Friday, 3 July 2009

Something happened on the way from the cave!

Having fun with this landscape; being very impressionistic - why not, it is such a refreshing change from my usual art. A long way to go yet. Art for art's sake I think... 'though maybe I will do a whole series of paintings based on my location in Portugal. I must admit, I don't really enjoy having to use oils as they take so long to dry! I must get myself some of that 'chemical' that makes them dry quicker. I know that nowadays you can buy quick-drying oils, but finding them here in Portugal may be very difficult. In the UK finding them is easier - every art shop sells them. But alas - I will just have to make do with what I can get.

Oh, to be as fresh as Paul Cezanne - my favourite artist next to Vincent van Gogh and Monet. I don't really think I have yet developed my own style of painting, but this Santarem landscape is a good step in that direction. Just to paint from my soul and forget all I have learnt - that to me is the quest. I don't even think I have a favourite subject that I enjoy painting... I just enjoy creating art. Abstracts are fine I suppose, but I am not an artist who can spend his days that way... maybe I just get the satisfaction from having people enjoy my work. Anyone can paint - yes anyone! The problem arises when we compare ourselves to others... I find that destructive. Art should be totally subjective - just paint and to hell with the critics. It saddens me when I see, for example, a painting by Cezanne selling for over sixty million dollars - oh how he could have used that money during his lifetime. I see art today and think what?... a pile of bricks on the floor of the Tate, or some 'installation'... what ever happened to the human ability to just paint? Something happened along the way in our evolution in art - give me a painting by some caveman on a cave wall any day, compared to the crap (my personal view) in our 'modern' galleries. I do/can appreciate the 'technical' abilities of many artists today and in centuries gone by. A lot of my training in my younger years was in scientific and medical illustration... apart from graphic design of course. Yes I could paint or draw your heart, lungs or boil - like a photograph in fact, spending hours upon hours painting in every little detail... but now we have photography and that does the job in seconds - so why bother? In many ways, as I said earlier, I wish I could just forget that I ever saw another artist's work; then all my work would be from me alone and not influenced. Failing a complete brain transplant that would not be possible... like erasing a hard disc and starting from scratch! Maybe my 'gift' if we can call it that, is to paint animals all of my life... who can say? All I know is this... there is a part of me, deep down that craves art... just to paint! I remember quite clearly at 5 years old, in my infants class, painting a landscape and painting the sky meeting the horizon - my teacher asked me... "who told you to paint the sky like that" (instead of the usual - sky, gap, and then the ground!) I said "no one, that is how it is" - she did not believe me of course. I am fortunate enough now, to have earned my living over the past 30 years and more as a graphic designer... but I wonder just what my life would have turned out like if I had concentrated purely on my art. Or even, if I had accepted my first job offer, at secondary school - to become a Biology Technician for the school (my joint equal best subject at school then) or even passed my flight assessment exams to become an RAF fighter pilot at the age of 23. I have to thank my father for my career - my first job interview after leaving school at 16 was as a trainee cartographer for British Gypsum. They gave me, in the interview, some test - colour in some areas on a map with water colours. Hec! I had never even seen water colours at that age - at school all we had was those silly powder paints! I failed the test of course, so my father sent me straight to college, to study art and design. Five years then past and my design career began. So here I am now - 5o years old and still wanting to paint... still trying to find my own style from deep within. Will I ever find it? Well only you all can judge. I still believe a painting is far better than a photograph... oh, by the way, I also studied photography for two years - and typography, calligraphy and even product design - but it always comes full-circle back to art - must be the caveman in me!

The major difference to me, between painting a portrait of a dog/cat or person as opposed to a landscape is this... clients expect the portrait to look like the subject... (no problem) when it comes to my interpretation of a landscape - well, then it is my impression alone and that is where the fun is... even cavemen could enjoy that part... just recording what they felt and were impressed with. And they did not have to trot down to the local shop and purchase expensive paint or canvas - they managed with what they had to hand - brilliant!

1 comment:

  1. Robert, you do have a style and it is "joy from the soul" -- and your work is beautiful. You're only 50 and you're doing all this second-guessing yourself and your choices -- you might live twice that long or more. But I second-guess myself the same way (and I'm three years older, ha) I think the hardest thing of all for me to do consistently is to remove myself from others' expectations and just let the joy flow. I would love to see your people paintings when you do that -- only for you, paint the color splotches you see, not "features")... hope to see it! I know you can do it :)