Something to say for the new year


Sunset on Contemporary Resort Hotel Disney World (1972)                                                                                               Acrylic on Illustration board 8″x10″

Something To Say For The New Year

Here is a truth:  often a painting is done just so the artist can get to do a small favorite thing, or idea.  Entire paintings are done just to get to put highlights on a glass, or shadows on a lemon or sunbursts in the distance.  Whole landscapes are painted just to show a small flower in the foreground, or a water drop about to fall from a rose petal.  A moment of inspiration to render an idea, so simple a truth that it cannot be rendered simply, but surrounded by complexity of seeing our world, lest the idea be lost.  When done, often the original intention of the painting goes unperceived to the casual viewer, but it is there.

Every artist has something to say, even if it is vapid and shallow.  Many just love to paint.  Great masters labored to say things of worth, depth, with a genius and clarity.  Some masters did this early in life and some late.

As time passes, talented and developing artists gain a voice, learn some way to communicate in their work and contribute to the world wide body of work.  A few are late bloomers and decide to speak after many years of mumbling out their art.  Whether small or genius, the years usually have trained the work into an acceptable voice or even into excellence.

Once an artist learns that their work really is just their voice, applied to materials with tools, and that the observed perception rendered is in the mind of another, something we can not control, just influence, the artists begin to offer up a communication of worth.  Their art resides in the mind of the viewer as in the art itself.  The Mona Lisa is in the mind of millions of people, each with their own thoughts about it, no matter what Leonardo wanted.

Good art is common to the understanding of all; it is spoken of as if it came from the artist, but it did really?

It came because the artist was observing through time, things others have experienced and the artist spoke it out in an image remarking about that time.  Seldom if ever does an artist say something new that is actually profound or unknown, but really says something already known that is put in a new and perhaps original way; it is understood by the masses because they already have some understanding of the topic, subject or image. That can become a profound perception in the world.

A six year old child with a crayon can make you cry with their clarity of seeing and saying what you know; if that clarity remains, as skill grows, they become a master, an artist.

A sixty year old can pick up a pencil and start drawing for the first time and make you laugh, but if they have something to say, regardless of how poorly they might draw it, if it touches us all, it is art.  That is why cartoons are so powerful, they speak to us and about us all, and are often done by young artists who grow old in their craft.

A master does both, renders beautifully and has something to say. Saying something is the highest form of art, and saying it well is glorious.  Having accumulated the skills to render, it becomes very important in delivering the idea in its whole form, even if it is just a rose with a water drop.

This puts more artists to silence than any other thing, recognizing one’s own inability to say it well or even to know what to say.  Better to say nothing so they don’t.  So many young and new emerging talents silence themselves long before they discover they were actually on path to arrive, but judged wrongly their primitive learning as lack of talent.

Just because we, as artists, can see our own work path and struggles is no reason to withhold our work.  What has changed is the internet and speed in which we hear feedback.  We can post our images, and get comments; the pain and glory are instantaneous, and both are also fleeting.  The amount of really fine art work out there is astounding, access to visual resource is so huge it is daunting.  Both discouraging and encouraging.  It is still one person viewing one image one at a time. Perhaps hundreds or thousands or millions of people, but each one views it one at a time.  It is personal, it is a singular event and a singular response.  Not a crowd or audience of thousands, just thousands of individual observers with no crowd influence, no one watching them while they observe.  They comment, and it is powerful, it is direct.

So take a good idea, even a tiny one, and build a painting around it and show it, or write a new book and publish it, or take four notes and build a symphony around them and perform it.



26 thoughts on “Something to say for the new year

  1. Pingback: A truth | in the art cave

  2. Mark Lanesbury

    And very well said John. A truth is always recognised by the beauty within it. And I think every artist portrays their truth after much trial and error until they realise all they need to do is follow their heart. It is their truth, their beauty and the love of their art within that will portray exactly what is needed. Like all us ‘artists’ down here, whether it is with paint, computer, writing, a gardener or a horse trainer, it is in having the faith of ourselves that brings out that wonderful gift within, and is portrayed with the love in which it was created. Namaste

  3. LadyBlueRose's Thoughts Into Words

    Hi ….I was thinking about y’all and decided to wander through to see how you are doing…
    Hope everything is okay in your neck of the woods…
    Stay Warm…
    Take Care….You Matter…

    1. eightdecades Post author

      Well it is very very cold. -8 below tonight, -25 last night. I have been occupied with trying to update blog stuff. working on a .org change. so I haven’t been getting my regular blogging done. I am not much of a techie-so it goes slow.
      Thank you for thinking of me, and I will get back t blogging tomorrow.

  4. Charlotte Hoather

    Lovely post John 😉
    I draw or doodle all of the time I listen to music. One of the ways I learn folk songs quickly is to draw out a story board of each line of the story, it helps me to remember order and drama in the song 😉

    1. eightdecades Post author

      That is a great way to remember songs. I do something similar, I listen to music to remember my drawing processes and colors when doing a time consuming piece of art. It helps to keep the style consistent with a piece of music. Years later when looking at the picture I can remember the music as well.

  5. Rebecca J Stahr

    What a great post. So many wonderful ideas I don’t know where to start so I will comment on this last phrase you entered in the reply… “One of the rays of light coming from the human family of artists” …what a beautiful tapestry of infinite colors that must be.

      1. Rebecca J Stahr

        I’m sorry to post this here. I don’t see a contact form on your site. May I use the phrase, ” Just do your art and smile” that you used in my comments on my blog. I would like to title an upcoming blog post with it and credit you.

      2. eightdecades Post author

        Certainly you may use the phrase, thank you for the compliment. I am trying to rework my site and contact info, it seems that my comments sections don’t work on many of my postings. I am slowly learning how to blog with wordpress, and at some point will move the site over to the .org so it can be used to make art work available. But now I am just a newbie user.
        Thank you for including my postings in your blog as well.

  6. inthedarkwoods

    What a thoughtful and insightful post, thank you for sharing it. I love the reassuring reminder that while we might be adding our work to a vast gallery, which is indeed daunting, “It is still one person viewing one image one at a time.”

    1. eightdecades Post author

      Ah yes, if we can just not be overwhelmed by the size of the world, we can be one of the many bricks in the walls of civilization. Or better, one of the rays of light coming from the human family of artists.
      Than k you for the comment and visiting the blog.

  7. LadyBlueRose's Thoughts Into Words

    writing distracts me from a lot of things I have running around in my head
    sort of an escape…
    I escape alot these days ….

  8. LadyBlueRose's Thoughts Into Words

    you create a work of art
    with each start
    of a brush stroke
    and words seem to float
    with each letter painted with pen of ink
    that make one think
    so a true artist you are
    as you paint the stars
    or a raindrop on a rose
    that sparkles as it begins to snow…

    Wonderful post John….Thank you for sharing…
    Take Care….You Matter…

    1. eightdecades Post author

      Thank you for such kind approval of my work and blog. I always look forward to your visits and comments, as well I love reading your blog. I don’t respond often enough or post often enough but I am working on it.
      I am amazed at how many poems you write and get posted, along with all the videos and graphics,Wow.Always good ones too, you must stay up all night to do this! Then you go out and read the work of others and take time to post a response…..Amazing

      1. LadyBlueRose's Thoughts Into Words

        Thank you but actually the energy of you and your thoughts seem to whisper
        and I write….sometimes I do that, sometimes I don’t ….
        I come here because I know that energy will make me smile….
        and write ….

        Thank you for sharing of yourself and your amazing gift….

    2. LadyBlueRose's Thoughts Into Words

      surfacing for a moment or two
      and thought I’ld stopped in and say hello to you
      hope you and yours are staying warm….
      Take care…You Matter…

      1. LadyBlueRose's Thoughts Into Words

        Hi again…I just found your comment..
        it was in spam…and I couldn’t figure out how to
        retrieve it…computer challenged still alive and well…
        I think its showing, it is to me now anyways…
        Thank you for those not only kind words, but beautiful as well…
        what a wonderful way to think of the connections…
        I appreciate your thoughts as I know I will not only enjoy and learn, I will pause to think
        the words over as the fit within my path’s walway…
        Take Care…You Matter…
        just me

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s