Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Whatever Floats Your Boat

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!



Nora Kasten said...

Kevin, you always make me chuckle when I read your blog and believe me I need that. Piano playing is again part of my life now too and we are really fortunate to have that. I bet you're singing too . . . . Nora

Virginia Floyd said...

The reflections of the water on the side of the boat, and the reflection of the boat in the water are awesome!

But it doesn't make me want to rush out and paint it. I'm just glad that you did!

At the moment, I'm in love with still life paintings. I love to look at them up close and observe the brush strokes and marvel at how the artist did that! Maybe I'll love something else in addition in a few years. But right now, show me those apples!

Jennifer Wadsworth said...

I'm inspired by everything natural, but I play with paint and see what image I can create. I collect other artist's work, for the energy and thoughts provoked. Art is inspiring. I am a fan of life drawing, for the practice and social aspect of being with other artists. I love nudes, but don't get excited about painting them. Realistic ones anyway. Paint on! Lovely piece. Love your blog!