Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hubbard Squash and Onions
34 x 40 Oil on Linen

While delivering paintings to a show over the weekend I heard an interview with Michael Caine on the radio. He was talking about his early acting experiences. Once he had a small part playing a drunken man. He staggered onto the stage and slurred his lines. No, no, no the director shouted, you are only imitating what a drunk looks like. In order to act like a drunk you must think like one, someone who is drunk is trying very hard to walk straight and talk normally. It was an important lesson, one he never forgot. It reminded me of what happens so often in painting. Many artists get so caught up in the tones and edges they see that they merely imitate what is in front of them. They are outside of the painting looking at the subject as if it were an animal on exhibit in a zoo. The artist should be more like the actor who inhabits his character. Instead of standing outside his work he must become one with the subject of the painting. The artist is the voice for the sitter. He should be able to tell the viewer what his subject thinks and why it looks the way it does. Then there can be communication between the viewer and the painting: a conversation with the portrait, a desire to walk in the landscape, to smell the flowers and touch the fruit. Not simply because it looks real but because it is saying something, there is something interesting about the painting that we want to explore, to know and absorb to enrich our life.....

1 comment:

Joel Coplin said...

I tell my people it has to feel like the subject not look like it.