Thursday, February 28, 2013

Art for No Reason

Coca-Cola Art by Keith Haring
I think my whole problem is that I don't have a Muse. I looked it up and found that it is often capitalized, giving it greater import than just saying muse. A Muse is the "sister goddess" who inspires an artist, poet or thinker. Uh-oh, don't get me started on my sister. As for goddesses, I don't have any of those in my corner either. So I am without Muse; it's little wonder I have such a hard time deciding what to paint.

It was much easier in the old days when I got paid to illustrate newspaper articles. Then the editor or writer told me exactly what to draw and all I had to do was move my hands around the paper until I came up with a solution that pleased her (or him.) Now I have to be my own editor, and it's a lot to handle. Things just fly out of my brain and onto the canvas, and often they are really meaningless, dumb, inappropriate or--dare I say it-- ugly.

But then, if you look at what's considered great art these days, nothing really is ever wrong. Keith Haring, may he rest in peace, is a perfect example. The popular artist whose work was first inspired by, and actually was, street graffiti, listed his Muses as no less than "birth, death, sex and war." No wonder he was such a hit; talk about covering all the bases! (In the example shown above, he must have been alluding to how the little people of the world run around in service to the bigger, more powerful people, until they tire and die. Or else maybe, it's a woman giving birth to quadruplets; I'm not really sure.)
"Open Window, Collioure" by Henri Matisse

Henri Matisse, on the other hand, just painted what he saw. About the painting shown at right, which he did in 1905, he said: "When I put a green, it is not grass. When I put a blue, it is not the sky." Of course, he said it in French so something may have been lost in the translation, but still--that's deep.

I have got to come up with something more than pretty colors, pots of flowers, clouds and cows grazing in the field. And soon. Perhaps today will be the day my Muse shows up. You never know.

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