Chapter 8: A day in the life of an artist

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

Pablo Picasso

I would not say I am a Picasso when it comes to painting. I make time for painting every once in a while (realistically only 2 hours per week) and I do enjoy unleashing my inner artist a lot; still, I never properly learned the skills for painting and drawing, such as creating three dimensional effects on paper. For me it is all just following my instincts, having fun, and improving through trial and error. I am nowhere near being talented or skilled enough to make a living out of my arts though.

Be that as it may, I can proudly say that I have my very own style of painting as according to Maggie (one of my closest friends). While Maggie inspected every single one of my paintings with awe she observed that I had a unique style – a style that would be reflected in every single one of my art works. She even suggested that I could sell my art for sure. Although I disagree with her on that, it made me incredibly happy to receive this positive feedback because knowing that your art speaks to people is the biggest compliment an artist can receive.

Although I do not actively try to get my paintings exhibited in any galleries, I do like to display all my paintings in my flat. I have hung them on the walls of my living room (with permission of my flatmate) as well as my bedroom. So, visitors to our flat get to enjoy a little private tour in our comfortable home gallery, if they wish.

Have a look into my little art gallery

I gave such a private tour to another friend when he was over at my flat for the first time. He showed quite some interest in my art, walking around the living room and contemplating each picture. When he stood in front of my abstract still life (see the painting in the gallery above) he commented with astonishment:

“I wonder what must be going on in your head to draw something like this”

That is honestly a good question. I mean, seriously, what did any artist think when they were painting? For instance, what sort of apocalyptic fears had invaded Edvard Munch’s mind when he painted The Scream? Or what hallucinogens do we owe the paintings of Rene Magritte to?  Also, looking at Piocasso’s painting Weeping Woman, should his mind be characterised best as insane or ingenius? Of course, we admire these famous painters for their creativity; yet, taking a closer look at their pictures one can really start to wonder what kind of mental abyss, forlorn depths, and other wildly spinning carousels must have been going on in their heads.

“I dream my painting and I paint my dream.”

Vincent van Gogh

I can only speak for my own paintings, providing you an inside into the mind of an artist from my very own perspective. The train of thought I have while creating a new piece of art is rather remarkable, fascinating, odd, and at the same time even a little concerning. If you are an artist yourself, you probably know what I am talking about. The mind of an artist is a truly mysterious place. It faces many weathers, many colours, many fantasies, and many moods.

One day you can be blessed with a vivid, untameable imagination. Your artistic muse can then become so overwhelming that you find yourself trying to exploit it to the very last minute; your muse consumes you so much that everything else, especially your humanly drives for food, the bathroom, and sleep become a nuisance to you. In contrast to that, you just stare at your empty canvas and cannot imagine anything on other days. On such dreary days your mind is blank and your vision dull. Some days you embrace all the colours of the rainbow, other days you stick to shades of black as you believe this is best reflecting your mood. Creative minds are prone to instability, they can be beautiful and scary at the same time, though in the end, they are always very unique.

“A painter should begin every canvas with a wash of black, because all things in nature are dark except where exposed by the light.”

Leonardo da Vinci

When I paint, I simply let my feelings guide me. Tuning into my heart, the canvas serves as my experimental playground. I start with an initial inspiration – a rough image that has formed inside my mind and that I deem interesting enough to be released onto the canvas.  Such creative ideas tend to hit me unexpectedly as I toy around with different potential ideas for a new painting until one idea feels right. It is hard to describe but I just know when I have found my next idea. Without engaging too much in drafting and sketching, I take my canvas and jump right into the painting, wherein I rely on my gut feeling for choosing the colours.

I paint in many small stages, mostly one to two hours per session. This allows my ideas to ripen over time as I leave my work-in-progress rest in visible sight so I can ponder on it. In this way, the final painting is always a result of intuitive, daring blobbing that keeps being attentively adjusted and polished until my eye is entirely pleased with it. Ultimately, I paint for the joy of it and because it lets me wind down.

This represents my very own artistic rite and each artist will have their own way.  Every piece of art tells a story. It tells a story about the artist; it tells a story about the working progress invested into its creation; and to each individual beholder art always tells some different story about life. One painting will never elicit the same feelings, associations, and thoughts in different people.

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