Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Twinkle In Your Eye (oil on canvas, 2017)

Painting is a solitary endeavor.

I enjoy being around people and I am extremely fortunate to have so many amazing, wonderful and unique people in my life – family members, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances who inspire and challenge me and enable me to see the world from a different perspective – but I spend the majority of my time alone. The gestation of art requires this. In addition to all of the actual work involved in the intensely focused process of making art, I spend a lot of time simply being alert for inspiration, which requires presence, awareness, and mental stillness, all of which I find nearly impossible to achieve when engaged with other people. I need the quiet and solitude, which is probably what draws me to other solitary activities such as long walks on backroads or wooded trails, long-distance running, cycling and swimming, and meditation. I believe that it is imperitive that anyone who is going to make art be comfortable with who they are because only through authenticity can originality be acheived. What better way to learn to like who you are than to spend time alone?

Yet the act of making art often (if not always) stems from a need to communicate and to share. Any attempt to manifest our ideas, thoughts, feelings, passions and stories as visual form originates from a desire to impart those ideas, thoughts, feelings, passions and stories to other people – friends and strangers alike. Otherwise, why make the effort? Why spend so much time and energy learning the craft and struggling to bring the work to fruition, often in the face of a plethora of failures and only to be met with indifference, if there isn't a deep-seated need to reach other people?

So, for those of us in the sometimes unenviable position of being artists, our need to connect with others paradoxically necessitates us spending a great deal of our time alone.