Friday, November 30, 2012

taking inspiration

Back when being an artist was just a dream, I worked my way through Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way not once, but twice. One of the ideas in the book that has always stuck with me is the concept of the artist's date. This is the gift to oneself of an hour, an afternoon, a day, pursuing some activity that feeds the creative soul. A museum, a movie, an art supply store, a class, a lecture, a walk in the woods -- whatever form it takes, the idea is to have a time away from production, doing something nurturing and fun.

Living in Torrey, museums and art supply stores are in scant supply, but services such as Netflix are readily available. The website's search feature allows keywords, such as artist names, to be entered in pursuit of interesting films and short features. Such an exploration produced the 2011 film Gerhard Richter Painting, which I watched last night.

This film on the 80-year-old artist is a treasure for anyone interested in art to see, but it is especially relevant and resonant for cold wax painters because it shows Richter at work, applying paint to huge canvases, moving it around, scraping it off (with fascinating huge acrylic scrapers), painting over, editing, adding, revising, never really sure it is done -- in short, at least for me, many of the same processes and dynamics that I go through, if on a smaller scale. And many of his remarks ring true, for example in explaining the principal hue of a first layer of paint laid down: "The plan is for green. That is why there is so much red."

My choice on Netflix of Gerhard Richter Painting was happenstance; I had not heard of it and knew nothing about it (and not much about Richter). So it was a delightful surprise. I kept the film in my "active" queue of Netflix choices, and look forward to watching it again, when the absence of surprise will allow for a deeper reading. For me, it provided inspiration and moral support, to see such an accomplished artist at work, hear his thoughts about his creative world, and so strongly identify with both.

The image above is Richter's "Abstraktes Bild" ("Abstract Painting"), 45" x 28", 2005, Catalogue RaisonnĂ© 891-3, found on his most informative website.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Gerard Richter is fantastic, I have seen some of his abstracts in Germany, they sell for very high prices!