Learning from the Masters

It is a joy to watch another artist going through the processes of bringing an artwork to life that confirms your own practice and inspires you to continue. When this groundbreaking painter is recognised as a world master you feel privileged to be an observer.

Recently I watched two fascinating movies on innovative painters; David Hockney in ‘A Bigger Picture’ and Gerhard Richter Painting. Both artists were very giving and Richter in particular seemed approachable and humble. He found being observed while painting a difficult situation and something he had been reluctant to do.

Painting is a solitary exercise and when the planning is in the action it is not predictable or desirable to have an audience. Richter said ‘painting is another form of thinking’ and that paintings were ‘mortal enemies’ and while the second is a strong statement, I tend to agree.

He goes on to say that ‘Paintings have a quality of their own and the painter, viewer, and consumer all must have a high standard and recognise when something is good’. According to his own standard, as he paints each work becomes less and less free and when there is nothing left he feels is wrong, he stops.

Richter’s paintings undergo further scrutiny for sometime before he considers them finished. He can, weeks later, add another layer to a working painting that can either enhance or destroy it in his eyes. His movie gives considerable encouragement and inspiration to this much less qualified artist who works in similar ways, destroying fledgling artworks until that creative door fly’s open, and the quality work begins to pour out.

My exhibition Journey through the Wilderness continues until the 30th April at Regional Arts House Gallery at 1/ 24 Macquarie St,  Teneriffe. Open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.  All welcome

Journey through the Wilderness