Sunday, 7 February 2010

What is Art? The question raises its head again.

Blogging is a strange thing to be involved in really. It is very personal cathartic almost. It allows one to gather their thoughts and express opinions that in other place you might keep to yourselves. Having said that I have realised it is also very similar to sitting on a barstool and saying things you would be better keeping to yourself, because others are listening. I have become very aware that there are more people reading this blog than those who have signed up and can be seen on the front page. I have been getting many private emails and because they are private they really should remain just that, very private. If somebody expresses a personal opinion on the comments of this blog, that is different, then I feel free to make comment but strangely reluctant to do so.

We have touched on the topic, or raised the question, a number of times in the last week or so. What is Art? I suppose we could also ask the question in a slightly different way, “How do we recognise good art?” One person, maybe more than one, has expressed the opinion that, I know nothing about art. They are entitled to their views and respect and admire them for making them.

Having said that I got up early this morning with thoughts in my head about today’s blog. I had some thoughts that came to me yesterday as I walked round a caravan show looking at all the latest and best new models, knowing that there was no chance of me purchasing one. Trouble was before I began to write I read two emails I had received while I was on the night train to today. These two emails have aroused so much emotion in me today that I cannot find it in me to write anything, thoughtful, meaningful or with any depth.

I have not asked their permission to use them and so if they get in touch with me later today, as I have no doubt they will I will be happy to remove what they said, and we can have a day with no blog because I will just leave the pictures.

I quote them both but will not identify either. I apologise in advance that I have changed the spelling to the weird way we spell on this side of the pond.

1 Ralph, I have nothing but time so I had a good old look through your gallery. Wonderful paintings, all of them, but this is my favourite because it is particular, unusual, "one of a kind" and so much more than another flower by another artist. It has colour, movement, dance and fun all in one!

2 As you know I saved the Midnight Poppies you sent in the email as my screen saver. You know I look at those bright red poppies and I smile. First thing everyday they make me smile. I see so much heart in this piece; the poppies seem to be overflowing with love. I look at your Abstract MM and smile....I see the heart here also. I look at Stormy Day Along the Coastal Path, Along the Shore on a Wild Day...and I feel the wind, I feel the heart you've put in these pieces; its like seeing a part of you. I don't think you realize what emotions people see in your paintings and just how wonderful they are.

The person in the second quotation then goes on to make some less than complimentary comments about one of her own paintings. Let me say it now both of the above are producing works of art I would be proud to call my own.

It is so strange, or maybe not so strange. But you know it is easier to accept the comments made by the first two people who said I know nothing of art than these two comments of astounding praise way beyond anything I am worthy of.

What is very interesting is the pictures these two people have chosen to comment on. They are all so different and yet all have one thing in common, they painted themselves, or my little lovely ladies and I were at one in spirit on those days.

I thank them from the bottom of my heart today for the emotions they have created within me. I will beg to differ with their opinions.

This brings me back to the big question. What is Art? Seems we might all have to agree that it is in the eye of the beholder. But better it was there than in the pockets of the wealthy as I so often suspect it might be.

I am confused and overwhelmed at the same time. But I know who I believe.


  1. Hi Ralph, I am alive, it is a good day! "They painted themselves", now I am quoting YOU! I certainly understand this concept. My "best" paintings, although still in the "dribble" catagory and my best ironwork have certainly created themselves. The brush just flows and the torch just does its thing with little thought from me at all. Five hours can go by as fast as five minutes and time stands still. It ceases to be mechanical and developes a life of its own. When finished I always stand back and wonder how the heck did I do that?

  2. I volunteered for awhile at a home for the mentally challenged teaching arts and crafts. Two participants remain forever in memory. One 38 yr old man always selected empty toilet paper rolls; he would glue and sculpt these into creations he clutched to his chest at the end of the day just grinning ear to ear. A 15 year old girl attacked paper with pencils and tore many sheets to shreds. After weeks of encouragement she was able to make circles and not tear the paper. She attempted to glue her finished masterpiece to the all with saliva. The supers of the home framed and mounted it for her. Neither the toilet paper roll sculptures or circles on paper were gallery pieces but the will be visible to me forever. Each person has a different vision of beauty and art although others may not understand or appreciate the vision.

  3. Ok. let me respond to both of those. I love that which is different Jerry. I am looking a tyour poppies and yes they have yellow centres. Do I say I have never seen poppies with yellow centres? Not at all i say I must keep my eyes open because I want to see those for real. Ruby thanks for the beautiful story I am sure that will raise its head a few times in the future.