The process of painting. Was Pablo Picasso wrong?

A quote by Pablo Picasso : “There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into the sun.”

So there it is: One of the essential things a painter wants(needs) to achieve: transform a yellow spot into the sun, a blob of paint into a highlight, a set of lines into perspective, smears of blue and white into a dramatic sky. It sounds easy enough and sometimes it even is. But quite often the road to change that spot or line into the building block of your artwork is more of an anxious struggle.

I know, I do it all the time and I’m not often sure of the result until a spectator cries in horror or exclaims praise. The joy of finishing a painting is something I can’t explain. It’s there until I realize that now this project has finished there’s a new challenge coming. I need to start a new painting! I feel really lucky when the notion of a composition has come before I start painting. Sometimes this is followed by a frantic phase to record the composition and it’s basic building blocks on the canvas before I forget or kill it by a new train of thought. After that I can blissfully continue until I hit a snag that I haven’t anticipated. That is, for instance how to transform a specific spot of colour into the object I had envisioned in my compositional dreams.

There used to be a time I could just sit down and the picture would swim in place on my canvas and I would paint through the night to get rid of this torrent of creativity. To be honest these pictures didn’t appeal to many people and after a while they even bothered me, so the stream of feverish dreams stopped to be admitted to canvas. I had thought becoming a painter would be an inevitable destiny, but I just didn’t want to paint the way I had done and I couldn’t see another. So I didn’t paint much for quite some years and went away from art to pursue a business career. That went well and I enjoyed it a lot. Suddenly I found another urge to paint, I saw that I could spend my days painting and it was the right thing to do. And while I did this I found my mind had calmed in such a way that there were no torrents of feverish dreams to paint anymore but dreams I could translate in fantasies. It’s not all easy though. As I said before. And I think old Pablo is right. The hardest thing is to transform that spot into your dream.

Next time: the “procrastination phase”

This "Bibia" is one of the old ones(1978) I do like.

This "Bibia" (1978 )is actually one of the old ones I do like.


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