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September, 2009

Slave to Paint Part I

September 30th, 2009

A good many years ago I read Estelle Jussim’s excellent book about F. Holland Day: « Slave to Beauty ». I recommend it if you can manage to get your hands on a copy. (It has evidently been reprinted link). It is an excellent account of a prevalent frame of mind that is divisive in the world of art. Most artists, I think, would deny this influence, but it is implicit in the “decadence dialog” that dominates most contemporary commentary on art. More will be said about this in a future article.

I believe we need to get past it and move on to more important issues. Otherwise, art has the risk of becoming irrelevant. It clearly already is for all but a very small number of people. And I’m not at all sure this is a healthy sustainable situation. But, then again, progress in art is not a straight line. It has often moved in reverse.

Published in french as Esclave de la peinture Partie I


The Day to Day Life of Painters

September 6th, 2009

Much, if not almost all of my writing in this blog has focused on the large issues. While they are important I’m always reminded how removed they are from the actual life of the artist. The daily toiles, the comfort of the workplace, the economic situation, the interaction with patrons and society as a whole, freedom of expression exercised, the quality of training received, many such questions go begging. By far however, these are the parts which make up the whole with philosophical, theoretical and historical considerations playing a small role.

The World Wide Web has expanded in some sense the horizons for many of us. This conflict directly, however with the social interactions from which we drew our substance a few years ago. One way in which it has done this is the explosion of self professed authorities and experts. Consequently, the process of connecting with an audience has become actually much more complex overnight so to speak. A rule of thumb for the working artist (i.e. professional artist) was that it was necessary to spend around one-half of the time devoted to the business side of things. Boy; has that changed. I don’t know about you, but for me the time left over for painting has dropped dramatically. Where is this leading us?

Read the rest of "The Day to Day Life of Painters"


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