Monday, March 16

What Artists Like to Paint

Today’s Image
Sandy Beach
Acrylic on Canvas Panel
12 x 9 in/30.5 x 23 cm
Copyright 2009

It’s not always easy to know what people will find interesting in an art blog. I try to write about art-related topics I think “aspiring and inspired artists”--the OrbisPlanis tag line--want to read. If there’s a particular subject you would like to see, please leave a comment. By the way, I added a quote from Paul Cezanne to the Favorite Art Quotes section, over there on your right if you’re interested in such things.
That said, today's blog is about painting what you like to paint. That sounds simple, and some may think even stupid. What I mean is that you should follow your creative vision. That is, do what you like, every time you begin a painting, or drawing, or sculpture, or whatever your artistic pursuit is.

People, including artists, come with baggage. For a lot of people, it comes from a lifetime of doing what you’re told to do, what you think you should do, what you’re obligated to do, and what you feel you must do.

That is opposed to doing what you like, or would like, to do. There comes a point in people’s lives where they realize this is it, and you don’t get second chances. This, by gosh, is it, at least in this realm and dimension.Without getting too deep and certainly not maudlin, the point is that if you’re not doing the art you want to do, you either have missed or are about to miss the proverbial “boat.”

Of course, many don’t know what art they want to do yet, and that’s perfectly OK. They are still on their journey. This means the art you are exploring is what you want to be creating, at least in that moment. Good for you; you’re on the right road. However, many artists are not creating what they like. They are drawing, painting, sculpting what they think other people like. Why are they doing this? For some, it’s a necessity due to financial circumstances; they produce what someone buys. Let’s hope it’s also what they like to draw, paint, or sculpt. If not, I hope they can reconcile it with their muse.

Other artists are in a big, long, deep rut. They’ve been doing the same thing for so long, they’ve either lost their imagination or they don’t know how to do anything else. Not to single out any one motif or medium, but how many still life oil paintings of a kitchen table are too many? If this is what you like to paint—fine; or maybe the artist should ask why he or she keeps doing them.

Some artists are out there on the edge, and may not be aware if what they paint is what they like to paint (or not). Their creativity comes from somewhere beyond with not much grounded in reality. This is great, and I really mean it. The world needs Pollacks, Picassos, Rothkos, and Rauschenbergs. I hope those artists liked what they painted.

Today’s Image is an acrylic I finished last week, but I didn’t like it while I was painting it and still don't. Why? I'm pretty sure I was painting a pretty picture of some idealistic place for someone else—it’s bland, at best, and probably a waste of time.

Next time you go to an art museum or an art gallery or see art on an art blog, think about the artist. Did they like what they were painting? Do you?

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