Painting is something of a way of life. It can hardly be termed a destination (destination..presumably from the same root as 'destiny'). It is, of course, a journey and, just like the musician, perhaps the best for which we can hope, is to be, but another songbird in the garden.
Vincent is reported to have been asked why he had to use a visual reference and why he did not just paint from his imagination. He replied that he had tried and that he couldn't do it. Interesting, as his works show paintings that are a long way from realism and the finished product (increasingly more so as his work developed) seemed to use the fields before him (or the model) as but a starting point for his vivid and colourful imagination.
There are many painters whose work is both realistic and artistic. There are many who I would personally like to emulate; who spend days and weeks over a portrait (or landscape or still life) and create an image which is both representational yet makes your heart sing. Sometimes there is a dash of colour; sometimes, an indication in the composition; sometimes, an atmosphere in the tonal values that lifts the spirit and makes life so much the richer.
We are but, of course, a product of our times. If we, as primary children, grew up with prints of Picasso on the walls, how can we do anything but be sympathetic to his work. In the age of photography, what is the point of emulating the photograph.
I've spent the last few days painting landscapes from the imagination. They are, in part, inspired by Dennis Sheehan (check out his videos) who manages to stand in front of his canvas and paint 'tonal' landscapes of extraordinary depth using simple colours and pure imagination.
From the half dozen or so which I have done recently, I think I like this one the best. It looks quite simple and quickly executed but is the result of several attempts.
There is a danger of just painting the same picture over and over again and perhaps soon, I'll go out and do some 'plain air' work although I'm not sure that the quality of my painting increases by painting outdoors.
This was completed today:
as was this:
they look a bit better in real life...