Sunday, October 10, 2010

What To Paint

Drawing A Blank
 Think about it, is there really anything more sexy, exciting, thrilling, filled with more potential, yet daunting or even terrifying as a blank canvas?  It could be your next dud painting, or your next masterpiece!  I mean, come on: even the Mona Lisa started out as a blank canvas!  (Side note to the folks at the Louvre reading this--and you know who you are-- clean the damn painting!  Leonardo did not paint a tonalist painting.  We have grown accustomed to seeing it caked with hundreds of years of grime, soot, dirt and grease.  Undoubtedly, underneath all that lies a stunning, bold COL-ER-FUL painting that would take your breath away.  Don't believe me?  I submit the Sistine Chapel.  Look how beautiful it is now that it has been cleaned.  I rest my case.)

Right now I've finished a couple of projects so I'm caught in that purgatory of "what's next?"  And this is where want, desire and inspiration become confused.  Wanting to paint is like taking a nap because you're bored.  Your body will tell you when you need sleep.  Usually about three and a half minutes into Two And A Half Men-- but I digress... Yeah sure, I want to paint.  It's what I do.  Sometimes I think I'm the only one who knows it, but I paint every day.  It's my job.  But I've often found when I want to paint that I talk myself into doing a project that really doesn't have merit, and I soon lose all interest.  And there I stand, still wanting to paint, feeling like I need to paint, but wasting my time on a boring painting.  The missing ingredient was inspiration!  Inspiration is when you come up with an idea for a painting that overwhelmes you.  You want to drop everything you're doing and work on that painting!  You dream about it.  It is in your every thought.  It calls you, haunts you, takes over every moment of the day.  That's what inspiration is!

So how do I get inspired?  How do I not fall into that trap of mistaking desire for inspiration?  Here's my answer:...wait for it...wait for it...  No, really.  Wait for it.  Inspiration can't be forced. But that also doesn't mean you can do everything but art while waiting for your muse to strike.  As a matter of fact, I've found the more I immerse myself in art the sooner inspiration comes.  And by immersion I mean take a stroll through the internet for your favorite artists.  Read your favorite art books and magazines.  Hit your local art museum or art gallery.  Expose yourself.  You know what I mean.  Don't "take a break" from painting.  How many young students went back to school after they "took a break?"  The answer: Not all of them.  So keep sketching or taking photos.  Look at the colors of your surroundings.  Always think, "how would I paint that?"  If you keep your mind on art, and keep your channels open for inspiration, it'll come alot faster than if you try to find inspiration at the local mall or golf course.  Trust me, I've looked there. 

So, if you'll please excuse me, I have a blank canvas calling for me...

1 comment:

Susan Roux said...

Kevin you're so funny. I love your post! It won't be long before I send some people here. After awhile you can talk about artists here and everyone knows who you're talking about. You're going to love it!