Monday, January 15, 2007


I'm starting in today to begin creating a body of artwork that defines at this moment who I am as an artist. The paradox of this is that an artist, a creative being, stops being that when the action of creation ends. They are the people who process the seen world and transform and synthesize it into a reflection of their own mind mirror, continually readjusting and reaching through the accepted into something new and different. Here in this place is where trust is critical, where vision is everything, where the intangible must somehow be reckoned with a tangible expression. I have to trust my eyes, my heart, my mind and my gifting that pouring out the inner vision into tangible and seen expression is worth it, that it means something.

I have struggled for years to find the junction of the creative spirit, the technical craft and the truth in a work. Not every piece of work contains this elements in equal measure. The overall journey contains varying amounts and the work is constantly evolving. Still, the fact remains that there has to be a stopping place, or at least a place inhabited for a period of time that becomes recognizeable. I have to study my work and the work of others and ask myself, "What rings true to me?" "What are the characteristics of my own personal expression?" "How do I balance the pure act of creativity with the necessary act of sales and survival?" So far it's been a fairly simple thing-I'm a portrait artist and my picture had better look like the person. Well, I know I transcend the material and somehow imbue the images with something beyond surface likeness-still, how to I take this further still? For a portrait artist the trick is vastly more difficult that with other artistic disciplines. And how do I further still push beyond the limitations of photography and the image bits people tend to be satisfied with in this generation, viewing tv and computer screens. I fear art these days misses the richness and depth of the past, of that which takes years to develop and is not content to merely make a nice picture.

The figurative artists I admire from the past were not all people one would encourage or even admire as human beings. Henri Tolouse-Lautrec was one of those. His primary focus of artistic inspiration were french prostitutes and the characters who inhabited cabarets and dance halls. I somehow doubt his paintings and drawings would find their way into the winner's circle of certain organized exhibits I'm dying to be a part of. How far have we come in the art world? We seem so easily satisfied. I remember seeing a painting done by Vincent Van Gogh at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It was merely undulating tones of grey. The picture was done from his asylum room looking out onto wheatfields in the rain. To a casual passerby it would seem nothing, but to me, visiting the museum on a rainy day struggling with inner demons and pain, it became the expression of my heart and a kernel of deep truth from another time and another life that linked me to the artist. I knew exactly what that painting was about. This is what I'm trying so hard to allow for and what is so costly to an artist who longs for integrity-to express the deepest and innermost parts of the heart with all the skill we possess, whether the world understand and accepts it or not. Can I do expose myself that way as a way of life? It seems to me the gift requires nothing less than that.


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