I feel inspired again. The kind of inspiration that gets you out of bed and rushing off to try something new. It is easy to lose this spark until you notice it missing one day. That is the day you feel that time is leaving you behind. That is the time to take action. There is only now.
When I come out of these moments of sleepwalking and become aware of my day again, I realise that I only have a few moments in a day. Moments when I am free to create something new. To come up with ideas then put them into action. Most of my day is filled with busyness. Chasing chores and administration of some sort or another. Enough of that!
Turn off the phone. Put aside the social updates for a few hours. Switch off the TV and the absurd reality shows. Talk to someone face-to-face. Use your hands to make something. Breathe deeply.
Once the calmness returns I realise how much I have to be grateful for. I look at my walls and see the paintings. I dust off the frames. Take another look across the room and relive that moment. The moment when the idea for the painting emerged and took shape on my easel with so much ease. That is the moment of peace and renewal of energy.
I know that living without art is impossible.
Once art and the energy it brings is accepted into your life can you part with it?
Here is to living with art. May it continue always.
Plein air painting is a real treat for me. This week I had some time to visit a spot called Mermaid's Pool in East London. I enjoy painting there because of the dramatic rocks, clear pools and various viewpoints to choose from. On this occasion the tide was up so the clear pools were missing, but it was still a good challenge to make something out of the scene.
I choose to paint beauty.
It takes courage to purchase art. No matter the price. It is all relative anyway. To stump up with your money and and say "I want that painting". Then to hand over your card, cash or click through the purchase takes a certain belief in something other than utility. Something bigger than a mere necessity.
What is the elusive quality that makes us stop and stare at a work of art. The great pieces compel us to look countless times and still we get something back. A buzz of pleasure, nostalgia perhaps or serenity. There is no begrudging the purchase then. What is obtained is a not merely tangible. It is simply more and in this case more is good.
It is said that artists should know what their collectors want. Well lets say that in market-speak one should know what your customer wants or you will not have a clue what to sell. Does this apply to art? Should an artist ponder what collectors are looking for and trim and tuck the work to meet this belief? It is easy to answer in the affirmative, but what then? Creativity must run free.
Beauty is one of the rare things that do not lead to doubt of God.
I recently watched the movie Amadeus. You may remember this Oscar winning movie from 1984 about Mozart and his nemesis, Salieri. I saw the film back then, but wanted to see it again after all these years. It is still superb. Mozart is of course a genius and an artist in the true sense of the word.
Mozart was consumed by a passion for creating profoundly beatiful music. He was also driven to live life fully. Despite being surrounded by ugliness such as poverty and war he sought out every opportunity to compose music and to live his life with joy. Did his music solve the problems of the day? Did his music boost the economy and lead to peace in Europe? No.
What about becoming rich? Money was never Mozart's motivation. Music was his purpose and he shared his gift wholeheartedly.
How does this help us understand what collectors want from art? I suspect that it comes down to beauty and escape. The more we are confronted by a world gone mad the more we need to be reminded of it's beauty, creativity and the human potential for good. Art is part of the evidence that humans can do good work. Collectors share this communion with artists.
So what is art good for? For reminding us that creating something beautiful is a divine gift that must be shared with the world. It takes courage and understanding to acknowledge this. Only fear and ignorance can stop us.