“The main thing is to be moved, to love, to hope, to tremble, to live.” Auguste Rodin
There is a mysterious moment when the artist stands in front of the blank canvas waiting for the inner energy to bubble forth. When a viewer stops to look at my work and asks what inspired me I want to give them the long answer. I have to admit this has happened and the viewer’s eyes have been known to glaze over out of boredom. So just how do we present “the story” that fueled the painting that stopped the passing viewer?
For some artists who are painting in a theme or a series, the energy is already flowing and easy to tap into. Even with the familiar experience, however, there can be that moment of contemplation, “how do I get this painting going?”
Please notice how long I have taken to get to the question, “what inspired me…” You get the point. There is for me and other artists no easy answer. So let me try again - ahem. Let’s see now. There is the cliché stuff like sunsets, really, and sand dunes and cloud formations and, and….
Then there are the times when that special inner energy is easily tapped and sometimes it is agonizing. Staring at a blank canvas is an ancient experience, I think, like moments when multiple surprises come together, almost as if spirits are taking advantage of the pause. Those are very euphoric and blessed moments, we artists live for that Adrenalin rush. When it doesn’t work, when calling on inspirational keys doesn’t click, it is torture filled with self-questioning.
|we are stardust expression in acrylic 36x36|
exhibited at Shiawassee Art Center March 14 - April 23, 2017
Some of the inspirational keys come from exploring a painting technique like the wide swaths of paint in we are stardust.
Nautilus (below) was inspired by a conch shell that has been sitting on a shelf in our home. Some inspiration comes from an interplay of materials in hand - thin or thick or fluid mixes in action. Sometimes the inspiration hits the right beat with the music playing and we find the brush almost taps by itself.
It is all so interesting – the business of being inspired and the outcome of creating.
|NAUTILUS 24x24 diamond acrylic|
to be exhibited at Riverwalk Theatre, Lansing Michigan April 5 to May 30
|Large conch shell on the shelf|
What is coming up.
This has been a busy Spring for showing my art – two paintings at the MEA building just off of Saginaw, East Lansing for the 53rd exhibit of Michigan educators art; groupings of some of my favorite paintings in two galleries of the Shiawassee Art Center Owosso, Michigan; and coming up in April a series of Joel Ellis Art in the beautiful lobby of the Riverwalk Theater off Museum Drive near Impressions5 science museum.
Other news – my grandson, Tyler Smith, a graduating senior from Grand Valley State University, has three drawings selected for the Michigan Collegiate Art Exhibition currently exhibiting at Lansing Art Gallery, downtown Lansing, reception and awards March 24 6-8 p.m.
I am honored that the venues are available to artists in mid-Michigan and that I am included. Think original art for home and office.
There is beauty all around us, enjoy.