Why I Stopped Painting “Things” (and what I paint now)

104 Samsonia

You know: “things.” Material objects. In my case, mostly landscapes, cityscapes, houses although with a few portraits and a little surrealism along the way in the earlier years. And a smattering of Civil War themes, mostly from photographs taken at reenactments when I lived in Virginia where such things are abundant.

I didn’t start taking art seriously (for myself) until I was an adult, or nearly so, and without any formal training I suppose I was a little insecure about showing my work to others.

Of course self embarrassment was an issue also — I just couldn’t stand looking at a piece I had done that looked amateurish. I thought anything other than realism done to a high standard would show (especially show me) that I wasn’t a “real” artist.

But I plugged along and by brute force I accomplished what I wanted. I developed a photorealistic style and I must say I thoroughly impressed myself. And I didn’t do too badly sales wise.

Then I got bored. There are ten thousand artists who can paint these things as well or even better than I, with less effort, and it was getting to be more like work (drudgery) than fun, so — what’s the point?

But I loved the little doodles I always did, so I started playing with them. Enlarging them to wall sized paintings. Although I sold a few, I didn’t sell enough to make sense financially.

So now years later I’m back playing with my doodles and having oodles of fun. Nobody else is doing my doodles. They come straight out of the end of my pencil (where they were before that, I have no idea). A few look interesting enough to turn into paintings.

And so here I am with StoryStarters, AKA painted doodles. (The stories come after I’ve got a painting.) And I feel very secure and comfortable as an artist doing these. I haven’t looked for external validation for a long time now.

It took me a long time to get to where I could feel happy just painting non-realistic things and colors. (Or maybe they are realistic in another, more metaphysical, sense…)

#4But I’m having the best time painting that I’ve had in decades.

 

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