One of the highlights of my day is when I receive my Fine Art Views blogpost in my inbox. I love reading the insightful articles and learning from the advice given by experienced and professional artists. This article was particularly inspiring to me and I wanted to share it on my blog.
What do I know about art?
by Clint Michaels
What do I know about art? Not much, if you really want to know the truth. Yet, at the age of 46, I found myself wanting to know more. Call me a late bloomer, call me blind, but it was only when I was ready to see beyond the ordinary, that I could see the extraordinary. I knew about science and mechanical things that go up and down round and round. Ahh, good ol' left brain. Still, in many ways, I could see the beauty in those kinds of things. Ahh, right brain. Although facts and figures never did much to calm my soul or move my heart, they did put food on the table. And while that's always a good thing, imagine my surprise when that dark veil which blinded me for so long was removed and the beauty of the human spirit came crashing through in the form of a painted canvas.
With my eyes fixated on a 5" x 7" image of The Crucifixion, a painting from Alessandro Castelli, (1809 - 1902, Private Collection), my mind raced to comprehend its meaning and beauty. Up to this point in my life, I had never really paid much attention to art before, but somehow this image was different. Maybe it was the painted sky and dramatic rays of light, or perhaps the deep contrast of dark and light against the landscape; but it felt as if I could hear a voice inviting me to look closer. Like the faint sound of sweet music playing far off in the distance, I was drawn to it. As I drifted further into this unknown painted world, I started to become one with it. I began wondering how I would feel if I were there. It is a frightening image with scenes of sorrow and glory. My imagination took off like a child, and I soon found myself wondering what the people in the painting might be thinking if they were real. It became a make believe place where adults were invited to imagine what they would do if they where there. I was hooked; lost in the painting, and it was wonderful.
Scanning the horizon of this painted world, I began to believe that I could feel the emotions Castelli surely must have felt as he reached the pinnacle or credenza of this great work. I remember thinking, there's treasure in here. I found myself searching every inch of the small little image to unlock its secrets. Like diamonds in the sand, everything glimmers in the sun, but it takes a knowing eye to tell the difference between glittering sand and precious stones. I smiled and thought to myself, "This is amazing!" I could actually feel the intensity of Castelli's work. I began to understand how art can become medicine for your soul. And how it was possible to bring us to a place in time we once knew or dreamt of. How could it make us feel something we once felt and forgot? This piece was like that. Through this work, I began to believe that I could feel the joy and sorrow Castelli must have felt as he poured out all he was onto his canvas. Every character began to tell their own story, and every stroke from his brush began to reveal his genius. I smiled at the beauty of the light which streamed from the painted clouds and gently spill onto the landscape below. Then I thought to myself, "Only God and humans could create so much beauty." We are truly blessed, and would be even more so, if only we will quiet ourselves long enough to appreciate all the beauty around us.
It's been three years since I saw that painting. Its beauty so inspired me to love art that I have began studying and learning how to oil paint. For the first two years, I read everything I could get my hands on, but I rarely touched a brush for fear of learning bad habits which might never be overcome in the long run, thus diminishing my ability to create truly great art one day. Finally, after a long search, I discovered an artist whose style and work most represented my own aspirations. I found a very talented local artist who was willing to take on a newbie hack like me. Daniel Mundy (a regular sponsor of this site) has been a great instructor and mentor. With the patience of a saint, he has helped me find the courage to begin. In fact, when we first talked, he told me "It's not how many paintings you have done, it's how many you've started. So let's get started!"(Or something like that.) His works and knowledge of painting have inspired me to keep working and showed me how to have fun with my art. My eyes still have a foggy spot when it comes to my own work, but as Daniel might say," Just put down the notes and let's see how it sounds." If every stroke is a note, and every note builds on the story, then for now my canvas sounds like a one man band. Yet with practices and determination, I know one day it will become a symphony. I have no delusions of becoming famous or rich, but wouldn't it nice to imagine that one day my art could wash away someone's blindness. Ah heck, I'd be happy just to know I made someone smile.
This article appears courtesy of FineArtViews.com by Clint Watson, a free email newsletter about art, marketing, inspiration and fine living for artists, collectors and galleries (and anyone else who loves art) . For a complimentary subscription, visit: http://www.fineartviews.com