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Working with Themes and Subjects as a painter

When people meet an artist they often think of some strange sterio typed person who's mind works like a cat - full of curiosty about the World around them and always wanting to paint everything they see. To a certain extent this is true. Being inquisitive and always have the curiosty to investigate objects and situations often leads to the discover Sean Durham
29 novembre 2009

When people meet an artist they often think of some strange sterio typed person who's mind works like a cat - full of curiosty about the World around them and always wanting to paint everything they see. To a certain extent this is true. Being inquisitive and always have the curiosty to investigate objects and situations often leads to the discovery of new ideas and images to paint.
      The idea that a painter wants to paint everything is quite wrong. Where I live the sky is always blue and the sun is shining most months of the year. Palms and orange trees adorn the streets and about every three or four minutes a horse and trap passes by. It's beautiful but I never want to paint it. It just doesn't turn me on in that way.
      The reason behind my lack of desire to paint the local Cityscape isn't that I don't credit it as a worthy theme or subject, it's more to do with the desire to stick to my real theme and further investigate that one.
      I've always been most interested in people. People offer the most variety and some of the strangest, wildest and simply highly interesting subjects to study and paint. The landscape, for me, is dead when it is void of people. People living,doing and occupying space in the vision of the artist.
      It isn't the place of the artist to look and judge,he/she must spend energy looking and observing but not judging. If you judge as an artist, then you are in danger of projecting your own opinions and tainted ideas onto the subject. you may think, well what's wrong with that - isn't that just interpreting a subject in a personal way? I don't think so. It's more like missing the point, avoiding any chance of really seeing the subject for what it really is. To see and observe the world around us and to even just touch on it's significance and presence in its own reality is probably one of the most difficult tasks any human being can achieve.

      I see so many paintings of landscapes in galleries and studios - they are most often void of human beings. So strange that the artists didn't see any people out and about enjoying this beautiful landscape that the artist deemed so worthy of his efforts. Yes, I do enjoy looking at the work of landscape artists and there are some real masters out there who have stuck to their subject and are really delivering very impressive visual experiences of what they have seen. 

      They have worked and painted and repeated and continued to delve deeper into their subject. The results being an ever increasing understanding of the motiv and therefore a more powerful painting that touches the soul of the viewer.







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