Sunday, November 11, 2007
I'll get right to it. Painting is like flying. It is fun. It is free. You can see! You can see better. Or, it's like swimming, which if you're holding onto the edge of the pool, or standing in the shallow end, means you're not-- swimming. If you're swimming in lanes, well then, you're up to something else as far as I'm concerned. People want to make painting like swimming in lanes. They want to put a stop watch on it, they want to bump you out of their lane, make you get out of their way, decide if you even deserve to be there, if you're any good.
You can't hate haters, and you can't judge judgers, or you're just like them. So ignore the people swimming in lanes, and if they want to call that swimming, well then, more beer for you. Mark Spitz, arguably one of the great swimmers, once said swimming was just being comfortable in the water. If you do feel comfortable in the water, if you're happy in the water or happy flying, then this whole obsession with being any good, being judged, is not only beside the point, it is a waste of precious time, time for swimming, or flying, or painting. It is not only not positive, it is negative, like a four point turn around in basketball. Something is lost. How do I know this? I ended up in the lane swimming world of painting many years ago, and I was a critic too! I was young. Mea culpa, Mea maxima culpa. I live in another country now.
OK. I've said this before: people say someone has a mind of their own as though this is a bad thing, as though it was not only not ideal--the way it is supposed to be, but also definitely a problem. We can go into why it frustrates people if you have a mind of your own, why it is threatening and so forth, but I'm going somewhere else. People say someone is a free spirit in the same sort of strange way, as though it's flaky or not for everyone. How strange and how sad that we are born into bondage and ushered into more by the very people who should be setting us free and protecting that freedom. I guess its more beer for them.
Have a mind of your own, first and foremost, and be a free spirit. What else should you do and be? Treasure your life; like the baseball manager that said treat every out like gold. Treat your life like the most valuable gift you possess, because it is. It all starts there.
If you want to be an artist, then be the best artist you can, but also be the worst, because if anything worth doing is worth doing well, it is also worth doing badly. Be the worst artist in the world if that means you can do the thing you love. I have been steered in different directions in my life by people who supposedly had my best interests at heart, but it wasn't true; they just wanted me to do what they did, or what they needed from me for themselves. They tried to pimp me as far as I am concerned.
I paint because I like to. Like flying high in the sky, or playing in the mud, or swimming in the open water. What could I care if I am a bad painter, if such a thing could be true, if doing the thing you love could ever be bad; and furthermore, what do I care what some critic thinks? I don't paint for them. I don't ask them to pay to see my work. If they want to stop and drink, well, I hope they enjoy it because I want them to be happy. Otherwise I just paint for free, and maybe for the ones I love and that love me. The others, the lane swimmers; I feel no opposition, and hope the same for them. If opposition is in their hearts, if they feel compelled to argue or judge instead swim, well, I will wish the best for them. I give no quarter and expect none in that regard. We are all free.