Van Gogh with Easel
Artists are in constant conflict. We have to spend hours and hours alone with our muse in our studios, and then upon command go forth to charm our public who, no doubt in their total innocence, will say something artless. And being sensitive souls we will take the criticism to heart. And wounded, limp back to our studios, to be accused of our egotism and aloofness. As a painfully shy child and youth I was more often than not accused of being conceited. (I am not convinced that shyness has gone away. I am just better at acting than I once was.)
I bring this painful subject up today because I have to sally forth to expose myself and my techniques and my art to that public, which I am already sure, loves all the other artists in my little corner of the world better. Ah, shades of the Smothers' Brothers. But my mother DID love my brother best.
And because I play in a Facebook Photography group, which normally plays very well together, but not this week. The artistic soul is finely tuned to wound others as well as fall upon our own swords . . . er palette knives or camera mono-pods. Cutting off ones ear is extreme but not out of the realm of the artistic experience. Dad always said I needed to develop a thicker skin to play well with others. Mother, on the other hand, maintained I would never play well with others because I was too self-absorbed.
I play quite well with my paints. On most days I get along well with my muse. But I must admit that from time to time my studio is just a large cave with sunshine that I crawl into so I can lick my wounds.
So why do artists, if they are not self-absorbed, paint so many self-portraits? I had a professor that maintained they could not afford a model. I think they did not want to endure a model in their private little space.