Thoughts on Life, Art, Photography, Technology, Teaching and Travel…..
You don’t truly realize the incredible talent and skill that goes into painting and making good art in general until you have tried to paint, draw, sculpt or even compose a really good photograph. There is so much that goes into making highly expressive, dynamic and engaging art. I have picked up the my paint brushes after a year break due to the demands of my teaching and distance learning jobs and I must admit, at first I was very frustrated trying to get back to where I left off last year. I am not a representational painter by no means, although I am now trying to incorporate external references (subject matter) into my work unlike the Jackson Pollockesque non-objective art I make in Graduate school and beyond.
Take a moment and truly scrutinize a Van Gogh, Kandinski or Gauguin painting. Your first impression may be that these artists just quickly dashed some paint onto the canvas. Now…study them again, look at them hard and long and you will begin to realize that you can’t replicate their work. Van Gogh and Gauguin were putting their hearts and souls into their paintings and filtering external reality through their highly sensitive, intensely aware and empathetic sensibilities. Not everyone can do this, in fact…most people can’t.
Making good art, viable art, dynamic art, powerful art, expressive art ArT that reaches into your heart, mind and soul and grabs YOU and shakes You up is really hard to do. This is what frustrates me the most, because I understand the theory behind art, have studied and taught about all the great artists through history, the visual language and appreciate what all the great artists through history were trying to accomplish and yet…here I am with me easels in my kitchen making this feeble attempt to make a painting that expresses what I feel about the subject that I am translating to the viewers of my work.
Jackson Pollock Lavender Mist
I am so much better at doing this through my photography, BUT painting is a whole different creative approach. You MUST be true to yourself as an artist and when you are working through the various challenges that confront you when painting or trying to harness and communicate through any creative medium, it is important to remember and be aware that none of the great artists in history had it easy and it took real blood, sweat, tears and GUTS to produce those great works of art that we all appreciate and cherish. Making art takes courage…it takes dedication…it takes perseverance and you (the artist) must be willing to take risks every time you pick up a camera, paint brush, pencil or put your hands in wet clay. Nobody said making art was easy and most artists don’t sell much if any work, they don’t get any recognition in their lifetime as well – you make art because you have to – you are driven to – you get depressed when your NOT making art, your not thinking about making art and now after teaching for 25 years it is time to redirect that creative energy into making some ART. I don’t have any idea how good it will be, BUT what enriches me – what keeps me going is the process, the act itself of making art because I really don’t care who likes it, who wants to buy it and if I get recognition for it – I make it because I have to – it is that simple.
Van Gogh is me hero so read Lust for Life and you will understand and “get” me and the issues I am addressing. Lust for Life was the best damn book I ever read next to Agony and the Ecstasy about the life of Michelangelo and On Photography by Susan SonTag.
Anybody can be an artist or writer…you just have to begin the creative journey – find a medium that feels comfortable to you and begin expressing yourself through it.