A little more and then some
Pursuant to my last post, I was drunk. No, I'm kidding. It was 1 pm when I wrote it and I don't start drinking until 2. I'm not dissing the events by any stretch, they are way too fun and they treat us like royalty and family, though they can be a bit stressful. As Sergio commented, "Sometimes you can do your best work yet and go home with no red dots, which is so frustrating...", and he is right, it is tough. I want anyone who bothers to read this stuff to know that I write honestly about the wonders and trials of this lifestyle. I never want to give the impression that it's all blessed by the good Lord with manna for breakfast in the morning. Each of us struggle with different things. I know I have some skills and I am soooooooo very grateful for my life, but I'm always the hapless pessimist. It's a personality thing. On the Myers-Briggs test I got every letter, ISTPENFJ. I digress. From the comments on the last post, I think we can agree the plein air thing isn't a means to an end, it's just a means. My other beef is simply logistical, I travel to a new place and paint there for a week and if they don't sell, what do I do with them? Many galleries want either site specific work or generally vague stuff that can be anywhere. I should just paint nudes. What got me going on this whole thing was a museum run, specifically the Brandywine Museum, home of Howard Pyle and NC and Andrew Wyeth. Seeing NC's amazing and epic paintings for Treasure Island, just sent me back on my heels. NC was an illustrator of the highest order and you know what bugged him? He wanted to be accepted as a fine artist. Which, of course, today he is. Sometimes it takes 50 or 100 years for someone to get the nod from the pundits and seers, too bad it's long after death that a person can feel the props. C'est la vie.
What is so powerful about his work is his unique voice. He is a great visual narrator, a wonderful designer/shape maker and, to this day, has a style you can spot a mile away. We know from the history books that Al Gore had not yet invented the internet and the Great Google had not yet come to rise. Wyeth's images came about the old fashioned way; observation, perseverance and invention. I'm pretty sure he had no huge libraries, no pirate or indian neighbors or galleon dealerships in Chadds Ford. He had to create from scratch, on his own, in his studio, by himself, da se stesso, da solo, da lui.
This last painting of NC's I know nothing about, but it has the ring of honesty for him, he was telling his own story, not someone elses. I'll have to research it some but it was a large painting that felt as if he were stretching his wings for his own damn self. I think that's what people respond to, at least it is what I respond to. When you see a body of work like this, what becomes clear is that there is no right or wrong path. In the end the only thing that matters is being true to ones own personal vision and path. And then 50 years after you pass, you can get and article in American Art Review.