My artist’s journey has been a very long one as it began many years ago when I was a child. It has always been on my mind and for some unknown reason, it was triggered by something else I read a short while ago. And for another unknown reason, it just came back to me today. What a wonderful art journey it has been.
It is a beautiful, cold but sunny Friday, December something morning. Just a few days before Christmas, “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” – Andy Williams.
It’s way too cold and damp in my studio to paint nowadays. The studio is not well insulated so is very draughty this time of year. Small fan and space heaters aren’t doing the job, so it can be uncomfortable to spend 7 or 8 hours painting. My mind can’t concentrate when I’m cold.
However, I just can’t not (double negative!) paint, so I went back to smaller paintings rather than my preferred large creations. For a while, I have been painting on 1 x 1.6 metre unstretched canvases, which is an entirely different experience and a different art journey from the smaller paintings. It’s a different energy and a different artist’s journey.
Smaller paintings I can do inside the house where it’s a lot warmer. I can cover the entire dining table with a big sheet to avoid splashing paint on the table, worse still the carpet. I’m sure the wife wouldn’t forgive me if that happened. It feels like double standards, however, when she is spattering red paint everywhere when she is busy making Christmas artefacts to fundraise her latest project for children with special needs. She is also on the arty side, but usually, this side of her only makes an appearance once a year, when raising funds for the November and December Christmas markets.
So, I spend a great deal of my daytime painting – a new experience and a new artist journey with every painting. Each day is a unique artist’s journey into another dimension hard to put into words, but nothing else comes anywhere as close to this amazing experience.
“I found I could say things with colour and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way… things I had no words for.” – Georgia O’Keeffe.
This beautiful quote from a great artist perfectly summarises how I feel about my art journeys.
But this isn’t what I wanted to write about
Going back in time, art has been part of my life since I was a child, even though sometimes it was hidden or I just left it on the back burner.
Since I can remember, I was always interested in painting and calligraphy. It was something that came to me naturally and I’ve never found it difficult or particularly challenging to draw, paint or write in an artistic handwriting style. I also experienced Japanese calligraphy and the brush painting style when I visited Japan many years ago. Fascinating art and a great, albeit brief experience.
My family and teachers often commented on my artwork and some of my paintings were even hung across various locations at my school. Oddly, I never felt they were even my best work and always thought I had plenty of room for improvement.
I believe art is something that runs through your veins, it’s hereditary and it’s in my genes. Some of my extended family members were professional artists and calligraphers and that seems to have been passed down the generations.
My first foray into the world of art began with pencil drawings, sketching and painting watercolour figurative and landscapes. That was the beginning of my artist’s journey. Later, I became interested in photography but my destiny was abstract painting, more specifically, non-representational painting. There is a bit more about me on the ‘About’ page.
Enough of the sales pitch…
This isn’t what I wanted to write about
Most of my art readings take place in the evening and mainly continues to the late hours at night. The subjects are primarily:
- Great artists and their art journeys.
- The emotional powers of colour and shape particularly the influence on our moods. More specifically, abstract painting as possible stress and depression relief to help people with mental health issues.
- The true ability of non-representational art to connect with our innermost deeper spirit and how it leads to the ultimate freedom of expression and self-discovery.
I read a lot about Leonardo da Vinci, in my humble opinion, the greatest artist of all time. And in no particular order: Hilma af Klint, Michelangelo, Mary Cassatt, Johannes Vermeer, Vincent van Gogh, Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keeffe, Willem de Kooning, Tamara de Lempicka, Henry Matisse, Mark Rothko, and the list goes on.
These are just a few of the great artists of the Western world. But there are a lot more that are not as talked about, including East Asian, Indian, African and Middle Eastern artists. Chinese art such as pottery and sculpture, for example, go back to some 10,000 years ago.
Great artists’ fame and popularity came from one thing and one thing only. They believed in themselves, they believed in what they were doing. They were all passionate about their work.
Many great artists were outliers, who chose a path that was so unpredictable in many aspects. Yet, they continued persistently because of their passion and drive. That’s who they were.
Most artists go through a journey of many ups and downs. Sometimes the downs far exceed the ups. Even today with fantastic technology to facilitate so many different ways for artists to communicate their artworks, many artists face a stressful life. The opportunities and outcomes are unpredictable, financially unreliable and immensely vulnerable to changing market trends.
I firmly believe that most, if not all artists, live outside the norm and normal restrictions do not apply in their world. I know that for a fact, I can’t live with rules, restrictions and limitations to the imagination. Artists need to be liberal in their general outlook.
Most artists seem to have more access to their emotional powers, so perhaps being creative may lend oneself to being more emotional or does more emotional power lead to being more creative?
Creativity may look easy in a finished painting or a piece of artwork to the untrained eyes. But, I know that it takes great time and effort to develop and to complete. Most artists face hard labour, long hours, mental strain and sometimes occupational hazards. But they keep ongoing.
Suffering for art is not just a metaphor
I recently came across an inspiring story that demonstrates, in real life, the meaning of the sheer determination and the drive of an artist to navigate the many obstacles one might face in pursuing an artist’s journey, self-expression and self-discovery.
Swarez Art is a two-man successful art story, Ed and Adrian. Ed creates amazing abstract paintings using oil-based enamel paints. It is worth noting enamel paints and the solvents used to thin the paint contain hazardous fumes that can cause respiratory problems and various other issues. Inhaling the fumes can have serious effects on health, so Ed wears a respirator when he paints.
It is best to leave it for Ed to tell you his amazing story, “Believe in Yourself”.
But before I finish this article, this is what Ed had to say about Adrian: “The impossible comes as standard but if you want miracles I’ll need a couple of hours!”. That’s a fantastic way to describe a true friendship.
Note: I have no affiliation with Swarez Art, Ed or Adrian. Merely some appreciation of an artist’s journey would be nice.
Now, this is what I wanted to write about
Creating art is never an easy job. In fact, it isn’t a job it is a lifestyle. From ancient history to modern-day times, artists’ journeys are full of challenges. A simple example comes to my mind every time I think about the Cave Paintings located in France and Spain, dating back to pre-historic times. Imagine the hardship our ancient artistic ancestors went through to create these 40,000-year old works of art, that are now so famous all around the world.
I understand that not all of us like or will like art, but some appreciation of an artist’s journey would be nice.