Wednesday, May 9

Painters, Accept Your Own Unique Talent

Acrylic on Canvas
Copyright 2008

Last night I finished reading a book about Vincent Van Gogh. Like many who have studied a little art history, I knew something about his life and work. There has been so much written and discussed about Van Gogh over the last century, that finding something new in his story was unexpected.

 Van Gogh’s life and paintings, along with those of Monet, Picasso, and several others have, in my humble opinion, become celebrated to the extreme, way more than was ever acknowledged during their lifetimes. It’s the bane of artists throughout art history: you don’t usually gain your greatest acclaim until after your death, and any wealth that comes from that celebrity goes to others.

So be it.

What I realized that I previously had not is that, as a painter, you must not only believe and have faith in the ultimate likeability of your work, you must also accept your artistic talent for what it is, yours and yours alone.

Van Gogh never seemed to give up on his work. He kept going under all kinds of hardship, including monetary, familial, and mental.

Van Gogh's paintings and his style of painting were and are unique and unmistakable. He didn't appear to question what art critics or other artists thought of his work or style of painting.

In his own words to family, friends, and acquaintances, Van Gogh simply stated what he had painted and described the composition and rendering of his paintings. He seemed to be secure in his ability to paint what he saw in his own unique style without question.

Ironically, in the last year or so of his troubled life he produced his greatest work.

My take-away is this: a unique style must not be evaluated, it must be embraced. Be secure in your talent, as Van Gogh was, and accept it as your own. 

Keep On Painting 

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