Why paint? (1)

I met Van Gogh on the road to Tarascon, and seized him by the arm, "Vincent", I've come back from the future - they've made you big – one of the greatest artists who ever lived !

He was concentrated, on his idea for a canvas, "The painter on the road to Tarascon”.

I've had the breaks I need – met some impressionists and some other great painters in Paris, came to the South and got the dazzling colour idea, even the failed "Yellow house" community with my friend Gauguin – all served, don't feel sorry for me –  I don't even care about all that - I just want - I've just got to paint."

When we were small – primary school – and loved drawing/art, as most kids do, we drew mainly war scenes – for us a great artist would be someone who could draw a perfect e.g. horse from memory - the idea of drawing from life was unknown to us – I guess renaissance painters and the “pompiers” impressed us most.
My grandchildren paint war scenes - tanks aircraft - and machines - too (boys) or princesses and horses (girls). Hmm, that's interesting – a gender difference in selection of subject matter (don't think there is one in technique?) - probably disappears after adolescence, I think. What did kids draw in previous eras? Do any childhood drawings of famous artists remain? Surely. This mindset seems to continue to adolescence (graphic representation of reality– so mastered it can be done from memory) – and adolesence is when a lot of people stop drawing (percentage of students enrolled in art studies + hobbyists = ?%) 
View from a tower block, acrylic on panel 80 x 120     1992 - a lifetime ago!

When Rich's big brother's friend - who (wow!) was studying at art collge (we were about 11) unrolled the oft-used huge piece of heavy paper and showed us a charcoal drawing of a steam train - more realistic and with darker darks and shading we hadn't even dreamed of with our little HB pencils (and we thought we were so good!) - it blew us away. First in a long line to do so. It's people like that who have affected me more than the "greats" I gradually discovered.

When I went to university (to study science), I felt I wanted to draw and could maybe do some nice stuff in pencil or black wax crayon (!) - I did draw on and off and kept visiting the galleries, etc.

 This is also when I bought those Michel de Gallard posters that had such an impact on me (Waterhouse's "Lady of Shallot" and other Pre-Raphaelite paintings were big at the time too (must say in pasing that this present revival à l'ARC of 19th century art - Bougereau and the pompiers - is deserved from a technical point of view - but the content can easily be maudlin - Zorn, Sorolla, Sargant are a beeter bet - I do like Bastien Lepage a lot).

The other thing was during a period at around age 21 when I was unemployed - the beautiful green of the moss/lichen on a beech tree trunk - I wanted to paint it and so I started painting again - hey, even did evening classes at the art college (they were soooo useless back then - do your own thing, folks!).

Why paint, then? 1) for pleasure - it is such a pleasure! 2) to discover what's "in me" - I just don't know what I'm going to come up with - in fact, when things get good, it seems to come from outside/beyond...

What motivates you to do art? Please leave a comment...



  1. Bon je ne comprends pas grand chose, très fatiguant pour moi de lire en anglais... je reviendrai avec google traduction :-)
    Mais je comprends ta dernière phrase. Réponse :
    - répondre à un besoin
    - essayer de se sentir moins seul avec son émotion/ appeler une réaction
    - partager son émotion
    - communiquer (surement l'objectif des dessins préhistoriques dans les grottes)
    - s'offrir un temps hors de soi-même, parce qu'on déconnecte de la réalité quand on dessine/peint
    - réaliser un bel objet faire quelque chose de beau
    - objectif thérapeutique/psychanalytique exprimer ses névroses ses angoisses
    - s'engager politiquement exprimer des idées
    Tu assimiles artiste et artisan dans ton dernier article. L'artisan possède une technique, il est parfois un artiste mais ce sont deux choses différentes...

  2. Merci pour le comm Gizem - qui est intéressant - analyser ses motivations/raisons n'est pas forcément évident - moi, j"ai du mal a trouver une réponse à cette question (ce qui n'est pas grave/nécessaire, bien sûr)

  3. Je ne sais pas, Jon. à 16 ans j'ai trouvé ce projet pas assez sérieux alors j'ai tourné les talons. Maintenant que je ne me prends plus au sérieux mais que le monde l'est trop, j'y reviens (depuis 6 ans)
    Je n'y prends pas souvent du plaisir alors pourquoi j'insiste? Mais dessiner est devenu un besoin impérieux (urgent).

  4. Salut Sylvie! - et merci bcp pr la visite - ça me fait énormément plaisir. Ce que tu dis est vrai et je te comprends que trop bien. Je sais pas quoi dire. J'ai un (petit) conseil. Prendre le livre les clés du dessin de Bert Dodson et faire tous les exercices dedans, SURTOUT, le chapitre 3 sur comment 'mesurer...


    Allez, bon courage à nous tous - les passionnés! Bises Jon