On Painting

It's just you and it, and that’s great

“You have to have something that you don’t ask anybody else about. I’ve always been aware of that with painting. No one else can really help you, or say whether it’s good or bad. It’s just you and it, and that’s great. You can handle everything else in your life much more easily, because you have that place where you are on your own.”
— Lois Dodd

“… And I began to understand that you learn from any position, and not necessarily by any abstract imperative, inevitable steps, teleological necessities, etc. — and least of all from any trends, movements, or coteries. You learn from your own temperament. You learn from what you loved at your beginning, in my case (in my case, that Rembrandt etching). You learn, above all, by trusting your innermost orders, and by consenting to your deepest aloneness.”
— Rosemarie Beck

9x12 oil/paper/panel at Samuel Lewis State Park, painting with friends on a cloudy, misty, raw day

Recently I’ve had opportunities to meet and paint outdoors with other painters who I admire immensely. I did not seek out these opportunities. They came to me by some mysterious working of the cosmos (and social media). These few other painters and I connect on a unique dimension.

This is new for me. Typically, the intrinsic solitary nature of painting is one of the reasons I paint. I love the alone-ness of painting. But there is a simultaneous strong yearning to connect with other painters, and there is a lot to be gained, through osmosis, simply by being in the same vicinity and painting with other like-minded folks for a few hours.

Still, in the end, the painting itself is always and forever an utterly solitary pursuit. And I do agree with Lois. This is great.

oil/matte board 10x19 1/2 at Valley Forge National Park painting with friends and a warm sunny day

Stacy CaldwellComment