By W.R. Jones
This was the view from the bathroom window of my cabin in Driggs, Idaho. I was tired of being out in the cold so thought I would paint standing in a warm room listening to music from the TV. It had to be the bathroom since that was the only place with enough light.
The previous day had been very windy and the wind knocked over my easel which cause a spill of my Gamsol odorless mineral spirits. It is not really odorless; I like the smell that it does have. However, if I don’t have enough ventilation it makes my eyes water so I’m going to guess it is not a healthful product to be breathing longterm.
I was forced to fill my brush cleaner with mineral spirits, that was nowhere near odorless, from the local paint store . Painting in the 5×5 bathroom (with one foot on the stool) while breathing these vapors gave me a headache in short order. When I finished painting I tried to treat the headache with a bottle of wine. This treatment was a failure resulting in a real combo throbber. My conclusion from this limited sample experiment is that it is better for your health to paint in the cold wind.
I think your mistake was the cheap wine. You would never have tried to save on painting materials but you went and bought a three dollar wine. I recommend a good Rioja or one of those rival French drinks. Also, I’m surprised you didn’t get a backache after standing there with one foot on the john all afternoon.
Confucius say: Man who try hard to make self comfortable, make self uncomfortable.
I’ll have to give that some thought. It may be more frugal to stick with the cheap wine and get a big bottle of Advil from Costco.
I passed out once after eating a cheese sandwitch and having a single glass of wine. A Doctor at the hospital told me finer wines taken while eating cheese (or maybe it was cheap wine taken with finer cheese – I can’t remember exactly) can cause a reaction that spikes the blood pressure. Since that episode I’ve pretty much stuck with the 2 Buck Chuck and Snickers.
That doctor was nuts. Here we say “A glass of wine a day keeps the doctor at bay”.
Don’t be like Mark Twain’s cat that once jumped up onto the hot stove and now will never jump up again, even when it’s cold: he learned the wrong lesson. I don’t know what that Buck and Snickers is but it sounds like another bit of American poverty. Just now I had a piece of manchego (from La Mancha) cheese and exclaimed, as I always do: “Best damn thing in the world!” I’ll think of you when I open my next bottle of Rioja.
Two Buck Chuck is a nickname for Charles Shaw wine, Snickers is a chocolate candy bar.
I thought the diagnois strange and unlikely since billions of glasses of wine have been taken with cheese. However, I had not told the doctor about either. I told him my symptoms of a hot flash then black out; he asked me did I have any wine. When I said yes, 1 glass, he ask did I have cheese as well. After answering yes to this he said he thought he knew what happened and went to get me an article describing the reaction that causes the blood pressure spike.
Confucius does have a point there, but does he offer directions as to getting comfortable?
See how an art critic named Nicolas Forrest answers the question you asked me about living art geniuses.
Thanks for taking the time to give me that link. Savants are interesting but I don’t care much for the title genius in any field. I was referring to normal painters who lead normal lifes and have achieved a high level of skill through dedicated effort. There are many such painters but the average person is only exposed to the “famous”.
If you brought back all the old famous masters and gave them new names, e.g. Sever Tisthammer, a dairy farmer from Wisconsin who paints part time, and they painted exactly as they did 600 years ago, do you think they would be recognized as art geniuses?
And another thing on this rant, why would you pay any attention to an art critic? What is the purpose of such a line of work other than entertainment for newspaper readers? It seems to me the only person who would want to be an art critic is someone who can’t make a living as an artist. I say, before listening to an opinion on painters, have the opinion giver show their work. If you wanted a medical opinion would you ask a doctor or a critic of doctors (I guess that would be a lawyer)? And if the person you asked claimed to be a doctor but could not tell a runny nose from a gun shot wound, would you give any credence to his opinion?
No offense, Bill. It’s my fault for teasing you with that dumb article about the autist genius. It turned me off too. You saw the cape and charged right in like the noble bull. Sorry. I’m not sure you would really disqualify someone from judging the merits of a painting who doesn’t know how to paint. Is the only one who can tell good writing a writer? Come on. I can see Mozart’s excellence all over when I listen and I have never composed. The trouble with those critics isn’t that they don’t know how to paint but that they don’t have anything to say. They don’t really get anything out of a picture—most are in the wrong racket.
Anyway, that good things go under and virtue (hard work, sacrifice) go unrewarded doesn’t only happen in painting. What is a serious musician to do nowadays? Or a serious anybody?
I would pretty much dismiss someone from judging painting who does not paint. I would do the same for music and writing. The fact that you enjoy Mozart does not mean you can understand the effort, skill, nuances, difficulty, etc of producing the work. I can read a book and tell it took more skill to write this piece than another. I can watch a movie and tell some actors are better than others at giving a convincing performance; but until I put in a certain amount of effort at writing, singing, golf, etc, I cannot fully appreciate those that are exceptional in their field.
Lots of people enjoy the work of Thomas Kincade but I don’t know anyone who has put a few years into learning to paint who thinks much of his cottages with the same light in every window. Of course, this could just be jealousy.
I suppose a serious musician could become a music/art/golf critic and write for the local paper.
I don’t know how to cook but I could be a food critic. Here’s a sample of my first column: “This stuff tastes good. I don’t like cooked carrots.”
The painter isn’t like a golf player, who is trying to follow the rules and win a game. The painter if he is an artist is trying to communicate something. And to whom? Only to other painters?
But I bet you are the first to complain about elitist art and art for art’s sake. I bet you don’t try to sell your paintings only to other painters, those qualified critics. You want everybody to appreciate them. I think you are giving too much importance to technical achievement (which is understandable in our time). You assume that if the painter knows how to lay his paint on the canvas, we can consider him a good painter. (The Germans have a saying: Übung macht den Meister—practice makes the master, only practice. It might make the master but it doesn’t make the artist.)
It is what is IN his painting that matters, what he paints and how (I don’t mean whether with a brush or a spatula) that says whether he qualifies as the real thing. And that message is for everyone—for everyone to judge. Then there are good critics and bad critics, perceptive people and charlatans—how not?
First of all the Germans should spend less time coming up with wise sayings and more time designing better cars. I have a VW that costs $1000 just to change the spark plugs.
Second of all, I’m the first to complain about anything. I like my life soft and on a platter.
I absolutely do not assume that technical knowledge leads to good paintings. Painted anatomy illustrations can show great technical skill but don’t usually evoke much emotion when viewed.
Design and execution are both required to produce a painting that has wide appeal/impact/ability to evoke an emotional response.
I simply think you must have spent some time struggling to learn a skill in order to appreciate the skill of those who do it well.
I was in spin class at the gym yesterday thinking of how, even though I was huffing and puffing and sort of suffering, I could not appreciate the effort required to train for and compete in the Tour de France. Conceptually I can say the words, yep it sure must be hard, but I don’t have first hand knowledge of what it takes in hours of training and suffering.
And finally I, like the full time critics, will continue to give my opinions however ignorant I am of the issues. Blowing whiffle dust is a hobby of mine.