Thursday, May 24, 2012

2) Portrait of A Painter

Seeing things clearly is not what an artist really does. He is not a camera. Rather, it is the adventure of yoking variables together that marks him apart, makes him unique, for each brush stroke, like others' fingerprints, becomes a rendition solely manufactured by him. Ugly word that, manufactured. It has the sound of repetition and multiplicity and even precision to it, all of which is necessary if one is making, say, a specific spark plug, but if one is making a painting? Oosh! Trouble is, some things in a painting just have to be right. A person to recognize, for instance. And even though right, or seemed right at the time, especially after having spent most of the day painting at such a face, the next day's light bring renewed insight, and so one goes at it all over again. As such, faces have been scrubbed out and redone, twice, thrice, if not five or even six times. Right? But life does not give a real person such chances. Real persons live from moment to moment and very seldom can one not throw the stone, once it has been cast, or retrieve the words, once they have been said, or undo that which has been done, once it has... Well, you get the picture. Only artists can do that. They wipe out the rock or place back an old owl, or do not bother to put in the tree, or like Deus ex Machina, redo a face over and over. And should no one have seen the first face, let alone the second or third, or fourth or... Well, should no one have seen them then the thing that was done is gone into the ether forever. No one knows. Well, unless you write about it. But even then the wrong face does not no never ever get seen. Unlike deeds. Or bad grammar. No. Never ever. Unlike what it is for real people. Commissions are like that. Real expectations. If you ask me to paint the waterfront and I leave out this or that building, or do not put in the flag, you may very well ask me to redo the picture more better. People tend to like what they see, want what they saw, and wish for what they want. But artists tend to recreate. Once my own choice of the cafe or waterfront is done, independent of anyone else's approbations, I display it and you like it, or not, and you buy it, or not, but the thing is done. My work. My passion. Time spent in the exploration of a subject until I feel finally done. But no, not so for a commission. The details of a commission can be very challenging. I am no photographer. I depict. I render. I give unto the Commissioner in gratitude; it provides! And when done I might be lauded for my interpretation, humored for my labors, or even perhaps ridiculed for my effrontery. The hours and time spent is up to me. The amount of times I redo and redo a given face, a robe, a frozen gesture, is up to me. And no one sees the progress (unless you happen to be my partner who leans toward the work and astutely, considerately, but firmly lets me know that it is not yet quite right.) How fortunate for me that I have such a second pair of eyes! Imagine if I accepted my own vision only, and gave up for wont of energy, or for want of surcease. Imagine if trusting only my own sight. Who'd take flight? We are all like that, real people and artists. We have the fortune of being around others to help us see ourselves, redirect our progress, comment on our product, edit our missives, and promulgate our success. We each are really artists in our own way, the painter and the real person, creating of life a canvas that is left behind in the minds of others, visually or otherwise. And when finally done, do we not then in turn go do more?

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