WHAT SHOULD YOU PAINT?
by George Allen Durkee


 

Nothing dumps more mud into the creative flow than asking, "What can I paint that people will buy?" That's like saying, "How can I appear to the world so people will love the mask I'm wearing?" You can paint what others will be pleased by, but if you paint in order to please others then what is authentically yours is likely to be missing.

What is authentically yours? Where is the energy that calls you to paint? Your energy - that indefinable something that not only inspires what you paint, but how you paint. 

A beautiful object, scene or person may or may not make a beautiful painting. The question to ask is "Can I compose this into something paintable?" Can you find in the subject an arrangement of shapes, a pattern of values and a harmony of colors that will say something in particular that you think is worth saying? If you can, you've got your next painting half done before you begin. Paint it because you find it interesting, challenging or moving. Or don't paint it at all.

Even though you create honest art, most people will approach your work with a particular bias of what they like and don't like. It's a fact of the artist's life that, if you risk your deepest self, only a certain few passersby will be willing to have a new experience by opening to what your have created. This grieves me beyond words, but it is the way it is.

And

If you persist in painting your paintings, your way, and if let your work unfold in the way it will, allowing yourself to be what you are on this particular day, now and now and now, there will be those few art lovers who will respond to your personal view of the world. Not only will they respond, they will really respond. Trust your own creative vision. You don't need to compromise your work in order to be successful.

GEORGE ALLEN DURKEE


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