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.