Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Revelation From a Quote

I've been regularly updating this blog for awhile now and I have a confession to make: It is incredibly difficult! Not the posting part, but the actual talking-about-my-art part. Some of my work is tied very specifically to a certain memory, event, or emotion. But the majority of it is simply a result of me doing what I love to do. I don't have a lot to say about these ones other than, "Look what I did!" But you, dear reader, deserve more than that. So I try, really try, to say something about each piece I post. Sometimes when I don't have much to say about a certain piece I feel bad. Like I'm cheating it out of something that makes it a little more complete. 

To some extent this is simply a product of our times. A hundred years ago... ten years ago even... an artist would make art and it would just be all on its own. If the artist was noticed at all, other people might talk about it, discuss its meaning, critique the composition, or verbally rip it to shreds. The artist might be called upon to answer a few questions, but they were not necessarily expected to do all the talking. With the advent of the internet, we are now called upon to do our own talking in order to get noticed enough that other people will talk, too. It's like skipping a step and going backward a few steps at the same time.

I came across a quote from the French poet Jean Cocteau today that really resonated with me: "An artist cannot talk about his art any more than a plant can discuss horticulture." All this stress over thinking of something noble, or at least coherent, to say about each completed painting finally makes sense! It's stressful because it feels unnatural and it feels unnatural because it IS. This is not to say I will be dropping the commentary from my blog. But I will be writing about artwork when it feels right for that piece, but not stress about it if there's not much to say. Sometimes, "Look what I did!" is really all there is.

Artwork above is a portrait of Jean Cocteau by Amadeo Modigliani.

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