There is always a story inside of us that is just waiting to be told. I wrote recently that you can’t paint without saying something through it.

Painting reveals our secrets the way our body language does. 

I don’t know how the story can bypass conscious thought, but it does, consistently. 

Maybe you meant can I tell when an image is contrived. To that, I would say yes.  Besides the knowledge that comes from the memory or experience of doing it, I can see an obvious difference in the finished composition. At least in my own creative output. 

When I can bypass the expectation, I’m left with something that almost feels like it was painted by someone else. What’s nice is when I admire their work!

Does any of this make sense?

Painting is physical as far as picking up a paintbrush and applying pigment to a surface, but it is far more cerebral and even recondite.  My subconscious just needs my hand to hold the brush or pencil. 

One approach is not better than the other. I love to see pleinair paintings that record the facts of a landscape. I’m a huge fan of portrait painting.  I just happen to be enjoying abstract painting now. And besides, they’re not mutually exclusive. You can record facts and even capture a likeness in an abstract work. I believe feelings are facts, too. 

Forty years ago or so, I read that someone asked Picasso why he painted a woman with two eyes on one side of her head. He asked if the person had a picture of his wife. He pulled out his wallet and showed Picasso a photograph, to which he responded “Is she so small?”

The point is that every painting, every photo is an abstraction. It’s a two dimensional representation of a three dimensional world. Furthermore, the more an image looks like the real thing, the more of a lie it is. The more it pretends to be something that it is not. 

Leave a Reply