Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Living with Art

Painting by David B. Johnson. Sideboard built by David C. Johnson
 Recently, an artist posted a photograph and what struck me about the image was the big, blank wall in the background.  This made me think about what motivates artists to create.  Perhaps for some artists, it is the making that most delights.  For me, it is simply the joy of seeing.  I make art so I can see an image always. In the making of a painting, an image is imprinted on my heart.
       Before my serious pursuit of art making, David and I collected art.  I enjoyed seeing the world through an other's eyes and I still do.  Living with paintings and seeing them everyday brings a lot of joy. It is actually this joy of seeing and living with other artists' work that pushed me to create my own artwork.  There were scenes that I wanted to capture and keep.  I wanted to be able to wake up in the morning and see an apple tree in Browning's Orchard.  I wanted to remember Jacob and Mary testing the cold water of Gouldsboro Bay in Maine.  Later, I wanted to learn more about my mother's and my father's families; so I painted them.  It worked!  I came to know family members I had never met by studying their image very closely.

Center painting by Diane Kahlo, Pastoral Symphony. Surrounding paintings from the Ancestral Album series, Kathy Rees Johnson.


     Now, I am expanding my viewpoint by teaching. Encouraging the development of a personal visual vocabulary, once again, I am able to vicariously see the world through others' eyes. For me, this is an exhilarating experience: the joy of seeing how others see!         

    Recently, I revisited an article on Pierre Bonnard. He declared that he did not so much care about painting and drawing; he just wanted to live the artist's life.  This holds deep meaning for me. Experiencing the world through its beauty (not mere prettiness!) is what informs and feeds my spirit. Painting allows me hold on to this beauty.

If there is a photo taken at home, there is a painting somewhere in the scene.  Behind John and his two short aunts, is Fay Moore's Pastorale.

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed this blog post--- beautifully written. My music philosophy aligns very well with your art philosophy. I am traveling to Haiti in October to research the beliefs of children and parents regarding the value of music and the arts within a different culture. It should be really interesting to hear their perspectives. ~Kevin