A Work of Art

I am convinced that anyone, let me repeat that, anyone, can create a work of art. This is not really a revelation, as refrigerator doors all across America are routinely filled with the works of budding artists. Adult works by those taking their first art class often make very acceptable work. The pride of creation finds many of these nascent works gracing walls and coffee tables of the creators, their family, and their friends. However, it is not merely the technical proficiency, or lack there of, that make an outstanding work of art. There have been some in their teens whose mastery of materials is just astounding. So, what does all this mean to me as a life-long artist?

Recently, while driving on a lengthy trip, listening to my radio, an ad played for Piano Greats, one of those compilation CDs of great pianists of the past. You know, the likes of Glenn Gould and Rachmaninoff, those types. This started me thinking, to pondering great musicians and then, naturally, visual artists. When someone begins playing the piano, they commence by learning the notes and scales. If they show talent, they soon can bang out a recognizable tune. If they persist in their new vocation, they will quickly be making respectable music. But, BUT if they have that innate feeling for their instrument, which some possess, and they work, work, work at the craft, their playing will transcend merely playing the notes as written on the sheet music. At some point, through talent, hard work, and experience, those few notable musicians transcend merely following the notes, and begin to have a conversation with the music, creating a dialog between them, the piano, the music, and the audience, which goes beyond mere sheet music.

For me, as a visual artist, I have transcended that feeling of merely placing paint on canvas to recreate a recognizable image, with some alacrity. My work now ventures into the realm of having a conversation with the canvas. The stories told by my paintings, are my stories, yes. But ultimately what they mean to me is secondary, because once I release them into the world the story is, in large part, no longer my own. The viewer is free to tell themselves whatever story they perceive. But my own personal conversation remains within me. Contained in my work is that marriage of artist, brush, color, and canvas that has baffled and pleased humans for centuries. Sometimes I begin by painting a song and end up painting a sonata.

Comments
  1. Profile photo of Kevin P Callahan
    // Reply

    Thank you Richard. I always suspect that if we were not artists we might be subject to detainment for our “hearing voices” that command us to go forth and create. Often (as with many artists) I may be the only one heeding the instructions inside my own head. Quite often to the bewilderment of those around us.

  2. Profile photo of Richard Reeve
    // Reply

    I absolutely agree, Kevin. Everyone has art in them and can create works of art, whether it be visual, written, musical, or movement. As a long time scientist i find it depressing that art is often given so little emphasis and funding within the school systems, despite the well documented positive effects such creative release has on children’s mental development. I “came to art” fairly late in my life and have drifted into digital graphic art from photography over the last few years. And I love it. I love the fact that sometimes I get an idea and it almost burns away inside me until i have explored what i am going to do with it.