The other day I watched a short video about Jim Carey and his passion for painting. It got me thinking. Watching this comedian turned artist it was clear that he is passionate about his work. He talked about what painting did for him in helping him to work through some 'stuff'. Viewing the large paintings I could see a lot of emotion and expression. His style might not be my cup of tea, but he clearly has some skills. Then I thought about all of the artists I have spoken to who say they find healing of emotions and spirit through their painting. This is why many people paint or participate in other disciplines of art. 'Art as self therapy'. It can be a good motivator.
As I continued to ponder the Jim Carey video I thought about another type of artist. The ones who paint because they feel they have something to say. Something to get off their chest. It could be political angst, a social issue, a strong belief, or anything that might be bothering them and they think the world needs to know about it. This can be an effective way to spread ones message in a provocative way. Let's call this one 'Art as a soap box'.
It's interesting to me that with type one and two it's all about the artist, and what the artist needs. The third type differs in that these artists paint not to heal themselves necessarily, although it could be a bi-product. And not to make a point or make the viewers think, though a well executed painting will often elicit a thoughtful response. The third artist paints mostly for others. She strives to create something others will enjoy and find beautiful. The subject isn't as important as how it is depicted. A rusty, old truck with sunlight hitting it just right, a shady glen, a powerful surf, a moody still life, a figure, or portrait in chiaroscuro all can be equally enthralling. So what do we call this one? Since I aspire to put myself in this group, I'm having a hard time naming it. So I ask myself, 'what is my motivation? why do I paint?'.
I paint because God has given us a beautiful home here on planet earth. Each day provides a variety of lighting options, endless vistas, and unique views. Yes, there is certainly ugliness too as we can watch ad nauseum on the nightly news, but just for a few moments each day lets look for beauty. Beauty feeds our souls. We need it like air to breathe, or fresh water to drink. So about that name for this third reason... how about 'Art to refresh a weary world'. That's what I'm looking for when I view art and that is what I want my paintings to do for others. It's a lot to ask for in a painting, but there are many contemporary artists creating works today that refresh us and feed us. How about you go find some now and take a good long drink. Isn't that refreshing?!
Have you fed your soul today?
All for now,
Are you a painter? Why do you paint?
Are you a collector? Why do you collect?