Sunday, September 13, 2009

Why are you an artist or better yet what makes you an artist?

A while back, I was reading an art magazine and somewhere along the way I started thinking about why I wanted to be an artist. It's strange but I can remember many years ago my father introduced me to a doctor friend of his and he asked what I wanted to be when I grow up. Now mind you, my father worked in the health industry, this was my first week as a candy stripper/hospital volunteer (for those who are younger) and I am sure this gentleman just assumed that I wanted to be in the same industry, anyhow I replied that I wanted to paint and be an artist. He just smiled, (you know one of those smiles that have more to say but won't say it) but I am sure he was thinking somewhere along the lines of "that's fine little girl but we doctors make more money". (Ah my comment now is" but do they enjoy their vocations for many, many years and even into those retirement years or don't have the fear of being laid off or have some young college kid taking over for less money) So why is it that I wanted to be an artist at such a tender age? Well, the only thing I can think of is that my school took the ling trip to Chicago Art Museum one year, and I was hooked. I remember asking my mother for a paint-by-number kit, which she did. When I got to the real small parts, you know the ones for highlights or nuances of color to make the shape turn and such. Weill, I had already painted over the numbers that indicate what was the number/color was supposed to have gone there. (Hey, it was the first time I had such a kit and didn't know all the rules) Anyway, I add libbed what I though needed to be there and frankly it turned out ok, for the first painting of an 8 year old, and it was all I could muster, and to that same 8 yr. old it was a masterpiece. From that point on that was all I wanted to be. Now mind you this was a long, ok, ok, really long time ago. Now it was not only in my mind but it was in my heart racing through my veins. So now the question remains what makes you an artist? Now exactly what does an artist do? For me I look at an object/scenery and think of it in shapes and color masses. Questions start racing through my head like, how would I paint that, what colors create the colors in the sky/tree/building or whatever. If I add a color like yellow will it make it come too far forward/and the opposite for a green or blue. What if I took this tree out so I could see the building better? Will a square or rectangle canvas be a stronger composition? What do I need to add or subtract to make it a better mood? And then there is the, I can't do anything else, I just have to paint that scene because it just moves me so much. Everywhere I go everything I see; these are the questions that arise. And the questions continue until I decide to paint or not. Whether it is abstract, realistic, impressionist, a photograph, made of any type of material or into any object; it is considered these days as art. Age has no limit on this either. I know, there are some people out there that would say I am wrong, or my definitions are out in left field somewhere, but really am I truly that far off? Is it training or schooling, well no because I know of several self taught artist who are doing quite well. so the only thing I can conclude is that it is in your heart and that it is all you want to do, it is all you see and think about. It is a job that consumes you 24/7, and it is done with great enthusiasm, and gratefulness to be able to create. So the torch is passed to you the reader, fellow artist, art collector: what is your definition?

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