Mainly I just paint what I paint
As it was, I had been away from my easel for about six months, so I decided it was high time to grab the brushes and acrylics, and get to work. I do that with painting. I paint – and I love it – and then I stop painting (for no apparent reason), and leave it alone for varying periods of time. The longest I went without picking up a brush was about nine years. I could say I was seeking inspiration during that time, but the truth was, life intervened and ‘real life’ antithetical to a painters work, mainly because he or she is only working in representations of life, not the real thing. When Van Gogh cut off his ear, I believe it was a matter of confusing the two. You know, you might think that cutting off your ear would bring your ladylove into your arms, but to actually act on the impulse is really excessive. Also, such silly acts rarely attract babes, and you’re going to be stuck with wearing lopsided glasses for the rest of your life.
I also think that this confusion between art and life is what led Picasso to mainly paint, drink coffee in bistros, and screw. Real people leading real lives don’t get much time to do such things. So, Picasso was confusing art and life, too. But, after he was famous, nobody had the balls to tell him.
Anyway, I don’t think I am a particularly marvellous painter. I do it because I enjoy it immensely, and it satisfies another part of any creative impulse I might have. Writing is what I ‘do’. I mean, I write such things as this blog for creative pleasure and to exercise whatever skills I posses, but mainly writing is my job. Not necessarily a lucrative job, but it is one that has come to me and it’s not as messy or claustrophobic as working down in a mine.
No, I am probably not a fine painter, and never will be. But, what is freeing for me is that I don’t care. In my writing, I care. But, with painting I am just happy to mix up paints, seek some inspiration from a photo I’ve taken, or from some other source, and go to it. It allows me to play God momentarily in that the end result of my efforts is what I want it to be. I’m not totally without vanity in this. I love to get compliments, but that is not my objective.
I’ve never taken an art lesson in my life. I’ve thought about it, and I even did make an inquiry of a local artist whose work I admire. He declined and said that he hated teaching, so wouldn’t do it. I was relieved. The reason I’ve never taken any lessons is because I fear finding out that everything I’m doing is wrong. Part of that is being male and males hate taking advice from anyone, and part of it is that if I find out what I am doing is wrong, then it will remove the pleasure. I’ll become self-conscious and will eventually give it up. I don’t want to give it up, and that’s why I don’t want to take any lessons.
It was like when my ex (and late) father-in-law decided he was going to teach me the finer points of golf. I had puttered around on golf courses for a couple of years; doing badly, but quite enjoying the exercise and fresh air in an otherwise perfectly pointless and silly recreational endeavor – in my esteem, sorry golfers. Anyway, my FIL was an avid golfer. He was also an asshole, but that is another matter entirely. I once asked his brother-in-law if FIL was actually any good. “No,” was his terse reply, “But he thinks he is.”
Anyway, right at the first tee, FIL told me that everything was wrong, from my stance, to my swing, to probably the shirt I was wearing. He then proceeded to ‘guide’ me. From there my lousy game went to absolute shit. He also took so much pleasure from what I was doing that our few hours on the links were miserable, and the displeasure wasn’t even eased by a couple of cool ones at the 19th Hole. After that day, I never golfed again.
And that’s why I don’t take art lessons. I’m afraid I might never paint again.
Note: I think I might have run my painting of this 13th Century Norfolk, England church once before. If so, I apologize for being redundant.