In Philadelphia there is a museum called the Barnes Foundation named after a wealthy man who collected art and believed that there was a way
to teach art to people that would help them understand it better then by just
having great paintings on a wall. To do this he collected a lot of paintings
and he displays them on walls alongside hinges and other odd bits. He also
hangs them at different heights and in places in the room that you wouldn’t see
in the typical museum gallery of Masters.
It’s the largest private Renoir collection in the
world. There were so many it felt
like there was a time when Renoir was simply giving his paintings to this man.
After looking at the 40th or 50th I was struck by the fact that there were 40
or 50 paintings to look at by Renoir. I’m no art scholar but aren’t I right in
thinking somewhere we were told that an element of what made his work so
precious was that his paintings were so rare? Folks, he put out a lot of product. He painted in the
1860’s, when it couldn’t have been
all that easy to just whip up an oil painting. In fact the museum has 181
pieces by Renoir. So doing a bit of math, he was either brilliant and could pop
out a few oil paintings a day, or, he worked himself numb.
What I saw was only part of his work, maybe a large part, but there are many
more out there. I tried to imagine
the hours he spent each one these and the word that kept coming to me was;
What kept him painting at that pace? He wasn’t famous or even noted by the art community for at least
his first 15 years of painting, so what was it that made him keep putting out
How many of us out there would last 15 years waiting for a
sign of recognition? I can’t imagine many. But, how many of us would like to
have Renoir’s impact on his field and the world in general? I bet all of us.
Yes I know, different time, different world. The point is,
what was beating in his chest and flowing through his mind had to be the same
thing that makes someone rise at dawn to go to a job that doesn’t involve their
acting but pays their bills so acting is possible. It had to be the same. Why
do I think so? Because, if it was otherwise, he just couldn’t
have put out so much work.
I think we show our love for our product in many ways.
Getting lazy isn’t one of them, complacency isn’t one of them.
If you simply can’t act every day, what you do is you keep yourself in a
ready position to act every day. Doing what you have to do to keep yourself in
a position to act, create, paint, dance is what we do in lieu of having a sponsor like he had that allowed
him to paint every day. He also lost sponsors along the way , but it seems he
never stopped painting.
I like knowing that even the masters worked their asses off,
and for years had no idea if their work would see the light of day in their
community. It reminds me that all our years of unpaid development is not lost, wasted, time. We are always seasoning ourselves.
an artist don’t be afraid to paint every day even if you think it will never