acts of art 9 ~ Vincent

“What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything? If you hear a voice within saying ‘You are not a painter’ then by all means paint – and that voice will be silenced.”

 

“At present I absolutely want to paint a starry sky. It often seems to me that night is still more richly coloured than the day; having hues of the most intense violets, blues and greens. If only you pay attention to it you will see that certain stars are lemon-yellow, others pink or a green, blue and forget-me-not brilliance. And without my expatiating on this theme it is obvious that putting little white dots on the blue-black is not enough to paint a starry sky.”
Vincent van Gogh

‘The 100’ #42 – Street Art with Text – Italy…

I have hung a copy of this piece above my work table since finding it on a wall in Siena, Italy. Its simple wording: “Energy plus Time equals Art” has reminded me of  what, until recently, I considered the essentials. Whenever I have been caught in the web of ennui the figure has lifted its megaphone to its lips and loudly declared into my reluctant ear that which I haven’t wanted to hear and I have reacted with renewed energy. But its message is lost on me now and I have put this photo away along with a small mountain of unfinished work – all that seems equally meaningless to me at this time.

This particular posting is timely because, as some of you have gently hinted and others may have noticed, I have not shared my own art for a while. I have been in a debilitating creative slump and nothing I do to alleviate it has worked. My paintings are not speaking to me – every brushstroke feels false, every colour I apply feels alien and amateurish and every shape, form and line I make appears ridiculous. I know we all go through this at times but that knowledge doesn’t help. I have at least a dozen pieces that I have started that scream out to be resolved. I turn my head. I look at this posted photo and its words and understand that I need to put time and energy into my work but also realize that this is no longer enough. There is another element not mentioned by this anonymous street artist – call it X, or magic or inspiration or self confidence – whatever it is, it is missing and I feel alone.

Writing about this helps me to objectify. I am disgusted to hear myself whinge while my life and health are good and I live like an aristocrat compared to millions of my brothers and sisters. But now it is out and now you know why I am not posting my art and maybe now I can open to the words of Vincent and others:

 “If you hear a voice within you say, ‘You cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” — Vincent van Gogh

“There is no use trying,” said Alice. “One can’t believe impossible things.” “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” — Lewis Carroll

“So you see, imagination needs moodling – long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling and puttering.”  — Brenda Ueland

I am away for a few days visiting friends on Vancouver Island to moodle and putter. Will post again on my return.

‘The 100′ series was initiated by my 100th Post in April 2012. As text and images are the essence of my blog my intention is to present 100 pieces of textual art from historical and contemporary artists and from my own hand. To view the series to date click on ‘The 100’ in my Category Menu.