Be your easiest self

‘Be your easiest self. My work isn’t angry or shocking because I’m not.’

Brian Rutenberg. From his book ‘Clear Seeing Space’ page 288 – Meetings

For many years I’ve had the misconception that in order for my work to have any degree of artistic merit and clout, it must be dark and angry, which is why I have battled to find my own voice – that’s not what I’m about.  I’m not a cynical nihilist (a la Gerhard Richter), I don’t have a cross to bear or a point to prove, I’m not out to save the world.  I just want to paint. I want to feel the paint or any other art medium on my hands every day, I don’t want to do anything else, never have.   I want to paint things that make me happy and in turn make the people who view them happy too. 

I like creating non-representational paintings, many times they end up being a big mess.   Is that then how I was feeling that day?  A big emotional mess?  I have had days, sometimes running into weeks, where everything I painted was a waste of time and effort (at least I thought so at the time).  I’ve struggled with something just there at the edge of my grasp, battled to pull the truth out of what it is I’m trying to convey and it’s felt like I was trying to ram the proverbial square peg into a round hole.  But this is not lost effort, I’ve come to realise that now.  It’s experience, it’s learning, it’s the wonderful job of being an artist.  

When you create a painting, no matter whether it’s a drawing or a painting with actual paint, you are projecting your history, your knowledge of the world, your feelings about the world and your fears of the world into that painting.  Whether you like it or not, your subconscious creeps in and forces you to make little signs.   You might not ever even see those signs but when someone stands in front of your work, they are witnessing first hand how you were feeling when you painted that picture.  They are picking up on all the little hidden signs and messages that your subconscious self has forced you to include in the artwork.  It’s a bit like magic, almost smoke and mirrors really.  With your art, you are transmitting a message to the world, no matter what the subject matter of the painting or drawing is, a part of you is reaching out and trying to touch another person, another mind and trying to make a connection on some deep primordial level. 

And you just thought that drip you made with the cerulean blue was a slip-up.

Brian Rutenberg’s book on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Clear-Seeing-Place-Studio-Visits/dp/0997442301


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