I have noticed that the paintings and art that I make that I like the best are usually the very pieces that I do not really get much of a positive reaction about from other people. As much as I would like to not really care what other people think, I think it’s only natural that one does. It is not always the case, of course, but it happens often enough that it makes me scratch my head a bit. I have revealed this observation to my friend, Ted, recently. It almost always seems to be the case with his “favorites” of mine. Last night he was over and it happened once again with this painting:
This painting has just never really been a personal favorite. I will even admit that I did it in a terrible hurry (at least comparatively speaking) because I felt I needed just one more painting for a show I had last year. I was surprised when a cyber friend actually asked me about purchasing it. I was kind of stumped because on one hand I didn’t want to ask for much of anything for it because I simply didn’t like it. On the other hand, I feel that as far as pricing things go (and I abhor the whole process) that I should probably try and stick to whatever formula I have come up with and keep things relatively the same. So I gave her a price and it was too much for her. But, she wanted a print! And then once I sold one print, another in real life friend wanted a print. Go figure. My thoughts of painting over the whole thing left, because it seemed like that just wouldn’t be fair. However, now I am currently “stuck” with this painting that I don’t much care for. So last night… Ted sees it and is quite enamored with it. Really? So I direct his attention to this one:
I point out all the things I love about it, the things I laboriously slaved over, the thought behind the whole thing…. I pointed out the poem that I created in a “found poem” sort of way from an old dictionary….
He gave it his careful consideration and then said something to the effect of that though he appreciated the intense thought behind it, he preferred the first one. Then he went on to say that he had takend a creative writing class once upon a time and the same thing would happen with his prose. The class would love what he tossed off the cuff, and care nothing for the stuff that had meaning to him. He wondered if perhaps that was the way of the artist in general. The things that mean something to us are closest to our heart. The rest is just an exercise in figuring out the technical aspects of whatever our respective craft is. So therefore “the rest” is never given the same adulation. I have to tell you…I have never thought about it like that before, and I believe he is exactly right. Why have I never thought of it before like that? Do you know how freeing this idea is for me? This idea is especially true for me, I believe, because I have no rhyme or reason for what I paint. I paint from my mind and it is all an experiment. I am aware, almost painfully, that I am not “trained”. But, I also don’t want to be. I want my paintings to sing out my soul. Rightly or wrongly. I also think I know exactly what I am going to do with that painting that I don’t like much…. 😉