Last night, I was re-reading Finding Your Visual Voice. It’s a book that steadily inspires me.
The opening line of the book is, “Artists paint to discover the truth.”
That really resonates with my views. There is a truth — an essence — in everything. It’s that essence that inspires the artist; something in what we’re looking at (or feeling) triggers a deep, artistic vision.
That’s what leads to the art.
Maintaining the vision can be a challenge. Between the shifting light (of a landscape), the passage of time (flowers, fruit, etc.), and subtle mood changes (portraits), the initial essence may fade or intensify.
Once the art has begun, artists often refer to the internal vision rather than what we see around us.
In addition, some creative visions are as fleeting as our nightly dreams. Within minutes, they can elude us. Sketching the concept, or jotting down the ideas, can be imperative.
However, those sketches or notes are often like the words on a teleprompter. The structure is there, but the brilliance is in the emotion conveyed when the artistic product is created.
The complete vision — the structure and the emotional content that initially stirred us — fuels the passion that’s essential to an authentic artistic expression.
The greatest challenge may be holding onto that rich, initial vision. Because it’s internal, it’s subject to mundane influences, including our own memories as well as our moods. Life’s events don’t always harmonize with the vision we’re clinging to; it can be a challenge to create beautiful art in the face of everyday “slings and arrows.”
Nevertheless, an artist has no choice. Passion drives us, despite the obstacles, to create work that has its own voice. To deny that passion is to shrivel inside, and gradually shut out the unique beauty around us.
Whether that passion is voiced as a music, painting, a perfect loaf of bread, or a finely-tuned engine, it’s still art.
Discovering the truth means affirming yourself as a creative being. Each of us has that essence within us.
I paint, and journal, and sew, and so on, to discover steadily deeper truths about myself and the world around me.
It’s a tremendous adventure.