Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Get up and go to work, with an Idea

Chuck Close is attributed with saying, "Inspiration is for amateurs, the rest of us just get up and go to work".  I agree with part of this admonition, that we need to go to work and stop procrastinating.  The part I question, just a bit, is what purpose is served in going to work without a clue as to why you are going to work. Guys like Chuck Close probably have a backlog of ideas just waiting to be explored.  There are times when I have a list of ideas waiting to be explored, but there are also those time when I go to the studio and stare at the walls. ( I guess you can tell I am presently in one of those periods.)
The question is what to do when in this mind set or perhaps more descriptive, "mind  fog".  Sometimes a trip to a museum, gallery, or the library will cause a light to go on or at least flicker.  One must be cautious when searching for inspiration in these places so as not to confuse finding ideas with plagiarism.

Diane at MoMA looking at  a painting
 by Barnett Neuman 

When drawing inspiration from other artist do not simply copy their technique, but rather emulate their commitment to an idea. It is not enough to just paint "in the style of."  Look for their underlying motivations and the evolution of the choices they make, for it is in these observations that we will find excitement.  Take note of the artist whom you most admire: this is a good barometer the path you should travel.  The work of Matisse is born of passion and emotion while the images from Picasso are more calculated and intellectual. Acknowledge which of these artist you most enjoy and relate to. Identify what it is that draws you to the work of a particular artist. This knowing will serve you well in choosing you own path.

Well, now that I have that off my chest I am charged with new enthusiasm and ready to go back to work. I hope this will be of some inspiration to you and make leaving the couch an exciting event.