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Happy New Year

It is January 1, 2012. It is that time when we traditionally , after looking back, look forward to new possibilities, awarenesses, and to insights that will make us better at whatever we do. I paint.

I have been reading The Accidental Masterpiece by Michael Kimmelman. The lessons of this writing are how the accidents, experiences, chance encounters, and all such moments are the stuff from which our honest images are born. The book begins with the story of the chance meeting of Pierre Bonnard and Marthe de Meligny (his wife to be) and how this encounter influenced Bonnard’s life’s work . It is just such serendipitous events that make up the personality of our work.  We are either portraying the experiences of our own lives or we are imitating the experiences of others.

The sad outcome of painting like someone other than ourselves is that we miss the enjoyment of giving form to our uniquely personal experiences. Undoubtedly our work  impacts  how we perceive ourselves and influences our direction in the art we create. It is also true, and I believe even more so, that our art is a reflection of the events of our lives.  To be a better artist pay attention to the happenings in your life!

I do not make New Year resolutions because they can inhibit exploration and discovery. The most exciting things in my life have come about organically, without plans. The longer I paint the more I enjoy the discovery.

New Year’s Eve, Diane and I saw Hugo, a delightful movie set in Paris of the 1920’s. It’s about an orphan boy who secretly maintains all the clocks in a busy train station. Through a web of unexpected events and adventures he meets a forgotten genius film maker. But I won’t spoil the tale. If you have a heart you will love the adventure of this boy and every other character in the story, as they solve the riddle of their purpose for living.

The Bathroom by Pierre Bonnard

Here is one of many of Bonnard’s gorgeous paintings of Marthe, his wife and muse. Just imagine if he hadn’t happened to meet her in that train station that day…

 

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