Friday, February 5, 2010

We're a Sensitive Lot

Artists, it has been my experience, are a shy and sensitive lot. I used Van Gogh's self-portrait (one of many) because he probably heads the list on sensitive in most accounts. After all he cut off his ear. One story is so he could not hear his critics. Some say for his friend Cezanne, who he felt had abandoned him, but it probably had a lot more to do with the lead they put in white paint in those days.

 
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.

1 comment:

  1. Hahaha. Perhaps both you and your professor are right. I know that, most of my life, I've written to get to know myself as I was often perplexed as to just WHO I really was. Convinced that I was a product of child switch at birth though while toddlers many thought my year older brother and I were twins, I was so different than the rest of my family...I thought. :)
    While they were gleefully consuming life, tearing up packages at Christmas and breaking their too, too many toys shortly thereafter I was spying out the window in embarrassment at the trash, wondering why they were going through our discards and pocketing them. I was that humiliated to be born into a rich and seemingly insensitive family. I was that humiliated to run away from home in my teens and to take to the highway and feel the country road beneath my feet as all the folk musicians and I were plucking, strumming and singing about.
    Why are we different? I don't think we are. We are all of the same stardust after all. Yet, some of us have thinner skin, hearts that bleed and eyes that see through walls. ;¬D

    Good blog, Jacqui!

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I appreciate all kind comments on my art and poetry.