Archive for June 26th, 2012

I think I’m in a really good groove at the moment.  I’ve talked a lot over the years about being in a sort of rhythm when painting, when everything begins to flow spontaneously and easily.  I often am emotionally engaged by the work produced during these times, excited to find something new and stimulating in the familiar landscapes of my artistic vocabulary.  It makes me glad that painting found me.  Or vice versa.  That’s how it’s been the last few weeks.  It reminded me of a post, The Need to Paint.  from a few years back that I thought I would rerun today:

I wrote a few days ago about how I am often mystified by the meanings of my paintings and how I this makes me glad that I still have the need to paint. 

I thought about that after I hit the button to publish that post. I have often heard artists say they had to paint, as though it were some sort of exotic medical quandary. 

Paint or die. 

It always kind of bothered me when I heard this, as though these guys were saying they had some sort of predestined calling. Like they were prophets or shamans that the world, without their visionary paintings, would spin out of control. It just always sounded a little pompous to me. 

So when I wrote that it made me twitch a bit. Maybe I’m the pompous ass here. It certainly is in the realm of possibility. 

But I find myself kind of standing behind what I said. I do need to paint. It’s not some call to destiny. It’s not to transmit some psychic message to the world. It’s more a case of me needing have a form of expression that best suits my mind and abilities. Painting just happens to fill that need. If I could yodel, I might be saying I need to yodel. 

But I need to paint. 

I need to paint to try to express things I certainly can’t put in words, things that awe and mystify me. I need to paint to have a means to a voice. 

I need to paint just to remind myself that I am alive and still have the ability to feel the excitement and joy from something that I have created. I need to paint to feel the surprise of exceeding what I felt was within me, to go into that realm of personal mystery within and emerge with something new. I need to paint because it has given me the closest thing I know to answers to the questions I have. 

I need to paint because it is one of the few things that I’ve done fairly well in my life. 

Would I die? 


I’d adapt and find something new but it would be hard to find something that would suit me as well. So I guess I do need to paint after all. Call me a pompous ass. I don’t give a damn- I’ve got work to do.


The painting at the top is titled  Knowingness, an 18″ by 26″ painting on paper, which is part of my upcoming West End Gallery show, opening July 20.

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