I am after an art of equilibrium and purity, an art that neither unsettles nor confuses. I would like people who are weary, stressed and broken to find peace and tranquility as they look at my pictures.
I list Henri Matisse, the French painter who was at the forefront of modern painting at the beginning of the 20th century, as a favorite and an influence. It’s an odd pick because it is based not simply on the impact of his imagery. In reality, some of his work does nothing for me and brings little reaction. But there are pieces that do and when you couple these with his words on his art, his life’s ever evolving body of work and the fearlessness with which he approached his art- well, then there is an overall impact that is huge.
I find myself nodding in agreement often when I read his words, like the quote at the top here, which sums up what I have been trying to say about my own work for some time. His words shed a lot of light on his work for me, allow me to better see how he was seeing his own work which makes me appreciate it all the more as it changed over the course of his long career. Born in 1869, Matisse began painting in the early 1890’s and worked at his art until his death in 1954.
I use the term worked at this art because Matisse was not only a painter. As health problems hindered him, he turned to other forms of expression such as cutting forms out of paper. The image at the top, Jazz, and Blue Nude, shown here on the left, are two of his best known examples of the cut outs, both considered masterpieces of modern art. This ability to express himself fully through his art despite hardships is really inspiring as is the fearless way in which he approached his painting.
It is bold and sure, with human curves throughout. More about harmonizing color and simplifying form than capturing reality. It makes me want to pick up a loaded brush and just paint freely and easily. Let loose.
There’s a lot more to say about Matisse. It took me a while to see why he was so influential to so many artists but now that I can fully see the scope of his work, I now better understand and take his influence and inspiration with me.