Early on, when I was busy absorbing everything I could from art books and instructors, I reached the conclusion that the business of painting had a lot to do with expressing one's thoughts about the things we see and experience - a narrative: a method that I preached at all the plein air workshops I taught.
But time has a way of morphing concepts. Serendipitous introductions to certain artists opened doors to fresh ideas. Pausing mesmerized, before an unforgettable abstract work, plied me with a huge respect for non-objectivity. Abandoning oils and solvents for watercolours and acrylics set me on new paths to expression. Watching my grandchildren paint red horses and blue elephants offered “What if?” possibilities. I gained appreciation for high realism, but unless I can discern some significance, other than workmanship, I have little interest in the genre. Instead, I turned to work that combined elements of abstraction and centres of interest. Today, I try to paint work that reflects how I feel about a subject in an intangible way so that my painting invites the viewer to join me, employing their own resources and interests.
The tendency for artists to repeat a theme can be compelling if they feel that repetition sells. Many artists, like myself, paint because we feel the need to paint, whatever holds our interest. When I accompany a dozen MAA Plein Air painters outside to paint the landscape, the result is 12 different looking paintings, each one displaying an individual, personal way of seeing nature. In time they will claim their own natural style. To create a sense of a narrative, will take inspiration and fore-thought.
Can't wait to start another one. I have a place in mind. . .
The Art of Charles Spratt