Archive for April 6th, 2008

It’s not very creative if you keep tilling the same field over and over. That makes you an art farmer, not a creative artist. (Gordon Matheson)

Since several recent posts referenced Thomas Kinkade, this seemed a good time to touch on the subject of ‘retilling ground’.

I revisit subject matter – any artist does – but, given my very low tolerance for repetition and equally low threshold for boredom, each painting needs to be different enough from anything else I’ve ever painted to keep me excited. I’ve painted several bronc-riding images, and no doubt will paint many more – the attitudes, positions, light, color, my own interpretations of composition – all should serve to expand my horizons on the topic in some way. The same holds true for bison, bears, or barrel-racers.

In fact, this need to explore probably nudged me out of the I-only-paint-wildlife category. I love animals, obviously…but wild animals, 99% of the time, are standing around or eating or lying down, or some combination of the above. The other 1% of the time they’re mating, or trying to kill / avoid being killed. This means that my chances of seeing them in a state of high excitement and action are very low. Once you’ve painted three or ten images of bison mostly standing around, you’re looking for something else to do. Rodeo, on the other hand, is guaranteed nonstop action, excitement, and color for two hours or more. The variations of position, color, and light are almost infinite.

The real point here is about artistic growth. There are plenty of artists who become known for something and render it well…and then coast along there, not really pushing or growing. How much more interesting to continue in a quest to say something wonderful and original! I plan to paint until I drop dead at my easel, and if I’m to stay engaged for the next 4+ decades, I’d better be pushing all the while.


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