Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Relief Regarding Creative Anxiety

Not a Richter but it has a similar feel. I've been
wondering what it would take to render my digital
works on canvas... if I would even know how. 
I am watching a German language documentary on Gerhard Richter. They are trying to film his creative process and it is messing him all up. He is a quiet person, reserved in public and not the kind of guy who can lecture. Which is what it seems the documentary director wants him to do. He just wants to paint. But things are not going well for him with this series that he is creating.

He talks to the camera person about it. He articulates the feelings that I have about performing sketch or painted art. What happens when you are watched is that you do not work with the same freedom of expression. To the artist this shows in the work and in the heart. Those observing do not see the conflict growing within the artist. It changes the work. He and his work are the quanta. The more they are observed the more they change. Unlike the quanta, the artist can refuse to be observed.

He is a quiet man and seems a bit terrified to even be at his show in the Nation Portrait Gallery in London. Portraits are not his sole production. I rather do like his modern atmospheric paintings. They seem like giant monoprints.  But I know they are not; paint and a squeegee with instinct made those works.

He works without a plan and works until it is done. I watch him and I see in his face when a piece is complete. But I could not tell you which of the painting's qualities he considered to be the key to a successful painting. And he could not tell the documentarist. I relate to this method. And I see things in the work that I would consider the benchmark of success. But I will never know that he and I see the same things. At some point he says that the painter and the viewer have to have only one thing in common, and that is to know that a painting is good of its own merit. He did not say that we would have to agree on what made it good.

I am finding quite a lot in this that is very helpful to me in a an aesthetic, spiritual way though nothing practical in his methods as Richter and I do not have a similar style. I do believe that we have a similar temperament. He was a serious child. A serious teen and a mature art student who though that the boy who whistled at his easel was working too hard to enjoy his own works. Richter believes that one must always look on one's work with a critical eye. Really, how else will you know if you are on the right track?  It was when he was asked about his relationship to his mother and her own mature personality that made him such as he is.

He said that "You don't want to believe your parents And you can see through them pretty good." 

Which seems to fly in the face of what most people would assume to be true. Most of the world says that we want to believe in our parents and that a good deal of our issues with reality is the extreme disappointment we feel when the reality that our parents helped to mold dissolves painfully or dramatically when we experience the world outside of the home. I was one of those kids as well. I wanted to believe some things that I was told. But there were things that I fought to disbelieve. The things that I know in my soul are true, the things that I could trust because the heart never really lies to you as it has no need to be placated, those things I fought to hold on to. I disbelieved a good many things I was told and yet was very gullible about others. I do wish that they has asked him what sorts of things he did not want to believe. A child raised on Goethe is bound to be a serious one. Of course being a Winter baby, an Aquarius, Goethe may have had nothing at all to do with anything.

Nearing the end of the film, I can see where he became more comfortable with observation. Having gotten used to the camera a bit, the cameraman and the questions he approaches the green series for this installation with more certainty. He almost attacks the canvases that were about to give him fits in the beginning stage. Now, as before, when he drags the squeegee it seems if he is pulling a layer of film to reveal the painting. Almost as if unwrapping a present.

Definitely a present.

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