Paintings and Sketches. Sometimes it’s really clear which is which. And sometimes the lines are pretty blurry.
What is this one?
Crown Beach, Alameda. Looking at San Francisco across the bay with the sun in my eyes.
Stillman and Birn Beta, 9×12 in.
Some are easier to classify. Like this one. Perhaps because there’s writing involved? And no paint?
Castillero Middle School, San Jose. Middle school orientation day: I have two middle schoolers this year!! Stillman and Birn Beta, 3.5×5.5 in.
Or this one.
Blvd. Coffee, Almaden, San Jose. Single cappuccino. Stillman and Birn Alpha, 8×10 in.
This one isn’t in a sketchbook, but it’s done faster than most sketches I do…
Life Drawing, San Jose. Detail from a quarter-sheet piece. Arches Cold Press Paper
It’s my vintage sign pieces that are the most ambiguous to me: they’re done in sketchbooks, but a lot of them have been framed and hang in shows or have been sold. Does that change anything? Sketch or Painting?City Cleaners, San Jose. Stillman and Birn Beta, 9×12 in.
Does anything change if there’s more pen lines involved?
Stephen’s Meat Products, San Jose. Stillman and Birn Beta, 9×12 in.
What about if the pen work is more painterly brushpen work?
Painting with Vera, San Jose. Detail from a larger piece. Stillman and Birn Beta, 9×12 in.
Some people say intent matters and sketchbooks are for study: but that’s an old idea, so much art is now made in sketchbooks, an end in itself.
Others define paintings as works outside books and possibly without linework involved.
What do you think? Do you have definitions for paintings versus sketches?
Or, more importantly, does it matter?