Painting, A Reflection of One’s Present Self

Looking at some of my finished paintings, I have learned to tell easily enough how my personality, character, and whims……or responses to my present emotional state, my feelings at a certain time, are reflected there, like looking at my physical being in a mirror. My paintings, “Pink Fantasy” and “Purple Fantasy”, are examples of this thought. Of course, this is something that great artists and art critics have studied for years. However, it has been difficult for me to realize this in myself during the process of doing a painting.

Having recovered from a difficult day, I set my mind to concentrate on putting myself in a more attractive zone…by doing one of my favorite activities, painting. I did not have a subject in mind, nor was I recovered from the ordeals of the day enough to put a lot of thinking and planning into the painting before I wanted to begin. I thought, “Red? No, too hot!, green or blue? No, to out-doorsy and open to the world which I had just left! Yellow? No, too big for my cozy retreat from that world.” Absent mindedly, I reached for pink, white and purple. After applying some purple to my format, I began to relax, or at least move out of the affects of my difficult day. I moved purple (pink in the second one) and white around on my format for awhile, just enjoying the solitude and friendliness of the paints. Then, I came out of an ever-so-slight dream-like state of mind, and began to concentrate on motive, aim and goal. I was actually able to arrive at a place in which I could paint with some degree of conviction; creating a painting worthy of my time, efforts, and costs of paints.

Studying what was in front of me, the shapes and hues that I had created with purple and white was capturing my attention. I began to see the beauty of a garden of flowers, and from that point I began to shift and gently shove the painted areas into shapes. The formation was crying out for some realism. The reality of flowers. And at that point, my emotional state would allow me to react to the feeling of the moment, or of the hour, as it were. I brought those two paintings as deep into realism as my emotional state would allow at that particular time. Art becomes a tool for expression of certain feelings, and therefore helps to clarify and put into perspective the effects of real life experiences. On the evening that I worked on those two paintings, the cause of my not-so-good feeling, greatly diminished, as the existence of the painting became of greater importance to me. The paintings not only reflected my feelings, but also helped in my once again being happy with the world in which I live. I really like “Pink Fantasy” and “Purple fantasy”, and their part in causing the events of that difficult day to be soon (and long) forgotten. At this time in our world, I hope that our heroes who return to America, bruised inwardly and maimed in body, will have opportunities to paint. This activity can help in the healing process. It is a powerful thing, art.

by Josh Smith