33 rules to take you from clueless amateur to generational talent (or at least help you live life a little more creatively). By Jerry Saltz @jerrysaltz
This is a very interesting article on stretcher bars that have been rediscovered at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, which belong to Picasso’s anti-war mural “Guernica”. It’s a fascinating read and you can find it here.
In thinking about painting, drawing, and making art, in general, I often find myself stalled about what to create. I can draw inspiration from so many sources and artists but putting the pen to paper or paintbrush to canvas can be difficult at times. Until something really strikes at the heart of what concerns me on the deepest level, I typically wander around my studio arranging things or prepping canvases, or surveying works in progress and thinking about where they will go next. But when something comes along: a thought, a song, a social or cultural event, a significant political development, that cannot be ignored, the paintbrush seems to take charge of my hand and demand a painting. This has most recently happened as a result of my having taken a closer look at Pablo Picasso’s “Guernica”.
“Guernica”, Picasso’s most powerful political statement, was painted as an immediate reaction to the Nazi’s devastating casual bombing of the Basque town of Guernica, during the Spanish Civil War. “Guernica” shows the tragedies of war and the suffering it inflicts upon individuals, particularly innocent civilians. This work has become a perpetual reminder of the tragedies of war, an anti-war symbol, and an embodiment of peace.
To understand the effect this seminal work is having on me, it is important to understand the context surrounding Picasso’s decision to create it:
In 1937, during the Spanish Civil War, the town of Guernica was regarded as the northern bastion of the Republican Resistance Movement which was made up of assorted factions (Communists, Socialists, Anarchists, to name a few) who had wildly differing approaches to government and eventual aims, but a common opposition to the Nationalists who, also factionalized but to a lesser extent, sought a return to the golden days of Spain, based on law, order, and traditional Catholic family values. On April 26, 1937, Germany, led by Adolf Hitler, bombed Guernica, in support of the Nationalists. After the bombing, Picasso deserted a mural commissioned by the Spanish Republican government that he was working on for the 1937 Paris Exhibition, and began working on “Guernica”.
With this in mind, I’ve decided to plan and complete my most ambitious piece of work to date in response to and inspired by Picasso’s “Guernica”. I am not kidding myself and thinking that I can execute anything anywhere near the size of Picasso’s masterpiece (it is, afterall a mammoth work at some 25 feet long and nearly 12 feet tall. Yikes.) but I do intend to make it a political statement, a reaction to the present day American Civil Cold War.
If I am successful, it will, like “Guernica”, show the tragedies of war. It will also show the tragedies of single party rule in a representative democracy and the suffering Neo Fascism disquised as Capitalism inflicts upon individuals, particularly innocent minorities. Today we have an opposition movement in America made up of assorted factions (Democrats, Independents, Libertarians to name a few) with differing approaches to government and eventual aims, but a common rejection of the Corporate control of government promoted by Republicans who, also factionalized but to a lesser extent, seek to “make America great again” through the spreading of white supremacist values, an authoritarian imposition of law, order, and fundamentalist Christian ideals, and the discrediting of the entrenched free press and media with a view toward replacing it with state controlled propaganda outlets patterned after Cold War era state news puppets. I will aim to make this work function as a perpetual reminder of the tragedies of stolen elections, and the dangers of enabling corporate owned puppet leaders. I want it to be an anti-fascist and anti-civil war symbol, and an embodiment of raceless human rights.
It is a tall order for me, I realize. Nonetheless, the process has already begun with this post. I will be sure to post updates and progress reports until a final piece has been realized and readied for display. I hope you will take interest in this self-imposed journey and check back often to see what’s happening with it. Until then, … –
Typically I split my time between doodling and painting. It’s easier or rather more immediate to doodle since I have a dual use studio. This means I need to setup and breakdown before and after every painting session. Doodling I can do anytime and just about anyplace since all it requires is my paper, a pencil, and a few art pens. The challenge has been to resist the tendency to doodle at the expense of a daily practice of painting which has not been easy. I admit, it is a deterrent when I am in the mood to paint but discouraged by the workload that is preparing the studio and my materials, as well as the need to clean up after a session. My dream and intermediate goal is to one day have my own dedicated studio, where I won’t have to worry about setting up and/or breaking down as much. If you would like to donate to my effort to become a full-time artist and help me get my own dedicated studio click here. To see some of my doodles click here. For some of my paintings click here. I will continue to work on both no matter the challenge(s) presented to me by my studio.