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The problem in art

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I am an abstract artist. My medium is oil painting, often painting on primed board. My wife and I live in San Diego, California.

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One of Einstein’s better quotes is that a problem cannot be resolved by the same consciousness that created it. We might have thought this ourselves but never phrased it so succinctly. It is true though, right? Our consciousness needs to change, but, then, we ask how do we accomplish that.? The intent and the endeavor are serious enough. We need this kind of resolution practically every day. The making of art however demands a certain extra twist.
A recent, small painting created for me some unusual and frankly, surprising difficulties. There was a certain pre-conceived idea, very vague, an undefined feeling that was floating around in my head. So, I started in. Two months later I became aware of what Einstein had referred to. The problems that came to the surface could not be resolved by the original vision, the original conception. A shift was necessary, but the particular shift of direction could not be ascertained except by sitting in front of this small painting in contemplation. Only in this way was I able to articulate what I was after, what i was feeling, what the painting (in its’ partial state) was saying to me, to my very deep inner experience. This is the problem in art. It is ever present because it represents our own presence, our own awareness.
TO be honest, especially with this little painting – 18 in. x 20 in. only I struggled considerably. I worked on it on and off for three months. It became a sort of meditation and in fact, spawned a couple writings having to do, of all things, with my boyhood. The shift in consciousness probably had more to do with a shift in awareness…what did this dash of yellow represent or what if I changed the hue of the clouds? What if I changed literally the color of the umbrella’s and the tilt of the man’s hand? Art makes it’s own demands and if we are compliant enough, we make the change…we follow the lead.

1 thought on “The problem in art

  1. Michael, Thanks for the good insight on problem solving; how the everyday tasks can be informed by artistic creativity. I will ponder that insight about how a new twist of insight is needed to bring resolution, an innovation that is in some valuable way different from the original problem itself. Surely this is the way we resolve artistic and musical puzzles and challenges to get from “here” to “there” and sometimes back again.

    –Bro. Joshua

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