Watercolor 15 x 22 inches
I happen to be a fan
of “The Palette” Magazine. This
magazine is a little known, privately published, bimonthly gathering of
articles aimed at watercolor painters. William
“Skip” Lawrence and Christopher “Topher” Schink author the content of the
magazine and frequently render their strong, well educated opinions about the
constructs of “good” art. (I highly recommend that any painter subscribe to and READ the
magazine. It makes us THINK!)
Recently, I picked
up a copy of “Life” by Chuck Close. Of
note, one of the things he said in this book is “Inspiration is for
amateurs.” If that isn’t a jaded look
at making art, I don’t know what is !!!!
But wait! Mr. Close has a long
life of art making behind him . . . a ton of experience . . .and extremely good experience I might add.
So, what, exactly
did he mean by that statement?
I have been
wrestling with his meanings and his motives for saying that for several
months. After all, there are many
teachers out there who state “paint what you love.” Today, I read parts of the latest issue of
“The Palette” and was treated to someone else’s point of view about the very
same thing: Pablo Picasso said (lifting
this from the text of “The Palette.”)
“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”
Also from the text
of the article, “Experienced painters don’t wait for inspiration, for divine
guidance, or some miraculous revelation before they take up a brush. They dutifully begin working, trying new
things, exploring possibilities. And
with exploration comes discovery, some of it bearing fruit, some barren. But, as Picasso observes, you can’t find
inspiration without working.”
important, but it won’t necessarily lead to inspiration if it isn’t applied in
the right way.”
Here is my own
philosophy about the same thing . . . .”The pursuit of perfection is the ruin
of what might have been good art.”
Translated, that means that most novice painters (including some advanced
painters) are so stuck on replicating what they see, or making everything
‘perfect’ that they miss being creative.
They become enslaved by the subject . . . .and their paintings appear
brittle, edgy, even ‘stamped out.’
In this day and age
of popular Plein Air painting, there seems to be encouragement to ‘paint what
we see.’ Then, the artists spend
hours, even days, searching for the ‘perfect’ scene to paint and often
confronting deep frustration in the process . . . because they can’t conjure up
the “necessary inspiration” they need to begin work.
I say that the true
artist will tackle painting the mundane, the common, the ignored stuff and put
his or her efforts to exalting it to the extraordinary on their canvas. It is in that process of digging down into
the font of creation and bringing forth something not before seen that wonderful art truly happens.
Jaded you say? I would only say that after making thousands of paintings, every artist forms
inviolate opinions about art making . . . it is from these opinions and hard won experience that mastery emerges.