May 12, 2010

Art from the Heart Picassos words

Years ago I had a good friend who was a wonderful artist, we would get together in each others studios and spend the day just painting and talking about painting. As the time went on she started getting into juried shows and winning some prizes. She was happy about it but one time she said that she just didn’t like what she was painting, she felt like she had been painting all her life for someone other than herself. First to sell her work, and then to win the awards and get into exhibits.
Selling meant she had to do something that would appeal to a lot of people, the question was always; would what she was doing be of interest? It didn’t matter if she liked what she was doing, it only mattered it ‘they’ who ever “they’ were liked it. She got so she could crank out a painting a day…then when she started entering shows she had to paint what she thought the Jurors would like.

I remember one day in particular that she and I were in her studio and she looked at a painting she had just finished, and said, “ I hate this painting, it isn’t me, it has no part of me in it, I painted it just to sell it, what am I doing?

This stuck with me and eventually I found myself in the same situation. I was in galleries and I was selling a particular style of southwestern still-life, they were selling very well and at first I absolutely loved to paint them but the more I painted the same thing the more I started getting tired and bored with what I was doing. It was a “job” nothing more.

There is a part of every artist that shines when they are painting what they love. It shows in their art, it shows in how they act. If they like what they are painting then they feel truly fulfilled.

No matter the reason we all paint should first be for ourselves. Then and only then we will be doing our best work. No one should ever dictate what or how we paint, it is a very personal issue.

I would like to share something with you I found years ago.

The surprising confessions of Modern art.

Picasso who is widely acclaimed to be “the greatest artist of modern times” has stated:

“ Most people can today no longer expect to receive consolation from art. The refined, the rich, the professional do-nothings, the distiller of quintessence ( art critics) desire only the peculiar, the sensational, the eccentric, the scandalous in today’s art. And I myself, since the advent of cubism, have fed these fellows what they wanted, and satisfied these critics with all the ridiculous ideas that have passed through my head.

The less they understood them, the more they admired me. Through amusing myself with all these absurd farces, I became celebrated….But when I am alone, I do not have the effrontery to consider myself an artist at all, not in the grand old meaning of the word; Giotto, Titian, Rembrandt and Goya, they were great painters. I am only a public clown. I have understood my time and have exploited the imbecility, the vanity, the greed of my contemporaries. It is a bitter confession of mine, more painful than it may seem, but at least and at last it does have merit of being honest.

Picasso’s confession to Giovanni Papin
Nov. 1951 “New Dogs Diary”

Similar comments were repeated by Picasso in 1952.
How sad the he did this. I have seen some of early realistic work and it was so good! People still think his work is great and put him on a pedestal for art that he thought was ridiculous. He painted for other people leaving him with a feeling of disgust for himself calling himself a “clown.”

What we all need to learn from this is how important it is to do our art for the sake of the love of it! Only paint what you absolutely love, only paint for yourself and if you do it will be reflected in your work and it will be fun!

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