My brain is like a sponge: wet with a lot of holes in it. But like a sponge, it only absorbs certain things. A sponge doesn't soak up a whole lot of sand. When I view art, I'm always trying to absorb ideas. A great interior scene? Ooh, I want to do that! A lovely seascape? I want to try that! A great landscape? I can't wait to give that a whirl! A spectacular nude? Uh... not so much. A nude is sand to my sponge. Now, don't get me wrong, I've nothing against nudes. As a matter of fact, some of my fondest memories involve nudes-- but that's neither here nor there... It's just that I've never really had a compelling need to paint them.
I love to play piano. I may not play well, but I devote some time to play it each and every day, and I've done that for over twenty years. (I play by ear, but most days it sounds like I play by left foot.) I also play guitar. I have three of them and they stare in silent jealousy at me when I'm at the keyboard. Months can go by before I pick one up and strum a few chords. (Just don't ask me to play F. I hate that chord!) Guitar is OK, but I have a need to play the piano every day. That's the ambivalence I feel about nudes. When I see a painting of a nude beautifully done by great artists like Jacob Collins:
|Young Woman In Bed by Jacob Collins 2004|
Or Daniel Maidman:
|Integrity by Daniel Maidman 2010|
I'm appreciative of their talents. When I see a Winslow Homer seascape, or a mysterious landscape by Andrew Wyeth I'm in awe.
Now, one can argue I don't do nudes because I'm lousy at them. True enough. But if I was truly inspired to paint them, I think I could do a lot better. I mean, ask yourself, are you really good at things you don't care to do?
So what inspires you to paint? To me, nothing stirs my soul like a wide open farmers field, maybe with some cows and a nice old barn. Ah...glorious! Or maybe the sea; twisting, swirling and pounding on the rocks of the Maine coast. Spectacular! A lobsterman hauling in his catch, a farmer plowing his field; these things fire me up and make me want to rush to the studio and get painting! And best of all?
I don't have to ask anyone to take off their clothes!