Doubts and realisations
In times of doubt, I refer to the wisdom of famous and accomplished artists. Life is full of struggles and obstacles. At times like this, it is possible to build a stable foundation for an artist's practice.
I would like to look at wise words from Frida Kahlo, Christina Rossetti and Michelangelo.
The following quotes help me understand some of the reasons and benefits I gain from making artwork.
A need to Paint
"The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to." Frida Kahlo
The only thing I know is interesting in itself. It is like a self-reflection or evaluation. The mystery of painting can put us in touch with a broader understanding of daily life. A vision of a bigger picture. A connection with a larger consciousness. Does the connection we feel with a painting have any relation to the action of making a painting?
For me, the action of painting itself is an opportunity to witness the flow state. Not always that easy. It takes practice but the more I make paintings, the more frequently I can sense this creative space. Focused on the task at hand. Paint, stand back and reflect, apply more paint or move what is already there.
I have recently completed a portrait of Jimi Hendrix. After a few days of work, I was horrified at how far from Jimi Hendrix I was. I took the canvas off the easel and hid it behind a cupboard. The feeling of failure at completing the work was palpable.
After two more days, I retrieved it and continued. The end result feels complete. The emotions are not strange to me anymore. It is part of my process of engagement.
Painting can be a holistic practice. The combination of energies needed seems quite rare in most of my daily life routine. This is why I need to paint.
Now I am an artist that is regularly working, my internal energies are balanced, enabling me to be more productive.
Here are a couple of quotes about finishing work
"Can anything be sadder than work left unfinished? Yes, work never begun. "Christina Rossetti
Does the idea that you never finish anything fuel never doing it anyway. No chance of failure if we don't begin. Mindset is a powerful reality.
When is a piece of work finished? Increasingly this is when it goes out of the door. Trust in a process and that the work has its own timeline. I am new to painting, so it has taken time for me to understand the time given.
I say given as it feels more empowering than the time taken to do something.
As we see from the following quote, nothing is finished if it has a life force within. Work never begun alludes to this question of mindset. A decision and the uphill struggle to commence. The finishing of work is our struggle next. To see things through to closure.
"No great work of art is ever finished." Michelangelo
A great work of art is finished when it is sold? Indeed on some occasions, I have "finished" a piece when it has been sold. I still have thoughts that I could have done more work on it. If it is sold, the buyer has decided that it is complete, not necessarily the artist.
"Great" is a strange word to describe a piece of art. If the artwork is sold, it becomes "great" to the person who has bought it. Does artwork grow in stature as its monetary value increases? I don't know the answer, but it would appear that this is a common perception.
We can complete our project in a few hours. On other occasions, we spend days or weeks before we feel that it is ready. The work of art is not to be completed but an eternal journey.