I was going to call this post “Don’t Overthink It” but I like positive sounding titles much better. I’m actually writing this to remind myself of a discovered truth that you also may benefit.
All of my posts are to Artists. That is my passion and interest and I’m assuming if you’re reading this you too are an artist or have artistic interest.
There is a kind of secret that attends the studio of great artists. Disclaimer: I do not think of myself as Great or the Center of the Universe in anyway. No Narcissism here. This secret does not involve some master technique. It is not about some great art school in Italy. First let me tell you a brief funny story.
Passion is a Virtue
Many years ago I worked as a shipyard labourer/painter and welders’ helper. I got to see the beauty of boats and ships tied up at the wharf during early peaceful mornings when the water was so still it looked like you could walk on it.
Shipyard labourers were the guys who did “all the other work”. Stuff that the electricians or welders didn’t do. There were no ladies working among us and the conversation often harkened to that of the back of the classroom during recess in high school. So the announcement of my then upcoming marriage became fuel for such conversation. After-all we had to pass the time somehow because the work was often menial and tedious. With winks in their eyes and a gratuitous grin the guys tried to get me to ‘kiss and tell’ and see just how far the relationship had already advanced. I wanted to extol the virtue of waiting and being patient. I held my head up high and meaning to say ‘Patience is a virtue’ I instead and erroneously proclaimed, “Passion is a virtue!” Well that phrase became the saying of the summer and we enjoyed many a good laugh over it.
So what has that story to do with my “secret“? Nothing really except that after a few decades I never forgot it. The phrase seems to apply aptly to this post, however. The key to a ‘good’ painting is more about passion, energy, spirit and emotion than it is about technique, colour choice or what ground you’re using . You can teach a monkey or a machine to paint but it won’t make the painting a part of human phenomena. What moves the viewer are those paintings that first moved the artist.
If you want a good painting that will speak to others then concentrate less on ‘the rules’. Learn the rules but don’t let the rule be the master. Otherwise your work will be ‘wooden’.
This is where art differs from the sciences. It’s about feeling first. Whats the emotion? Is it Anger? Love? Fear? That is what you are painting. Are you painting an old building? No. You are painting a home that has felt love, fear, anger and loss. You must feel it first in order to transfer it onto canvas.
My wife wrote in a poem once these words describing love, life and a rose:
“…it’s the thorns we miss that cause the tears…”
Why does a beautiful thing like a rose have such sharp, peircing things as thorns? Perhaps so the rose will not only be seen, smelled and admired but so that it will be felt and felt in such a way it can never be forgotten.
Can your beautiful art make one’s soul bleed? If so, then it has done it’s job. When it comes to Art and when all is said and done, Passion is a Virtue!
Thanks for droppin in! See ya next time. KC.