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July 15, 2013



For both Maggie and Robert - lovely comments! The best art teacher I ever had gave all his students a quote from Eunice Waymon (who later changed her name to Nina Simone)At age 12, she understood this: "All music is what awakes within us when we are reminded by the instruments. It is not the violins or the clarinets - It is not the beating of the drums- nor the score of the baritone singing his sweet romanza; nor that of the men's chorus, nor that of the women's chorus - it is nearer and farther than they."

Depth is what we choose, to meet our own needs as artists.

And Robert, you are completely right to point out that there are many different areas of interest and they are all good.

Robert P. Britton Jr.

My jazz piano teacher used to say that learning all the basics of jazz, up to mastery, will eventually set you free to improvise and bring forth the music you have in your soul. That takes technique, practice, theory.

The reality is that people today don't really want to put in the time to develop the skills necessary as artists.

But the way I look at it, as long as they don't think of themselves as "professional"...it's ok. there are amateurs in many different areas of interest. It doesn't make them bad people.

But I completely agree that you have to find the song or the story in your painting, and then use your skills and techniques to voice or tell it as best you can.

I make paintings where I just practice, but then I make paintings where I'm trying to get something MORE across than just a visual representation of a composition.

Like my jazz piano instructor says, until you have the technique or the "chops" achieved through study and practice, it's a difficult thing.

So I try to practice, train, study, and to also try to put that song or story into my paintings.

Good article my friend. I enjoyed it.

Too bad about Innes destroying his paintings through over-perfectionism. Sad.

I've found that sometimes you reach a point where you're really not going to make a painting any better. There's little learning left and it's better to dig in on the BIG learning opportunities on the next blank canvas!

God bless and keep on keeping on!


Hi Sue,
Good post. I often wonder why we've accepted (as a culture) that anyone can be an artist, with little or no training or understanding of fundamentals, but we would never decide that about a musician.

Perhaps this is because musicians often play with other musicians, and you all need to be speaking the same musical language to communicate. Besides, if you can't play all the notes on your tenor sax, no one wants to listen to you.

But I have hopes for visual arts. After a century of missing out on the foundational learning system, leagues of students are now flocking to local ateliers to systematically learn how to handle their instruments of pencil, paper, and paint. Thank goodness.

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