Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Voice

I know you have seen or heard of the television show called "The Voice".  It has contestants who sing and are chosen by one famous singer on a panel to be in their group. Then the people sing and are eliminated over time until one person is the best "Voice" of the season.  Then they start over with another group for the next season of shows.
It came to me that being an artist is a lot like that.  Of course you knew I would relate it to art!  Every painter wants to have their own distinctive style of painting, one that is recognizable, a subject they are associated with, in other words, their "Voice".  But unlike singers who know that they must constantly practice to improve, a lot of artists think they can study with a famous artist, sometimes a weekend, a week, or in an on-going class, and then they will "copy" all they can from the teaching artist to paint just like him or her.  That way, they will be as famous, right?
Sometimes it works that way.  There are women artists who studied with and then got into relationships with successful artists who do paint a lot like them and who, with their connections, have become famous in their own right.  In the olden days, artists took on apprentices who then had to produce their own "masterpiece" to join the artisans guild or get in the Salon show to prove they had "made it".  Their work, however, did not mimic the masters necessarily. 
Everyone who has taken a class or workshop, seen a demo, watched a dvd, or worked under an established artist, will show an influence.  The real artist will continue to work on his or her own, taking what works for them from the master artist, and developing his or her own style.  Cezanne said, "I paint this way because I can't paint any other way," or something like that when he was asked about his style of painting. 
So to truly become an artist with a Voice, have something to say.  Paint because you can't not paint.  Paint because you dream paintings and see visions in your head.  Paint because you are miserable if you don't.  There is no magic number of paintings to do in a year or over time.  One hundred, two hundred, it doesn't matter.  Your voice will start to sound like you and you alone.  Develop your voice, the world is listening. 

Valley View
Oil on museum quality board
8 x 8