What Inspires a Painter ?

It was midnight, I could hear the clatter of salsa fading away and I could see in my imagination the palm tree leaf dancing away with the background of grey, purple night amidst the haze of another sultry day in Cali Colombia. I knew that tomorrow was going to be a great day to paint.

What inspires you ? It’s an exciting time for painters, contemporary painting means that we can basically mix any and every style of art and painting into one canvas from classical all the way to conceptual . I can still remeber that moment as a twenty something university fine art student and the tremble in my lip, as I was posed with the task of creating a slideshow presentation about how my painting could be ‘conceptual’. The reaction to budding artists and the university lecturers to the world changing exhibition Sensations of that time meant we had to conceptualize everything ! So, there I was my paintings some slides an audience of quirky fellow students, all hung over , and some artist university lecturer looking at me with a look of need , need for us to contextualise what the hell we are doing as artists. Well after a slow few minutes of silence my lip trembled some more and all that came out was, ” Mmmmmm, Dunno , it’s just art my paintings”

When I get to the easel nowadays some twenty years later after my university white grey wall slide show breakdown, I am still exuberant. Excited like the 8 year old child when I first opened my first oil paint set , I could taste the turpentine and the clash of crimson and veridian on the bounced canvas infront of my child like eyes . And still now I am emulating and chasing this feeling, the purity of self expression unhindred by realty and unwatered down by any substance , just…….life, yeah, my art concept is , life, is that O.K ? Enough for you ? What , truly inspires you ?

I know, I’ve seen it time and time again, Politcics and politicians need us artists for there campaigns and propaganda it’s happening every day, if not the politicians but the long reaching winding media tentacles will find your purity your expression and take it away . Who knows maybe they will even fly your painting to the moon on the new spaceships created by the mega-rich the new playground, I wonder what will the alien’s think of the socially aware politically correct art work up there?

So, to paint is to live and to live is to paint. Cezanne was widely know for his avoidance of art events, exhibitions and galleries instead staying hermit in his studio home trying to complete his behemeth paintings colliding his veridian’s and ceruleans until he was enough immersed in his sumptuous embrace of line and space. Van Gogh lost part of his ear amidst his search driven by cadmium yellow and ultramarine day’s and nights peppered with Gauguin’esque arguments and partying.

I guess all we really need is the great sun , the light , that beautiful fireball in the sky , worshipped for centuries, Inti, the ultimate lightsource my friend that lights up the side of people’s faces creates seven shades of yellows and greens within a leaf and renders contrasts, silhouettes at dusk. Painting is life, life is painting and an artists true journey and concept is each day around us plays out a moving image from which we sit back in our imagination and observe.

Peter Doig when asked about his new home Trinidad was said to explain how being a non local and feeling like a visitor a constant observer of everything around him was the ideal place for an artist. We are from nowhere looking in and around soaking up all the goings on like a primed canvas, life throw your colour at me , world paint me and I’ll paint you in return.

What inspires you ? Write me your story in the comments below….



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