The Art of Charles Sovek
Gallery Workshops Speaking of Art Biography Lessons from the Easel Feedback Home

Speaking of Art | Archives

15 June 2006

Painting - "Place de Abbesses, Paris"
"Place de Abbesses, Paris"
It seems the more accomplished a painter becomes the wider the trap doors of what I dub "The "Masterpiece Syndrome" yawn open. And both students and pros can be affected. It seems to work like this. You toil hard to develop some skills. After a while some results begin surfacing. Your confidence starts increasing. A sale or prize is garnered. Perhaps a gallery tells you they can move your work. Life is good.

Being the imaginative creatures that we are, however, hazy visions of grandeur can't help but congregate around the peripherals of our psyche. And that's okay. The trap is when one day you pick up a brush and whisper to yourself "This one's going to be a real winner." Nothing wrong, mind you, with positive thinking. But if perpetuated, going for a masterpiece every time can lead one down the shifty road to stagnation. Remember the very reason you paint is to express yourself. Right? And in so doing a clear head is mandatory. Ideally one should tackle each motif with a brand new set of visual tools, which takes great humility. And here's the hard part. By approaching everything like it's the first time you've ever painted, a zone of uniqueness is established. You are in unexplored territory and while possibly scared silly, you find the ride totally exhilarating. And when it's over and the painting is complete you may even wonder just how you ever managed pulling it off. And that's okay. Only writers need to explain themselves.

Now imagine approaching a subject with a goal in mind. It could be a desire for a sale, or recognition, or ego gratification. Whatever preconception, it will probably bar you from that zone of uniqueness you fell into so easily when your mind was open. It would be nice if every painter reading this essay could crank out a masterpiece. Lots of them. Every day. But art doesn't operate that way. A fine painting is a fragile gift sporadically given when you least expect it. I tell my students that you never know when a good picture is going to surface. You could have ideal conditions, an excellent motif, and skill galore but you just might crash and burn. You also may be having a rotten day, left some favorite brushes at home, are being pestered to death by onlookers and bitten by bugs but darn if the painting doesn't come out astonishingly well. And so it goes.

Home | Gallery | Workshops | Lessons from the Easel | Biography | Feedback

 Copyright © 2016 - All Rights Reserved - Charles Sovek