Saturday, January 12, 2008

A little vision of summer

Here’s the latest finished work. (Sis up north, does this fowl look familiar to you? It should!) From a not-so-great photo I took on a visit: a wandering chicken on a lovely summer day, the kind of day when verdant grass begs you to lie on it (don’t do it! Beware chicken droppings!) The sort of balmy day that, when recalled, can make January and February almost bearable.

I am trying to not “overdo” my paintings of late. I can’t call myself an impressionist by any means, but I am leaning more and more in that direction. This is partly due to very real constraints on my time and availability for silly artistic endeavors, and it’s partly because if I try to paint when the boy is near, he really wants to “help” me with my work…but it’s also because I’m trying to force my hand to catch up to my brain. I’m becoming a lazy thinker—these days, I’m not interested in deep thoughts about pretty much anything—and I need to keep my eye roving in order to maintain a painting philosophy that’s consistent with the new, unfettered mindset.

I had an artist neighbor as a kid, and she commented more than once that a painting was never finished; you just had to know when to leave it alone. Claude Monet said something similar: “Whoever claims to have finished a canvas is terribly arrogant.” Both those folks were extremely talented artists, and I’ve come to realize that what they said is quite true. Not just about creating art, though.

You can say that, in a way, a big ol’ chunk of true wisdom consists of knowing when to leave something alone. A situation, a job, a neighborhood, a relationship that’s floundering, a chocolate cake that’s calling like a siren from your kitchen… Think how many headaches and heartaches you could have saved yourself if you’d known when to walk away. I know I can think of countless times I caused my own suffering. I wonder how many of us are flooded with examples of times when we overworked, overstayed, over-tried.

And because he has so many gems, here's a sprinkling of more great Monet quotes:

“A true painter can never be pleased with himself.”

“Each time I begin a canvas I hope to produce a masterpiece. I have every intention of it, and nothing comes out that way.”

“One day I am satisfied; the next day I find it all bad; still I hope that some day I will find some of them good.”

Pretty humble guy, for an artistic genius. At least that's my humble opinion. Einstein had some great quotes, too. I’ll try to dig those up for a future post.


Anonymous said...

I love it!! Its Phantom I think, I forget who is who except for my favorites. :)

I love the quotes by Monet. I love hearing great people say humble things, instead of the other way around, which is usually how it

Anonymous said...

Correction, that was Midnight. ha ha

Mel said...

now I know what to name it! thanks!

Anonymous said...

I wish I lived closer, Mel, and I would take one of your classes. I love your work!

Mel said...

thanks, chris h! that's nice to hear. I'll give a special class just for you at my house sometime! come on up, sister. there are two easels (three, actually) and I've got paints and brushes to share.