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Rules for Painters

Originally posted on April, 17, 2009

"Ventoux Spring", oil on canvas, 30cm x 24cm, 2009
"Ventoux Spring", oil on canvas, 30cm x 24cm, 2009

The rule that there are no rules is the appeal of what some understand as the Zen approach: the anytime anything goes ethic, or non-ethic as it were. We get into difficulty, it seems to me as painters by applying this “beat? philosophy (i.e. this is not classic Zen) in a rigid manner. Properly understood the Zen perspective gives the latitude to “think? in terms of right and wrong in a limited domain such as painting; This, even though the world at large is seen to be beyond right and wrong when it is not put into a frame. But without some form of intellectualizing each painting’s outcome is as precarious as a throw of the dice.

“The superior man understands what is right, the inferior man understands what sells.? (Confucius)

In the changing conditions of today, there are certainly no silver bullets. Things have been difficult for painters for some time and will continue for the foreseeable future. All is not doom and gloom however. Think back to the adverse conditions which the impressionists faced: having to flee France for safety, the destruction of paintings, extreme financial conditions and so on.

Galleries in France seem to be threatened by the internet. I have not had this expressed directly by gallery owners. It is simply an observation of their reactions when I bang up the subject. As difficult survival has been for most of them recently this reaction is easy enough to understand.

I hold out hope that I’ll find that one gallery that I want to associate with. I believe it is best to work only with a single gallery. Also, it is important that the relationship is a good fit. It will not work otherwise.

Published in french as Règles pour les peintres

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One Response to “Rules for Painters”

  1. dan says:

    So, the only non-rule that applies is that if it sells, it is art?