Posts Tagged ‘Raphael’

GC Myers Worldshaker smStill affected by a lingering cold, I was struggling this morning to write about the new painting above, an 18″ by 18″ canvas titled Worldshaker.  I went back in the archives of the blog to look for inspiration and came across a term– native voice— I had used a few years back in a blog entry.

This particular blog entry used a Picasso quote– It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child — to describe my own decision years before to not follow tradition in my painting.  Instead I would try to paint in a way that would be as natural to me as breathing so that whatever came from my efforts would automatically have my idiosyncrasies and my fingerprints built into them as well as the unaffected honesty of a child’s vision.

Looking around the studio now at the canvasses, some finished and some in various states of progress,  that lean against any available wall space I can see that native voice very plainly.  Looking from piece to piece, I can see that each is very much imbued with my own voice, plain and simple.  No attempts to be anything other than what they are: a testament to one person’s existence.

And maybe that’s where this painting and its message enters the conversation.  Perhaps we all have the chance to shake the world in some way, even if only a small way,  if we can all dare to speak honestly with our own voice.  We think of change as a great sea tide but it often begins as a ripple of a thought uttered by a lone voice.

Let it be your voice.  Shake the world.

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It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.
–Pablo Picasso
This short sentence from Picasso is  one of my favorite quotes.  It both makes me smile whenever I hear it and brings to mind my own struggles with recognizing my own creative voice, something that used to be a real internal battle in the early formative years.  There was always a pull between the craft side, as might be represented by Raphael in Picasso’s quote, and the side where one paints naturally and intuitively, as the child might.
 I knew I would never paint like a Raphael.   I never cared to tie myself to any one tradition of painting and wanted the liberty of free expression, the ability to freely display emotion, even in the most mundane scene.  Wanted my own voice, preferring the colloquial over the classical. Kind of like wanting to sing like Woody Guthrie versus singing like Pavarotti.  For as beautiful as Pavarotti’s voice might be I found a quality in Guthrie’s voice and songs that spoke more directly to me.  Native simplicity I suppose it might be called.  Over the years, my voice has evolved and there are pieces where there is often a bit of this native simplicity in the work that really pleases me, makes me feel as though I am somewhat painting in the way a child might.  Or at least in a way that might speak as well to children as it did to adults.
The piece shown here is such an example.  A 10″ by 30″ canvas, it is an extension of the work I have done recently, work that I have called internal landscapes.  Called Native Rise, it is painted very intuitively and speaks plainly.  It has an attractive harmony in its elements that lets it speak easily and be asorbed quickly – if you like this sort of voice.  For me, I see this piece as being very symbolic of my true voice,  how I see and express the world as I internalize it.  It is painted easily and in my own voice.   And like my own voice, it is far from perfect but tries to speak plainly.  And truthfully as to how I see my world.
At least, that’s the way I see it   It’s funny how much more difficult it is to describe  with words my own native painting voice, something that comes so easily on the canvas.  Perhaps one shouldn’t try…

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