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Inspired Art

Even artists who confess no particular belief in God, cannot deny moments or periods of inspiration. Inspired art however continues to be decried by the critics as something to be downplayed. The opposite of de-bunking any kind of inspiration is not painting at all until a supernatural feeling or image is conjured.
Living near the California coast I often watch surfers. They will surf set after set of mediocre waves before catching anything good. They might be out there day after day waiting for a truly good wave. They know however that they must practice on the average to be ready for those which have excellent shape and length. When an experienced surfer catches and rides really good waves it is truly wonderful to see.
It seems to be an inspired moment but perhaps I am stretching the meaning to broadly.
Being inspired means experiencing something quite beyond our normal range of awareness. We see something we never quite saw before. We are able to follow a line of nature that had eluded us, a particular hue is mixed that was unattainable before, a look or feel is imparted to a painting that goes beyond a natural ability. In between these apparent bursts of insight are often long periods of mechanically working out a composition. We follow principals, work on balance, symmetry and contrast for effect. We are like the surfer catching all those mediocre waves while trying to perfect technique.
Inspired art translates into all phases of life. In business we come up with a solution we never imagined before. It just comes to us. It seems to have been inside us all the time, but from beyond us as well. We see inspired moments in sports, in music, in carpentry, in architecture, in the way a nurse treats a patient. There is a certain joy we experience. Because it is so illusive, it is a waste of time to seek after it. All that we can do is be about our task, pay attention, concentrate, be aware. It is the process that we must enjoy…the journey.
If God, a supernatural understanding, the Muse somehow pays us a visit and expands our experience, then all the better. Regardless, inspired art comes in remarkably small portions. If we are not paying attention it might elude us time after time. If we are not busy with our craft we will of course, never notice at all. It is my feeling that even the greats like Delacroix or Picasso or Rembrandt, out of the hundreds and hundreds of completed works, count to themselves but ten or twelve they hold especially dear.

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Gestation in Abstract Art

We have all seen humorous cartoons of artists lazily sitting around waiting for inspiration to strike.  The wife or girlfriend is stirring a pot of beans, waiting as well,  but for money to buy groceries and essentials.  The article topic, Gestation in abstract art is something I have been thinking about for some time.  Gestation of course refers usually to the period of time a baby is in the womb, prior to birth.  However the term can be aptly applied to bringing forth an abstract work of art.04

Because abstract art finds its source and inspiration from something other than nature, an entirely different set of constructions needs to occur.  These partially reside in our sub-conscious and come from a source that is not seen.  One can’t go out into the hills, set up the easel and begin to paint.  Abstract art heralds a different form that must first come from an inner resource.   I have learned to develop or allow to develop this important first step and I think it could be aptly called the ‘creative period of gestation’.  There is something stirring, an emotion or a feeling or a hint of some abstract form and this needs to develop internally.  Exterior references do not seem to help.

Earlier in my career I spent time designing homes.  There was always considerable time just thinking about the design before anything could be drawn.  Fortunately I was fairly good at visualization.  The process for painting, especially for painting abstracts is not too different.  Sometimes there is just a very brief glimpse or hint or direction or feeling.   If we can be very still we can internalize this and develop the image.  It is however impossible to develop the work completely, or even partially but it is possible to get a good ‘lock’ on an impression.  That impression or shape or form or feeling begins to go through this gestation process before it is eventually given birth or in artistic terms, manifested on canvas.

The  beauty and wonder of abstract painting is that once we provide the impetus to a painting,  a certain magic comes about and the painting begins to develop its’ own force and identity.  Sometimes there is a feeling that I am just the facilitator and that the painting begins to dictate which direction to go and which hues to incorporate.  This is a fantastic experience.  I suppose not unlike the process of seeing good jazz develop.04

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Buying Abstract Art

There are essentially four categories when choosing to buy abstract art.  There are of course the greats.  These are the masters who, starting with Kandinsky forged an entirely new style of painting.  I know of only a half dozen people personally who could afford a Picasso or Miro or Gris or Braque.  These paintings are usually in the hands of a few collectors and the rest reside in museums.  Prints of course, can always be purchased through clearing houses.15.jpg

Secondly there are artists living today who are still producing…men such as Gerhardt Richter but their prices are also very, very high.  The dilemna with artists such as Richter is that their work is so popular they complain about not having time to paint.  So much time is spent administering sales and shows that there is little time to be truly creative.  Many of these esteemed and established abstract artists sometimes find themselves in fairly long droughts of being unable to produce new, substantial work.

There is a third category and in terms of price these artists post prices for paintings that is much more in the reach of the average art lover.  They are showing in galleries and the galleries have commissions as high as 60%, but they are selling.  With the internet these artists can be sought out much more easily than before.  They are often at the peak of performance and produce very exciting, dramatic work.  By visiting galleries or by searching the internet these fairly well established artists are creating excellent abstract work.

The fourth category is that of the so-called, ’emerging artists’.  They are quietly painting away in England, America, South America, Canada and Australia – all over the world.  Many of these artists are so involved in developing their craft, they have little time or expertise to develop even a decent web site.  Emerging artists who paint abstracts, when found, can present some excellent opportunities.  First of all you may find one whose style truly resonates with you personally.  The work can usually be purchased in the $2,000 – $5,000 range so there is a very good chance the work will increase in value.   The important thing is you are purchasing a true,  original painting.  Some of these artists who have begun to sell and who have managed to place their work on the internet can be more easily discovered just by simple word searches.