The Tortured Artist

The big question is, “Can art be produced without suffering”?  
After all, at the core of any artist is a need to communicate their emotion, and most artists create their work from that same basic desire.  Many of the greatest works in history came as a result of emotional torment, for example, Van Gogh’s painting “starry night” was created in his asylum after he suffered a breakdown, and reading further through Wiki, it’s interesting to note, that he was plagued with another typical trait for an artist – lack of self esteem!

  . . ” in a letter to painter Émile from late November, 1889, Van Gogh referred to the painting as a “failure.”

In my own website biography, a friend describes my work as as emotional and full of depth, and states that the inspiration for my paintings comes from profound emotional layers.

“Hurt creates art – it enters the soul” – this anonymous quote sums it up.  

However I will argue that it’s not only hurt that inspires art.

At my first exhibition, my brother captured a young guy sitting, mesmerised, in front of a painting for over half an hour.  

I was told many times during the evening, by several people,  that this painting “Take Flight”  was full of freedom, excitement, and an extraordinary sense of passion.  

Thinking back to the time I painted it – that makes perfect sense. I had been released from a particularly difficult work contract and was embracing a real sense of ‘taking flight’.

One painting I created in the early hours of the morning, after a particularly harrowing experience with one of my daughters. I came in to the house, after a 3 hour drive and was extremely fraught. I knew I’d not sleep so I headed straight for my studio.

“Fragility” is dark, quite unlike my other work. A black background frames a fragile white lily, the petals drooping, withering, crushed. A lot of people didn’t warm to it, and I can understand why, but it absolutely expressed my desperation in those early hours and swept fluidly from the brush with passion, with angst, and arrived onto the canvas spent.

My love of sailing is reflected in many of my canvasses.  The colour of the sea constantly inspires me, finding pinks and reds within what we typically see as blue.  I love the way early morning, or late evening, light plays on the crests, and that blissful stillness of an early dawn, when the sea and the horizon are at one in the pale pink mist of the morning.

 So there it is. I’m not sure I’m a tortured artist just yet, however I echo the sentiment below:

“The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this: A human creature born abnormally, inhumanly sensitive.”

— Pearl S. Buck


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