Monday, October 22, 2018

Why do you paint that way? (and our influences)

30x40 oil on linen
At the Metropolitan Museum of Art there is an exhibition of Eugene Delacroix's (1798-1863) work. He is not on my top ten list of  favorite painters but still I felt that it is a must see exhibit. After viewing his impressive paintings I began reading more about him.
In my reading, the one quote that struck me was, "A great number of talented artists have never done anything worthwhile because they surrounded themselves with a mass of prejudices, or had prejudices thrust upon them by the fashion of the movement." And that was say in the 1800s! That quote made me think. Why do I choose the way I paint? Why do you choose the way you paint? Is it to conform to an idea of what we should be doing ... studio, plein air, abstract or realism... or is it because it defines YOU, the painter you are and how you think?
This can only bring us to the influence of Instagram and Facebook upon what we do. I compare Instagram and FB to a marvelous chocolate shop... so many good, yummy works. Which do I want? (Or which do I want to be like?) Does it help us to look? Or would we be better off carefully selecting our influences like we do our friends? Choosing to spend time looking through museums or reading a great art book? As you can tell, it's my dilemma too. I give them up and go back (like chocolate.) Do we need to break the spell?
The thought that pops in my head-
Our painting life is precious. Be careful with whom you choose to associate.

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