He is one of the UK's most successful artists. His beautiful paintings remind one of Pierre Bonnard with their striking colorist influences. He also has one of the coolest names in the art world. Sargy Mann. He is also blind.
Sargy Mann has been an artist his entire adult life. His blindness became permanent in 2005 when he was already an old man. I say old in an objective sense. When you watch the video below you will be amazed by his energy and capacity for work. Even if he he still had his eyesight his accomplishments would be remarkable. But as a blind man? Well it is nothing short of inspirational.
What really struck me though is when Sargy Mann tells us what happened when he approached his canvas for the first time after complete blindness set in. He explains that he could see the colors clearly. He knew what the painting was in front of him. The colors were vibrant. The shapes manifested in his mind's eye. He was painting and he was enthralled by it. Onlookers were amazed by the painting's beauty too.
This made me realise that when we talk about seeing like an artist we must see intuitively. We must not worry about the details. Like in a dream we know what we see even though we cannot describe every little detail of what we see. Yet we are in no doubt about what is before us or what we are experiencing. We lose so much when we rely only on our eyesight.
Of course Sargy Mann is also an inspiration for his tremendous spirit. His capacity for positive action despite his loss is remarkable. I shall keep it in mind the next time I am in a petulent mood. Get on with it and stop moaning. Remember Sargy Mann!
So take a moment to watch this artist live his art and take comfort knowing that we all are capable of much more. We all are so blessed with talent.
Below is a brilliant documentary by Sargy Mann's son Peter Mann.
You can find more time to paint. Here's Why and What you can do about it. No more excuses. You owe it to yourself so start painting today.
A regular plea from artists is for more time to paint. Even worse though is the large number of frustrated artists who cannot find the time to even begin painting. Many write to me and say that they wished there was more time to paint. The line is usually: "I would love paint but I just don't have the time". Sometimes I get a reason thrown in like ... because I get home from work and I am too busy/tired etc"
I get this because I have used these cliches many times. To be fair I have on occasion really been under the whip and painting time was impossible. Most times though I was full of it! Yes procrastination is part of our lives. Distraction is included and GOOD GRIEF are we distracted or what? This issue became such a problem for me that I took a few drastic measures. First I took my cell phone off contract and now I am back to good old pay-as-you-go with airtime only. No data! This means no beep for every email received. No time wasted checking on spam.
Next after much family debate we cancelled our TV cable service. Yup! No more hour or two wasted watching movie reruns everyday. The added plus is that with these two moves we all get less distracted, have more time for productive stuff and we save about R1000.00 per month! How awesome is that?
The thing is that these moves are very easy to get used to. The next issue is telling yourself self-defeating things like "I am so tired!" No we are seldom that tired after work. If there was a fun event waiting for us after work I know that we find the energy to go do it. The energy is always there unless we turn it off. This is when we have to decide on what we want from life. There is no other option. Time is finite for us mere mortals and it is running out.
There are troves of books devoted to time management. Has anyone ever found the time to finish one? Doubtful. If you find yourself wishing you could start painting, or any other worthwhile activity, please give yourself a break. Do it! Start and do not put it off. Do not blame others for stopping you. This is your call.
Oh and watch out for the other nasty trap. This involves rushing to the art store and spending a few grand on materials then never using them. Or enrolling for an art course and not starting or giving up. These moves will hurt your self-esteem. Recognise them and punch them out!
I know it can be tough breaking bad habits, but you can do it. It will be worth.
PS: Want to take an art course to help you get started? Sign up here and I will send you a big coupon for my course Learn To Paint With Impact.
Pastel painting is growing on me. Oils comes first of course, but I am painting with pastels more frequently now. I think it has something to do with their versatility. Much like oils pastels can be used and manipulated in so many ways. Whether you like hyper realism, impressionist or abstract work pastels have all bases covered.
I have started making a few short videos on basic pastel techniques with some tips thrown in here and there. The first one is about using watercolor paper instead of the more expensive and difficult to find pastel paper.
Look out for more pastel related videos over the next few months. If you want to receive updates please subscribe below. There is also my Facebook page for more news. Next time I will start a painting demo with pastels.
Until then enjoy your painting!
Artist have to market their work. This is a fact and their can be no complaints about this. We cannot rely on galleries alone. I can communicate to you though this blog and I value the independence that this gives me. I think artists enjoy this perk of modern life.
However there are many marketing "teachers" out there who keep on about how our art is a product. That artists must get over themselves and accept this reality. Somehow we must now regard our art as stuff to be sold like other goods.
Forgive me for saying this but that is total rubbish. If all goods are products to be marketed and sold then where is the art? Surely for something to be art it cannot be just a product churned out on the production line.
Perhaps the original item was art, but if it is copied and replicated over and over then these copies lose their appeal as art.
The above quote said it all for me. There is more to be valued in art than its efficacy as a product. Its ability to match the sofa or fill up that bit of dead space in the passage. A true collector will be moved by art for all that intangible qualities that come with the piece.
So too must the artist value his or her work as more than a product. The value of a painting is more than the paint and canvas. It is more than the price too although the price must be fair to artist and collector.
In the end I am grateful that art is very thing that makes us uniquely human. That has true value. It would be a pity to forget this.