Sunday, October 26, 2014

Art is a Jealous Mistress

Art is a jealous mistress, and if a man have a genius for painting, poetry, music, architecture or philosophy, he makes a bad husband and an ill provider, and should be wise in season and not fetter himself with duties which will embitter his days and spoil him for his proper work.
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

OK -- I hope I'm not THAT bad. But the first five words of Emerson's brief observation certainly rings true with me.

If one is really serious about art and trying to make each work the best work one he/she ever done, it must be practiced a LOT. One must give up everything to be an artist -- or so I've heard. An artist can't become good in his/her craft by taking the casual approach.
But then there's this: Matthew 6:24 (KJV) -- No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. (My emphasis).

Mammon, in this case, is a reference to money, but it can be anything that becomes #1 in our lives. I don't think art comes before God in my life, but it is pretty important, save for those times when I feel fed-up with art and the art world.

And then there's the issue of trying to sell art -- another entire source of stress and frustration. Whether paintings sell or not, I have to keep working -- either to replace the items that sold, or trying to find paintings that people are willing to buy.

I've also learned that selling art is not as simple as "paint what they like and they'll buy it." Having a "following" -- a certain amount of fame -- tends to be a major component of an artist's success. This has been a little out of my reach, unfortunately. And in some cases, painting in the current trend of decorator colors -- matching the sofa -- is important, too. When you paint in a classical way as I like to do, color matching has nothing to do with it. But try convincing decor-orientated buyers of that!

So in short -- art has taken over my life, but I almost can't afford to do it anymore. Art is a jealous mistress. One must give up everything to be an artist.

That includes any semblance of financial stability and, perhaps, sanity!

Mt. San Jacinto,Palm Springs,hawk,sand dunes,art

By the way -- these paintings are available for purchase at Crystal Fantasy in Palm Springs, CA. Stop by or contact them soon. Don't wait too long!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Enchanted Realm

For desertophiles like me, most of the desert is an enchanted realm. But in this case, it's also the title I gave to my latest painting of Joshua Tree National Park in California.

Joshua trees, Joshua Tree National Park, sunset, distance, space, Mojave, desert, clouds, cloud shadows, painting, art, traditional, classical, realism
The Enchanted Realm                                                                         18" x 24"
I was in this spot a couple of times (although I may not return -- the desert has a delicate layer of cryptobiotic soil -- "dirt" + microorganisms -- that is disturbed easily by hiking on it and that can take years to heal). The first time I was there, a neat cloud shadow spread across the land as you see it here.

I added some minor touches of my own, but I was so moved by the way nature painted this magical place, I felt it didn't need much help from me.

I use "The Vast Spaces of the Southwest" as my tagline. This scene is a perfect example of what I love about the desert and all of that distance that seems to touch infinity. It's a place where one can go and be in touch with the universe because we can see so much of it here. Not intergalactic space, obviously, but just -- big spaces and small us!