Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Why I Paint

I could have titled this post, "Why We Paint" and have tried to expound on the myriad of reasons artists are driven to the easel, but I try very hard to write this blog from my perspective and personal experience and not speak for other artists, not make my statements too broad or make gross generalizations. I also try to be authentic and yet come from a practical standpoint. I'm a practical women!

My pathway to becoming a painter was a very straightforward one; I drew and painted as child and was encouraged to do it. I went to art school and became an illustrator, then painter. I never learned to do anything else as well as I learned to draw and paint. It's a very good thing that it worked out for me! But, there is really nothing else I'd rather do than paint. You can only paint when you are fully in the moment. It's just not really possible to do it unless you have fully stopped doing or thinking about anything else. This is what I love most about it. It is as close to meditation as I can usually get. I can't think of anything else that gives me as much pleasure, satisfaction, or is as intellectually and physically stimulating.

I greedy about it too. I'm super protective of the time I carve out to paint and probably have aggravated more than a few friends as a result. Painting takes time and is done for the most part by oneself. Painting is an intimate interaction with your subject, the materials, your mind, body and spirit. It is a search to find 'it"and yet you don't know what "it" is. This part is endlessly fascinating to me. I try to do it as often as I possibly can. Painting is a dance. For me the dance is not a quiet one, but a frenetic and chaotic one. Not a waltz or anything resembling a slow dance.This doesn't make it less pleasurable, in fact, for me it makes it all the more satisfying when I've done something of merit. People have all different styles of dancing, as they do painting! Mine is just kind of crazy!

My studio in the midst of a little work!

I have to make art. I remember very clearly a neighbor once asking why I worked so hard. I didn't say it to him, but I remember thinking "because I have to". It's part obsession and part passion. I feel fortunate to have such passion and desire to pursue a path.

For me being a painter is also a conundrum, because I also have to paint to make a living. As I said, I don't really know how to do anything else! Selling makes me beholden to the marketplace and some would say makes me less an artist and more a producer of a product. This may be the case, but over the years I've chosen to make a living making art, wanting to spend as much of my life as possible, devoted to the activities of drawing and painting. I am constantly reconciling my desire to paint what and how I want, with what I think I can bring to my collectors. Fortunately for me, I'm very happy painting many subjects in a variety of approaches. It keeps it fresh and interesting to me.

Bottom line; I paint because, at the end of the day, it's my happy place....Through the chaos, the  sometimes manic urge to paint, the messy, dirty mix of materials and the mental fatigue that follows, there is nothing I'd rather do!

I love to share my work with my students, collectors and art enthusiasts.The next best thing to painting, is talking about it!

Pastel on Wallis board 9x12

Pastel on Wallis board 9x12


Carol Lee Beckx said...

I so enjoyed reading this - you have managed to express exactly how I feel about painting. When I have a break from painting, usually not from choice, it's as though some vital part of me is missing.

It's also a relief to see your studio in happy chaos. I have to do a rush tidy up before my classes each week to undo some of the mayhem of the previous day,

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Takeyce said...

I couldn't have said it better, Marla. Well done.

SamArtDog said...

Good. Now I know that while I may be crazy, at least I'm not alone and crazy. In fact, it's an honor to be in the good company of people like you who love what you do so much that it's unquestionably right. High five.

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Catherine Saunier said...

Une réflexion sur le pourquoi peindre très interessante et très sensible ... merci

A reflection on why to paint very interesting and very sensitive thank you