Yeah, what he said!

I go about every Sunday and read the art mags at Barnes and Noble while I consume a coffee of some kind. Yeah I know, that’s taking advantage, but as it stands it’s still the best art education I can get. I get a pretty good idea, as I use and peruse, what America seems to think is good painting and I am able to keep tabs on folks I know and the opinions of folks I don’t. Last week I picked up a magazine that seemed to feature article after article on what it is to be the artist with “something to say”.

The idea was that every successful painting begins with feeling (the artists, about something), and that leads to so and so artist having something to say. And of course having something to say leads to greater understanding by the viewer and that is what makes a successful painting successful. Or something like that.

So…   how in the world do we know what it is an artist meant to say? I mean really know. In a word we don’t.   🙂    Unless the guy/girl sits us down and explains in some understandable way just what the message is. And it’s even worse, for me at least, when it comes to abstract work but we’ll save that idea for later. For now, I just wonder how important it  is I  to have something to “say”. Or perhaps more to the point, how complicated does this have to be?

Now here’s a painting I finished a few days ago. Let’s get right to it and see what that “feeling” was or was not, why was I driven to paint this particular scene,  and how all that translates to whether or not it’s a successful piece.

Okay, get this. I was drawn to this particular scene because bla bla bla etherial bla bla bla spiritual and then intellectual pursuit and lofty lofty this and that!! Huh? What the heck was that? But we’ve all heard it! Some fella laying it on so thick you just want to stick your finger down your throat and gag a little.

So let’s try an approach that’s a little less offensive to OUR intellect. Let’s just say maybe I was  drawn to the blue in those shadows. Or…lets say the contrast between what lay in the shadows and what lay in the light was intriguing. Maybe the texture in the rocks strewn about the road was more than I could pass up. Too, it could have been the cool morning and and the feel of the morning air on my skin. Maybe I just love to get into the paint and smear it and play with it and try to make sense of what’s in front of me in the process. Could be what I have to say is as simple as “Man you should have been with me that morning”.

How does anyone know all or any of that though unless I tell them.

They don’t.

That’s why it’s up to the folks looking to decide why they like this painting. (to heck with a bunch of my ideas) Is it the contrast between light and shadow? Texture? The feel of the morning? Color? It goes with the drapes? All of the above? None of the above? I guess I have my reasons for painting this one and the viewers, if they like it, will like it for their reasons. How much more perfect could a relationship be? For me, I’m into contrast, always have been. Then again, isn’t EVERYTHING about contrast? Is this a successful piece? Not particularly. Not at least, as I figure it, until someone besides me sees it.



6 Responses to “Yeah, what he said!”

  1. Oh Eldon. I really like this painting. I think it is because of the blah blah and color on the road. Surely the people there uplift me in a spiritual blah blah blah and from a theoretical viewpoint, the blah and blah are understandable and etc. I hate that blarney. Art dilletantes bore me to death. I agree with your thoughts. You either like a painting or you dont. Simple thing (It may even go with the new paint job in the living room and the color of the drapes. LOLOLOL. I like the work because of the colors and where the eye leads me. Plus it is peaceful.
    Your explanations let me laugh, my friend. I love it.


  2. Love the painting – that is all that matters – to me.
    The bla, bla, bla is for folks that have to justify why.

  3. Vicki Barton Says:

    I’m with Coni. If I think too much about the whys of painting there is no more time to paint! Just be Eldon and paint what you paint! Flowers are still waiting. Vicki

  4. Hi Eldon,

    What a fine painting, and fine piece of writing. Part of the reason we paint something is that that’s how we describe it — in colour and light. We want to capture it. I so know what you mean. I have some trouble talking about my
    “ouevre” . Is it an ouevre or art? Does art have to be connected to a deep rationale, or is it like you should have been with me that morning? That made me laugh, because I think most of the time it’s just that. Man the light on that girl’s face I had to get it. Or you just should have seen those oranges in that bowl, or that Iris in the sun — I had to get it. Right on.

    Come to think of it that is a deep reason for painting — a feeling of wonder, a need to express that wonder, a desire to record it, and translate it. I know I wouldn’t have really seen that particular blue on your road in your painting. I am seeing it through your eyes and artistic expression. And that’s what I want.

    OMG there’s quite a bit of bla bla bla here from me. Forgive me. Great painting and great post.

    Take care,


  5. Yea I like it! and that is all that matters to me! and I know the artisit so that does make it more special. I do like it!

  6. I have sent 2 e-mails to you and just realized I had sent them to your Art site. Perhaps you dont check that very often? Anyway, this is one below is what I sent yesterday. Let me know if I am right.

    Read your blog this morn. I agree. Some art makes no sense to a visitor but does it have to? Many abstracts are ‘interpreted’ differently by different people. It is what you see in any painting that makes it. For me, ‘colorful’ and ‘soft’ fits, most of the time.

    Hope you are doing well and making lots of money. How goes the book reading? Hope you are enjoying it…Bill

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