COMMENTARY: What Painting Can Do


Eugene Delacroix “Tiger and Snake”

I have told myself a hundred times that painting – that is, the material thing called a painting – is no more than a pretext, the bridge between the mind of the painter and the mind of the spectator.

-Eugene Delacroix

The creation of a painting acts as a model of the examined life. What do you see when you look inside? The painter has a chance to represent this inner vision for us all to experience.

The work of the most inspired artists I’ve known acts as an extension of their personalities. The intuitive artist makes art that is a demonstration of their character. It is an act of faith and love to be so open with others about our own natures.

To look at what many establishment contemporary artists offer, you would think their personal mental, emotional and spiritual life consisted of lifeless echoes of vapid mass media offerings, political panderings, vague recyclings of other artists’ ideas, and technical formulas.

I don’t believe such limited offerings really reach who they are, and bring it out for the world to see. They’re falling short of the ultimate destination: self knowledge shared as a communion with their fellow humanity.

It’s a scary place to head for, and the current mentality of the art establishment discourages it. Exploring the state of the soul is impolite; it doesn’t always look hip and savvy, and is just too raw and genuine for those who hide behind a pseudo-sophisticated façade-and façade is what the elites are all about.

But the world within is the only destination worth heading for.

Art is the record of that journey.

10. The making of true art is man’s desire to communicate with himself, his fellows and his God. Art that fails to address these issues is not art.

-Billy Childish and Charles Thomson, The Remodernism Manifesto


7 thoughts on “COMMENTARY: What Painting Can Do

  1. Richard, excellent blog! I’m with you. I know my art is VERY personal because it is a dialogue with myself and the mystery of life as it presents itself to me. The same with my writing. Art for me is all about expressing who I am, which is an ongoing process that is both painful and pleasurable. And when I experience other people’s art I connect with their pain and their pleasure. Therefore, universal.

  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! It’s true that art captures the range of human experience, it’s great you’ve got these ways to share your insights with us.

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