Sunday, 24 January 2010

Why did Bonnard paint ... and what's personality got to do with it?

"What attracted me was less art itself than the artist's life and all that it meant for me: the idea of creativity and freedom of expression and action. I had been attracted to painting and drawing for a long time, but it was not an irresistible passion; what I wanted, at all costs, was to escape the monotony of life."


So, I've been thinking about why I started painting so much in the last year, and why my paintings come out the way they do? How does this happen?

I've read recently that an artists personal style is about personality, and I have recognized from the artists I have met after knowing their work first and then finding out what they are like as people, or seeing something of the way they live, that this is true. There may be some exceptions to the rule, but for example, an fastideously tidy person in daily life will probably paint or make things with exact precision.
My own style, well something is happening, whether it is a proper style is yet to be seen, as you can see from this blog...(does anyone read this blog anyway?) Here are some words off the top of my head to describe my own painting style at present; loose, watery, messy, confused, thoughtful, gentle, abrupt, sometimes uptight, colourful, flowing, hurried, overworked, layered, blurred, spontaneous, energetic, quiet. I  could go on, but without analysing things too much, those words also kind of describe how I feel, me, I wonder if anyone who knows me would agree?

So what is being an artist about then? Is it about being free to express your personality through your art? We are who we are at the end of the day. Individual, different, and complex as nature intended.  Freedom is necessary for us to be who we are, and is crucial in order that we can express our thoughts or feelings or experiences of who we are, or what we feel about the world. In order to let creative works emerge, we must banish the sorts of negativity that inhibits our creative flow and substitute it for constructive criticism. If we don't feel free to express ourselves - or make mistakes, we cannot grow as individuals and then what happens to the creative tendancies?

A note about my own work. I don't always really like what I've painted, but find the results more interesting than anything else. When I started to paint I would tell myself as long as I could find something small in each painting I liked then I was doing o.k. This was largely for encouraging technical ability. Now, there will be days when 2 paintings could have very different styles, and I would wonder why that happens. When I was at University studying Contemporary Arts, I had numerous projects based around the personality, personas and the psyche, this subject fascinated me. Maybe different personas come through more in one painting than another. There must be a subconscious process happening, alongside the physical activity of mark making that results in the artwork itself. As we can't say what we want to with words alone, these are the results of being in the moment with the landscape, my feelings and my life experiences, speaking my own language through paint and paper. An illusive visual conversation with myself be continued I think.

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