Thursday, March 5, 2009

Thoughts On Readying For The Economic Upswing, And Painting To Match The Sofa

I am into a book, Vincent By Himself, edited by Bruce Bernard. Technically, it's written by VanGogh, as it's really a compilation of his letters, interspersed with his paintings. In one of his many letters to brother Theo, I found a gem of a paragraph, which I'd like to share with you.

But first I would like to set it in present day context, because it really seemed to me as current today as it must have been when he wrote it. There have been many blogs written lately by artists planning to stay home from shows this summer, work on their art, hone up on their skills, study, maybe even create a new body of work, written as constructive, positive-outlook letters, by artists whose paintings aren't selling well in the current economy. Situations assessed, plans made for moving forward. Here's the paragraph:

"As to the the money value of my work, I do not pretend to anything less than that it would greatly astonish me if in time my work did not become just as saleable as that of others. (somebody's paintings aren't selling?) Of course I cannot tell whether that will happen now or later, but I think the surest way, which cannot fail, is to work from nature faithfully and energetically. (study?) Sooner or later feeling and love for nature meet a response from people who are interested in art. (prepare for the time when people are ready to buy art?) It is the painter's duty to be entirely absorbed by nature and to use all his intelligence to express sentiment in his work so that it becomes intelligible to other people. In my opinion working for the market is not exactly the right way: on the contrary, it means fooling art lovers. The true painters have not done this".-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I love how he added in that 'not working for the market' phrase in a letter regarding paintings not selling. Do you suppose by that we can assume he really didn't care what the decorator colors were for the coming season? Ha! No painting to match the sofa concerns at the VanGogh studio, I would say.

But for those of you artists out there, working hard to prepare for the time when people will buy your paintings, I say "way to go!" It would seem to be an exceedingly good time to progress your skills. And about Vincent's remarks as to the ideals of a true painter, he's probably just as right now as he was then. Don't just paint to get by, paint to get THERE.

Later, Cooper

oh wait, do you need some color for this post? Ha, in lazy mode today, I entered this same writing on my daily painting blog. There, I decided everybody needed Knowledge Found In Quiet Places. Here, I am quite sure we need a bona fide student. So here you are then, Tea And A Book At The Unicorn.

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