Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Onions
24 x 36 Oil on Linen

Why does an artist paint a particular subject? Where does the inspiration for a painting come from? Many artists will answer "I don't know, ideas just come to me." The more poetic might say "Inspiration is everywhere, it's in the air." Students, generally, are not inspired at all but are given something to paint, a still life or a model. Their goal is to paint what they see. Fair enough. After that goal is achieved the budding artist begins to struggle with expressing the character of their subject or their emotional reaction to it. Bravo. Soon enough they are out of the classroom and must find their own subject matter. A flower, an aroma, a bit of conversation, a written phrase, the seeds of inspiration are easily planted. Now how does one go from inspiration to masterpiece? How those seeds are nurtured is often what makes a work of art. Some artists invite everyone in, "Come see what I'm doing. What do you think?" He feeds on every comment, every suggestion, anything that comes along while the work is in progress. Then he takes what he likes and uses it to cultivate his seed. Other artists can't bar the door fast enough. Any interference with his thoughts is considered poison to his seed. He ponders and puzzles and toils in solitude. Only when the seed has matured into a strong healthy painting can it be shown to others. I belong to the latter group. I often become very quiet in social situations, rarely offering my opinion. It's not because I am antisocial or uninterested in the conversation, it's because I am in my garden of inspiration protecting my seedlings.....

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