Sunday, August 2, 2009

Dr. Johnson could never persevere in keeping a journal

Land's End
Sharon A. Hart

mixed media - Watercolor & paper

Writing 457 He [Johnson] told me that he had twelve or fourteen times attempted to keep a journal of his life but never could persevere. Boswell, Life of Johnson, Vol. 1.

When I elected to initiate this blog it was fueled by the desire to share a glimpse of the artistic process and allied interests with others. To this end, I feel the blog has been successful. It did, however, create a form of blockage to the painting process, a form of procrastination that created interference by the act of deciding whether to pick up a brush or put my fingers to the keyboard. Consequently, since January I have avoided writing in this public forum so that my real love, painting, would not be sacrificed.

Whereas there are numerous artists who have brought something "new" to art, I have always sensed that the role of the artist is to make others see seasoned landscapes anew. Whether it be a "landscape of emotion" or a pastoral scene, the artist is challenged to expand one's perception and enter into a dialogue with the artist, the medium, and one's self.

During an interview, Nancy Ireson, curator at the National Gallery of Art in London, said: "There is a Renoir that we know, the chocolate box Renoir, and there is a secret Renoir.

"Renoir wasn't so keen on showing them, some were unfinished, and they wouldn't have commanded the same prices, but landscapes were absolutely integral to his life.

In a way he used landscapes to test himself."

I suspect that Renoir was not alone in painting landscapes as a vehicle for expanding his skills and vision; one can readily reflect on Monet's Haystacks series which effectively examined expression of transient appearances – unvarying the motif -- viewed always from the same angle, only the light would change, depending on the season, the weather and the time of day. Monet's experimentation left the world richer and continues to inspire other artists, expanding their perception of the universe unfolding. Kandinsky, after seeing several of Monet's haystack paintings, wrote in his memoirs: “What suddenly became clear to me was the unsuspected power of the palette, which I had not understood before and which surpassed my wildest dreams”.

Since January, I have been doing some experimental work and exploring the concept of "pure landscape" painting, a genre devoid of the human form or other aspects that would initiate the viewer's immediate placement of the scene in the annuals of chronology, mythology, or national geography. I have no idea where this adventure will end or how often I may abandon the brush for the keyboard, but rest assured Creativity will find her way through the labyrinth one way or another.

Brief History of Landscape Painting