"Artists are artists because they can do nothing else..." So declared one of my professors. I'm sure the statement was worded to set us thinking. I don't know if he or she coined it or was quoting, or even exactly which professor it was, but since history has shown that, in fact, artists are capable of doing a great variety of things, I have taken the statement to mean that an artist is undeniably compelled to produce works of Art.
As artists' careers develop, their work is driven by also developing their own "philosophy"-- why they do what they do. A lot of contemporary visual Art is driven by the desire to provide a completely different experience. Using this motivation as a ruler, a pile of rope in the middle of a room or one hundred tennis shoes nailed to a wall is seen as valid Fine Art by many critics. In our jaded world we are bombarded by so much visual stimulus each day that perhaps their memorable quirkiness alone does give such works value.
I have simplified my task as a painter to the base. Basically, a "true" painter strives primarily to explore the manipulation of paint for the visual effects it can offer, which with oil paint can be vast and wonderful. Consequently, oil has dominated painting as the preferred medium for centuries. Much of my art career has been devoted to examining the traditional methods of oil painting, developed in the late Renaissance and standardly practiced before the turn of the 20th century. A restorer, I have repaired hundreds of antique works and seized this opportunity as a painter to study the techniques of the 16th through 20th century masters and apply them to my own compositions. These landscapes, cityscapes, portraits, still lifes and figure studies embody the knowledge gained from years of exploring and examining first-hand what qualities stand the test of time – the only true measure of "Fine" Art.
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