Having asked “What is an Artist” in the last blog post, “What is Art” is the next question that begs to be asked. Here is one answer to that question – thanks to Robert Ederer: “[Art] can touch not just what exists but the potential of what can exist. It is also a reflection of the essence of something. A painting of a sunset is the feeling of the sunset. It is not the sunset; as a dance of joy is not joy but an expression of joy.” My own definition: “Art is a language. Good art is an expression of the artist’s dedicated skill to communicate their heartfelt responses of their chosen subject. Good art seems to always tug at the emotions.” Paul Cezanne: “A work of art that did not begin as emotion is nothing.” How about you? What is your definition of art?
I remember when a good friend was learning art and was very reluctant to apply the name ‘artist’ to themselves. My guess is that they saw the name artist as a bit of a pretentious title. Personally, I think that it is a title without glamour in that there are good artists and not as good artists, just like any other profession. Movies and media have tried to glorify artists because, well, it makes better press if someone is extraordinary. Artists have fed that image by purposely portrayed themselve as freaks because it gets them press; Klimt and Picasso come to mind. (Not saying they weren’t great artists too.) On the other hand, there are some exemplary artists out there, and when you look around even locally, there is a lot of wonderful original art out there. So what does it mean to me personally to be an artist? I push paint around on a canvas. I do this quite energetically and with much thought. I do not wait for the muse – I work hard at my art. I study the great artists who have gone before me. I am excited when I see my work improving; but one thing about being an artist, most of us don’t ever ‘arrive’ and that’s all right. There is always something new to try, and most of all, the next painting is hoped to express previously gained knowledge and experience and therefore to be better than all that went before. Demanding? Yes. Frustrating? At times. Exilarating? Frequently. Rewarding? – this comes in two forms. The reward of people liking your art, and the monetary reward of someone liking your art enough to buy it. The starving artist category? We try not to go there. However, in conclusion, I think that Whistler had it right, “art is a crazy business”. But I can’t imagine doing anything else.
I’ve watched some cool videos, over the past year or so, about people doing things like throwing a bucket of water in super cold weather and instantly it makes snow. Or, blowing bubbles that instantly freeze and make the nicest photos. Having observed these things, I made a mental note in case I wanted to try them. We have had minus 40 in Southern Ontario (with wind chill) at times for the past week or more. And… I have no inclination to take any buckets of water outside. It’s too cold!!! I think I’ll watch the videos again. Those people are crazy.
Saw the documentary “Rembrandt” last night – wow – it was wonderful. Nothing like seeing the details of a famous painting on a giant screen! This documentary is showing once more in March – check out Silvercity if you are in London.
On Valentines Day I always think of the incredible richness that love gives to life. Love of friends, love of children, love of family, love of animals, love of a partner, love of God. We are not perfect and love is not usually perfect either; except on store bought cards. So, embracing the mystery, I personally am rejoicing in the mixed up, messed up, beyond understanding love that I give and receive. Hoping that on this cold winter’s day, your heart too is warm with the richness of love, in some of its many different flavours.