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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Thank You Pablo Picasso


I've been struggling.  All artists go through this at some point in their career, but I felt I should talk about it.  Richard Schmid once said that you have to paint, and the more you paint the fewer "duds" you will turn out.  Now, I don't expect every painting to be a masterwork, and even my best is far from it, (and I think this one is probably one of my very best), but I keep trying, although I must admit that I am not as passionate about trying with every painting.  I don't know why that is.  Maybe laziness, maybe impatience, maybe I'm just tired.  I was passionate about painting "America's Promise."  Can you tell?

I realize that no matter what it is we are passionate about, though, sometimes we just don't feel like giving it our best.  It happens.


The most painful part of being an artist is that there will always be artists who are better than you.  LIke this one - L.S. Liang.  He is brilliant - absolutely brilliant.  All of his paintings are brilliant.  I don't think he even knows what a "dud" is.  There will always be masters of the past and present who we aspire to replicate and he's one of them for me.  There will always be room to grow - lots of room - too much room!  But, there is still something exhausting about knowing that I will never reach the top - never reach my fullest potential and goals as an artist - at least not in this lifetime. Maybe that has to do with discipline.  I think Liang is very disciplined.  It's in his DNA.  My DNA probably looks more like a Jackson Pollack painting. 

La meridienne by Van Gogh

Then I think of Van Gogh.  He didn't sell his first painting until 100 years after his death.  At least I have sold my paintings, and I have a number of collectors.  Maybe I'm just my own worst critic.  That is what my friend Alison told me tonight while we worked in the studio.  She's right you know.

I was complaining about my painting.  She was complaining about hers.  I liked hers.  She liked mine.  We both think our own work "stinks" and that is no lie.  She keeps saying she "paints like a 5 year old."  I keep saying my work is "crap."  We both need our heads examined.


She is completing an entire sketchbook with the theme "An Elephant in the Room" for the Sketchbook project and I am completing an entire sketchbook with the theme "A Million Little ..."  Yeah, a million little what?  How about a million little crappy sketches.  That oughta do it.  Suddenly, though, elephants are everywhere for Alison.  Why are we doing this?  Who knows.  Ask the Art House why they approached us and asked us to participate.  I do like this painting, though, from Christian Vincent.  It's called "Three's a Crowd."  I sent it to Alison. 


To tame my inhibitions, my desire for antiquities, and my inner artistic warfare, my next painting is going to be after Rene Magritte's "The Son of Man" if for no other reason than I like to paint people and hate painting faces - oh, and because my Big Bear wants the painting hanging in our foyer.  I will, however, try to paint the poor man so that his arm on the right (his left arm) doesn't look as though it is bending backwards.  Why did he put that crease so oddly in the man's suit sleeve anyway? That seems odd, as if the apple in his face isn't odd enough, or the wall, or the flat, stationary ocean.

And "No" I have not finished Matthew's portrait yet.  It is on the back burner again until I get my artist's confidence back.  It might just take an apple in the face to get me there.


Then there is the likes of Jackson Pollack.  I mean - what was he thinking?  Was he thinking at all?  I don't even like the colors in this piece.  This had to cost a small fortune in paint.  If you look at it long enough, you can see a face from the white lines.  They make 2 big circles, then a nose, then funny cheeks and an ear.  I take it Pollack couldn't draw well.

I'm sure he struggled too.  Or how about ...


this master piece of wonderment?  You'll never guess who did this...


Would you believe this guy?  Pablo Picasso drew that picture with a green conte crayon in 1952.  And from this picture, he looks like he has a headache.  I'm with ya Pablo.  Believe me, I'm with ya buddy.  I feel your pain.




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