Sunday, February 26, 2012

On the Road With Vincent

One of the defining artists of my life has been Vincent Van Gogh. As I mentioned earlier, I was first exposed to his world as a 5th grader and in many ways his influence has never left.

Vincent Van Gogh self portrait
I am reading his letters that have been re-translated showing the art that he is explaining. Their poignancy is often startling and at the same time heartbreaking. He tried so hard to "be" an artist. I think in many ways he has captured, put to words, what many artists feel from time to time. I find it hard to read more than a few pages at a time.

As I leave for the Las Vegas Painting Convention today, I go with no expectation and every expectation. One goes hoping to learn a technique that will make them better; some aha moment that will affect their art forever. Of course that rarely happens but the hope is always there.

Teaching and being a student is in many ways extremely hard. You have to be patient enough to explain your style to others. (Ever noticed when many people are trying to paint the same thing you wonder if they actually SEE the same thing?) I think the teacher finds out that there are many ways of achieving the same end...only they didn't think about that during the moment of creation.

Being a student is equally hard because you are fighting your natural instinct to do something your own way and you have be open enough to see and understand what the teacher is teaching.

Vincent recounts one of his teachers saying, "Mauve tells me that I will spoil at least some ten drawings before I learn how to wield a brush well. But beyond that point is a better future, so I carry on working with as much sang-froid as I can gather together and will not let myself be put off, even by my mistakes". He continues,"It goes without saying that one can't master the technique in a day." You know, that is about right. It took about 14 tries before on the final night of the first 14 week session, I actually did paint a painting that I am proud of still!

I know I do and I would imagine many of us become impatient but as Malcolm Gladwell said in his book THE OUTLIERS, it takes 10,000 hours to master something, anything. Start counting those hours!

This will be an interesting and challenging week.

I invite you to visit KrugsStudio on You will find an eclectic mix of craft items and a few oil paintings as well.

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