bateman makes a living, and a good one; the museum information stated his paintings are “loved by millions.” He sells paintings at galleries. He makes lithographs of his drawings (such an old fashioned thing, but I guess it still works). He writes books. He takes people (collectors? amateur artists?) on wildlife safaris and cruises. I imagine he gives painting workshops.
I guess I could understand all the hoopla over this career if the paintings were better. For example, I do like some of the Western or Cowboy style artists, if they paint with bravura. I thought the best piece in his show was a painting he did of birds when he was a teenager.