10 June 2020

Forsake the rose, and blush thyself!

Evening Prayer Brunswick Heads, 5 June, 2020, oil on canvas board, 40 X 35 cm

My teacher was Léo Marchutz whom I met in Aix in 1972, and because of this encounter, my life was completely altered thereafter. I feel so very lucky to have met him as a young university student. I was a lost young man with untapped creative resources locked inside but he showed me a way out of my small self and into the bigger, the generous and unlimited world of Art. It is solely because of him that I understand what I do today even if my ideas have sprouted different wings than those which carried him during his lifetime.

And yet I have been thinking lately about how it is that when innovators arrive in history, ‘schools of’ sprout up and immediately followers make rules and dictums to which the subsequent adherents must follow.

Throughout the history of Painting it has been thus. We have all been influenced by masters, teachers, and great works which have touched us. The trick, it seems to me, has been to take what we need, and leave the rest. Easy enough if one knows what we need. But rarely do we know what we need when we need it, except retroactively, when much later, do we understand, or maybe not, our choices made at the time. Life can be so tricky. 

And to find ourselves far away from our teachers, our mentors, our influences; to be out alone in the solitary studio of our own personal creativity is to transcend our teachers. 
This is a good thing too, even if we are not without questions, because otherwise we'd find ourselves in a prison full of someone else's ideas.  

In the end, to be a painter is a worthwhile activity even if I fall on my face. 

When we die, what will we have left to the world? 

Watch the sunset! I tell myself when I take it all too seriously. Or as Shakespeare said:

"Forsake the rose! and blush thyself!"

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