Archive for June 11th, 2013

Artist Charles Felu Photo by J. MaesThis is sort a continuation of yesterday’s post where I was going back through images of my older work  in the aftermath of a show, something I often find necessary in order to find some balance and assurance that I am still connected to my true self .  I think the idea of connection is probably the important part here as sometimes I often feel a bit disconnected after a show, which I know sounds counter-intuitive. You would think the feeling of connection would be at its highest degree.

Besides scanning my old work, another thing I do to find connection is to go through other images as well, either of other artist’s work  or the artists themselves and their environments.  In their work I am  looking for a voice or expression in their work that is similar to my own, as though finding this common ground will somehow bind me to the greater continuum of  artists.  The same holds true for seeing artists in their studios or at work.  The common experience of creating provides a connection that makes me feel less out of the loop.

In doing so, I often come across interesting images that provoke thought and,occasionally, new directions.  For example, one image that caught my eye is the one above of Belgian painter Charles Felu, who was born without arms and painted with his feet, working in the last half of the 19th century.  Seeing this connects me to that need to express oneself, that driving  force  that has kept me pushing ahead for most of my life.  So many people have overcome  great obstacles to have their voices heard that it makes me grateful that my own obstacles are relatively small and easily overcome.

Artist Georges Braques in Paris studio 1948Sometimes, there is inspiration for new work in these photos.  For instance, when I saw this photo of Georges Braques, the Cubist innovator whose quote– There is only one valuable thing in art: the thing you cannot explain— was a rallying cry in my first efforts as a painter, I was taken not so much by the man or his studio but by the smaller framed piece to the left of his feet and the shield-like piece on the wall to his right.  Just a glimpse at both had my wheels instantly turning, the shapes and flow of these pieces translating into my own vocabulary. Instant inspiration.

Artist in Japan by T. Enami ca 1915-1928Another was this colorized image of a Japanese artist at work in the early part of the last century.  There is a great serenity in the space,  in his pose and even in the elegant manner in which his work tools and materials are arranged.  The beautiful cooper pot of water feels like a meditative pool here instead of merely a place to clean your brush.   It has an immediate calming effect on me, something that is often needed in the days after a show as I struggle to regain my footing.

Even as I am writing this, I am feeling the effects of these images, beginning to feel a connection once again.  I feel a bit of inspiration and calm, both greatly needed for me to create.  This is already turning into a good morning.

Got to go…

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