Experience and Validation

The surprise of an artistic journey when commitment breaks the bounds of all preconceived expectation.

East Wind, a painting buy Judith Reeve
East Wind, oil on linen

Often times artists search deeply within themselves to find the very reason why they create what they create. We seem to yearn for some kind of validation that what one creates is of significance. This idea of significance is central to the artist because the artist does not just create for oneself but acts as a vehicle for the manifestation of images that are independent, to a certain extent, of the artist. Images certainly are part of the personal nature of the artist and spring from the well of his imagination, and they also speak of his time and culture. But an image also must express deeply the human condition and simultaneously tap into what is presently needed by modern man to effectively awaken him to his spiritual needs. William Blake states, “The artist is engaged in a spiritual activity whose essence consists in the precise delineation of reality, which is revealed to the visionary imagination.”

This struggle with validation is the artist’s struggle with himself as well. It is tied to self-confidence. When it is validated, the artist feels compelled to expend the necessary energy and internal forces of the imagination on the manifestation of the image. Without this there is no possibility of being able to complete anything. There is no built up force that will allow it to gush forth.

Delacroix constantly struggled with his own personal choices. He states that as an individual, his experience is a unique experience so therefore, it is singular and new in itself, and therefore should be made manifest. “You can add one more to the number of those who have seen nature in their own way. What they portrayed was made new through their vision and you will renew these things once more…Newness is in the mind of the artist who creates, and not in the object he portrays…You who know that there is always something new, show it to others in the things that they have hitherto failed to appreciate…If you cultivate your soul it will find the means to express itself.” (Journal of Eugene Delacroix, May 14, 1824)

If you cultivate your soul it will find the means to express itself. The following video that I found on the web deeply expresses this idea. I felt this artist’s experience was so powerful that I wanted to share it with you.

Author: Judith Reeve

For nearly 30 years I've developed my painting practice in the studio, building on what I leaned from my student days at the Lyme Academy of Fine Art. Along with my daily journey creating images which I write about here on this blog, I am also currently writing a book on the color practice of Robert Henri.

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