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Elegance and its relevance to the painter

August 24th, 2009

Okay, I admit to being evasive in my post “Artistic Awakening”. I believe that painters learn this so well that traditionally they have been considered well, a little slow at the switch.

There are some ideas that we just need to get our mental teeth into and chew just like a dog does on a bone with a great deal of patience and diligence. At the end of the day no other way will be found when it comes to these subtle issues. There is no free lunch. Patience, persistence and so until the bigger piece begin to click into place.

I heard some interesting monologue on a movie the other day. It was a speech about success and competition. The character was saying that there is something about competition that is ferocious and carnal. He then made his principle point; the importance of finding the balance between human intelligence and animal diligence. Bingo. In the author’s view finding the balance was the key. Defining the term was also important. Absolutely nothing was said about understanding the relationship between our intellect and our passionate self.

We see clearly when we get the relationship in correct perspective. A painter does not paint things. The painter paints relationships, even if he is a non-representational painter. There is no other way short of following someone else with their formula. And, as Picasso pointed out, if we plagiarise ourselves that is the worse form of plagiarism.

The idea of elegance that Galileo spoke of, as I understand it, was a quality arrived as a consequence of understanding the relationship between the natural world and our experience of it. Order and simplicity are found there. The understanding of painting or any area of creativity is closely connected to all this.

Enjoy chewing on big ideas before you “twitter” it all away.

Published in french as Élégance


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