I believe that it is very important for an artist to learn to “work from life”; to draw and paint from what he sees in front of him: landscapes, still lifes, portraits. There is no other way to properly learn how to render form and space and to understand color. Yet, one who afterwards decides that he must paint “abstractly”; that is, from his imagination, in my opinion, he has taken on the real challenge of painting. For when one strips his painting of reference to something outside of itself, that which remains is only the pure elements of painting: color, form and line; and the success or failure of his work will depend purely upon his ability to organize the elements properly. Although the task can seem formidable, in truth this approach offers him an important advantage over figurative painting. For nothing can delude him from seeing the true structure of his thought and work, whereas with a representational work he will always see the represented form; this can blind him from seeing the t composition. Thus the non-representational approach is like an “x-ray”, enabling one to see what is going on inside, so to speak.
Yet some are blocked from taking this approach, for they feel lost without a subject, and often their entire impetus for making art is from what they see with their eyes. But it seems to me, that one who is truly interested in making ‘art’, and not commercial products, should tire of working solely from life, especially in our time when photographs can render “life” much more successfully.
The true treasure house of a person is found inside of himself; one’s inherent creative potential is rich and boundless. By persistently “mining” one’s inner resources, he will find patterns and themes in his consciousness. Through time his work will lead him to develop his own language of expression.
pencil on paper 29.7 cm x 42 cm.