Archive for June 29th, 2021

Hopper/ Hard Work

Hopper - box-factory-gloucester 1928

Edward Hopper- Box Factory, Gloucester 1928

So many people say painting is fun. I don’t find it fun at all. It’s hard work for me.

–Edward Hopper

Boy, this sentiment from Hopper sure rings true this morning. I have never thought of painting as fun, at least in any way that I define fun. I mean, I have enjoyed painting. I have been gratified and fulfilled by it. I have learned and grown with it.

But fun?

Oh, there have been times when parts of it are fun. The interaction with people at openings and gallery talks, for example. Or with the folks who have taken workshops with me. There are usually lots of laughs and moments of real jo joy but even that fun is tempered with hard work and a certain amount of angst.

Right now, I am in the period between my two annual shows at the Principle Gallery and the West End Gallery. Every year, there is a lot of tension for me in finishing and reacting to one big show while painting and prepping for the next within a short time frame, usually about 6 weeks.

I have been doing this stress test for the last 21 years or so, so you would think I had it mastered. But the truth is that it never gets easier. In fact, it seems to get more difficult with each passing year. There are times of feeling creatively blocked which triggers a sense of panic because of the time limitations. Plus there are more downswings of mood in this intervening period, more anxiety and vivid imagery in my dreams at night, and even greater doubt ( if that’s possible) built up within myself that brings on a withering sense of fatigue.

I’ve done a lot of heavy manual labor in my life and this is a fatigue that rivals any felt at those times.

Certainly not my definition of fun. 

But inevitably, hard work and perseverance carries the day and I get through this period.

I know there are some out there who would say What’s the big deal? It’s just some guy smearing paint around. And they’re right in a way. This carries no more weight than any other thing done by anyone else. Nor is my job any harder or more important than most other jobs. Maybe in the end, it will turn out to be less important. Who knows for sure?

It’s just happens to be what I do. It’s the only thing I do relatively well.¬† Plus it pays the bills, fulfills my psychological¬† needs and keeps me somewhat isolated from the general public, which protects both parties involved.

It’s my thing so I take it seriously. I would be the same way if I was still waiting tables, selling cars or wheeling concrete.

But fun? Ask me tomorrow, maybe the answer will be different. Tomorrow might bring a whole new perspective including some actual fun.

But hard work is on the menu today. Eddie Hopper knows what I mean.

Hopper- queensborough-bridge 1913hopper-landscape

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