Monday, October 6, 2008

Artistic Integrity

Sunset in Wesleyville, Newfoundland

"Doing things the way you see it, going by your own heart and soul, that is pure artistic integrity. Whatever the hair is six or sixty inches long, the eyes have make-up or not, the riffs are in 'E' or 'F' sharp, the amps are Marshall or not, all those things don't matter if you are not doing it for the right reason, which to me means doing it for yourself." ~Lars Ulrich, musician.

Being a full-time artist has its challenges, as does any job or path in life. The sporadic income and lack of a good medical insurance plan are two minuses I can think of off the top of my head but the pros far outweigh the cons for me. Setting your own hours, doing work that means something to you and sharing that message and those ideas to others are just a few of the wonderful things about being an artist. Seeing your paintings change in technique over time, catching patterns of inspiration that emerge, some conscious and some unconscious, is a joy that I never take for granted.

Integrity. There are many types: Intellectual, Moral and Artistic to name some. It is important to cleave to what you believe in, live your truth in your work and not sell out. In an ideal situation you create a painting that resonates strongly with you or means something to you and people purchase that work. I never want to paint things simply because I think they will sell. I have been very fortunate that up to now people have enjoyed what I produce and I have been able to make a living at it. I have also told people on more than one occasion that I am determined not to be dead to make a living as an artist. So far so good.

The Alaska and Newfoundland paintings are starting to come together. It is wonderful to see work come off the easel and be placed on the wall. I know many painters who will still work on pieces once they have finished them...I almost never do this. Otherwise I would drive myself crazy with touching up and reworking. It is also important to be your own worst critic and knowing what NOT to paint is just as important as knowing what to TO paint.

These two groups of paintings come from different sides of the continent yet are so very important to me and will evolve right next to one another in the studio. The stories behind each body of work is something I hold close and cherish. These paintings are something that I simply must do, as sure as I breathe, that is why a creative person creates. If you believe in what you do, if you do not deviate from that resolve, you can never go wrong. There may be naysayers, detractors and skeptics but if you believe in it, it will happen and happen with authenticity. If you hold fast to your vision then the paintings will follow. Even the most mundane of objects can be made interesting depending on how the piece is composed and how the paint is applied. If you believe in what you are doing, if you are INTERESTED in it and curious about getting to know it better through painting it, you can never, ever lose.

"Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around."
~Henry David Thoreau

Paddling down Kanuti River, Alaska. 4 hours north 
of Fairbanks and 14 miles into the middle of nowhere. 

Kanuti trip, climbing Caribou Mountain, Alaska.

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