Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Artist at Work
30 x 24 Oil on Linen

Artists say the strangest things.

I have a friend, an artist, who is a devout Mormon. He considers work on Sunday sinful, it is supposed to be a day of rest. So when I saw him painting by the side of the road one Sunday I stopped and asked what he was doing. "I'm doing a watercolor" he said. "Isn't that against your religion?" I asked. "Oh, no" he said "oil painting would be wrong, that's my serious work, watercolors are just a hobby."

A friend who was once married to an artist asked me if I painted every day. "Of course" I said "why do you ask?" "Well, I would often come home from work and find that my husband had done no work all day. Once he went four days without doing anything." She was working to support his art so she finally asked him why he hadn't painted. "I wasn't inspired" he replied "you can't expect me to just paint."

When I was a student the League asked me to deliver something to the studio of one of the instructors. I was a big fan of his work so I was anxious to meet him. When he answered the door he was holding a broom. "I hope I'm not disturbing your work" I said. "Oh no, I was just sweeping up" he replied. Then he added "nothing makes me happier than painting yet I do everything I can think of to avoid getting started".....

3 comments:

Walter L. Mosley said...

Gorgeous painting. I struggle a bit with the work vs. keeping the sabbath day holy, but I think I came to the same conclusion as your friend - if I had no restraints and was free to do whatever I wanted to do, I would paint because I find it an enjoyable thing to do and not work.

jeff said...

The act of painting is a blessing.
I remember Frank saying that all the time that we should paint the glory of God and so on. I'm not a religious person in the sense of organized religion and so on.
So I can't speak to that aspect of a person beliefs. I do believe in the Humanism and the ideas of the Enlightenment and I try to make my work reflect this. The scale and breadth of the human experience.

Making something and doing it well is part of what makes us human as opposed to a dog. Not to despair our canine friends but they were not designed to paint.


The Mormon story was pretty funny.
I never knew hobbies were OK on the sabbath and ones work was not. Interesting twist on ones morals.

Thomas Torak said...

Thanks Walter and Jeff for your comments. I think we may have hit on a subject that we will need to explore again.