I am so excited by my painting, right now. So much that I’ve been working to improve has consolidated. This feeling is rare for me. I am self-critical to the point of harshness, and I aspire to mastery. A mastery I feel is within my grasp, with a lifetime of study. I have been furiously copying master sketches by artists such as Seurat, and Ingres, and following their trails further back … following the traces of footsteps back into the past, the influences on influences that takes artists back to the beginning time.
Sometimes, as in the work of Picasso, they loop back to the earliest human artworks, as happened with his inspiration by the cave paintings in Spain and southern France. I have been reminded, though, in looking at so many pre-20th century masterworks of painting, that modern art is truly vibrant and exciting. The 20th century’s experimentation was an astonishing break from the past in art. Like a kid in a sweetshop, I can never get enough.
For hundreds of years previously, really very little changed; though many paintings were said to ‘shock’ the audiences, the changes were small, though the ripples were sometimes large.
I judge it take me a number of years to achieve the mastery of painting that I am working for; how many years, then, until I can choose to break these rules, and do it well?