This past weekend, I finally returned to my oil painting class with Lee Hartman at University Art after two weeks in Europe. Of all my stops during my time there, the weekend in Paris was most influential on my evolving perspective of the type of artist I want to be and my overall progress.
Firstly, I hoped that somehow just being around the masterpieces at the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay would help me become a better artist from the sheer process of osmosis.
The pieces at the Louvre are magnificent. However, my heart lies with the jewels at the Musée d’Orsay. I had a moment where I was standing in a room surrounded by Monets, Renoirs and Manets, and in the center of the room was a Rodin sculpture. Talk about a divine moment!
I decided after a few moments to enjoy this realization, I would pull up my latest oil painting of the Lucie Stern Theatre just to contrast and compare. The Impressionist master pummeled me to the ground. My oil painting glowing back at me from my iPhone was bland and boring compared to the works full of life hanging on the walls. I knew this would be humbling experience and I wanted to subject myself to it to truly appreciate the gap that I have a lifetime to overcome…and probably never will. However, one must believe in order to ever achieve! I’ll stop there because it is in these moments I start to sound like Anthony Robbins.
There must be others that feel this way because at the Louvre, I saw two artists who had set up their easel and paint in front of great masterpieces, striving to capture the essence of these paintings. It was fun to watch them and also see their brush technique and how they had their palettes set up.
This week in class, I realized that besides enjoying the progress I make on my paintings, I also love the characters in the class. With music blaring, much banter happens between both long-standing students and new ones. It is a warm, nurturing place where ideas are freely conceived and execution is only limited by ones abilities and focus. In fact, it is one of the easiest environments to create. I thoroughly enjoy it after a week of constantly having to push the creative impetus up a hill hopping its virility and energy overcomes the hazards of organizational strife.
To everyone in my oil painting class, thank you for letting me share the creative space with you every Saturday. To all the masters I met at Musée d’Orsay thank you for showing me what beauty there still is in my journey to becoming a better artist.