An Impressionist? A Realist? A Modern artist? Who am I? I have been an artist much of my life–about 45 years or so since I knew I loved to draw and craved the smell of my Crayolas beyond what was normal. My creative journey has had lots of time and experience to evolve. Having started out being a drawer, more than a painter, I tended to be more of realist and a “tight” artist when I began painting. My goal in my artistic journey has always been to be more loose and expressive. And many of you know my work, and it is as “individual” as can be!
For my Interior Design degree at Auburn University back in the 80’s, we were required to take the full series of art histories. And that was back before internet when note-taking was done at lightening speed while each slide was projected on a big screen for not very long. I found those classes very frustrating because they interested me, yet there was not enough time to immerse myself into each slide as I wanted to. Nevertheless, I learned it and loved it. We began back when cave people etched drawings on their cave walls during the Stone Age. We moved into all the Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Greek and Roman eras, then the Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Byzantine styles that evolved. But it was the Renaissance in Italy that really captivated me—Ghiberti’s doors in Florence. Have you seen them? The amazing Michelangelo and his Sistine Chapel commission that he begrudgingly did. (Loved the book, The Pope’s Ceiling). Then, of course, we all love the Impressionists’ contribution to life and art today–have you visited Monet’s very home where his studio and water lilies are still alive in Giverny? And then comes the Post-Impressionist, Expressionism, Modern, Post-Modernism eras to where we are today. We contemporary creatives fall into the “1970-” age. They don’t know what to call us. We are described by art historians as artists who are “combining past styles.” So, in the effort of putting myself into a category and tying it up with a pretty bow–I have come to see in which genre I fit!
With my house portraits that sway and move –or are painted crooked and skewed, as some say. My choices in subject matter are often pictures of my very own experiences in life. Recently, I read a description of a particular genre of artists that resonated with me. It is from a book produced by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It says,
“Every great painter has an individual style,
but the expressionist painter’s work is likely
to be more sharply individualized than that of the realist’s,
more dramatically her own, sometimes to the point of eccentricity.
This individuality is quite natural when a painter is more interested in probing her own soul…
and is more interested in explaining a moody or
tempestuous inner world than in revealing a basic harmony in the one around us.
The expressionist paints images so very exaggerated or so distorted
that she takes us away from the familiar world into one of emotion and feeling…”
Finding one’s identity in life is a monumental time. I know myself generally as a person, but in my artistic life, I questioned where I fit in. Peeking inside as to what inspires me and when, and how my inspirations become paintings is how I found myself in this vast world of painting genres. If you are an artist (especially any of my many art students), take time to study art history and to study yourself from within. Since I have taken the time to study myself and my art, I can now explain that my paintings are inspirations expressed as emotional interpretations of my life. I am indeed an Expressionist.