What making art is really all about.
There’s a bigger concept to grasp than just wanting to master a particular technique, a more pertinent question to be answered than ‘will anyone like this?’, and our creations take place within a much larger story than we realise is unfolding at the time.
You see, art – real art – isn’t actually about art. It’s about life. Let me explain:
In the hallway to my Mum's home there hangs a framed landscape, painted by my Grandma. It captures a dramatic scene in the Scottish Highlands: the fire of the sun ignites the thick, brooding clouds with its rich red flame, which in turn blanket the peaks of the imposing mountains, as another day ends in spectacular fashion. Curiously, it feels almost as though it’s an extravagant waste of beauty as the only audience present to admire its glory is that of a solitary artist.
My Grandma, Barbara Brignall, painted this scene back in 1979. She has long since passed, but every time I visit home I get to re-experience a moment – a snapshot in time – that Grandma saw. And because of this, something of her lives on. This painting is inseparable from what her eyes saw, what her soul experienced, and what her hands created.
You see, that’s not just a painting hanging in Mum’s hallway. It’s the very life essence of an artist, captured in oil on canvas.
When she's old enough, I'm looking forward to telling my daughter – almost 9 months old at the time of writing – all about this painting and her Great Grandma, as the two are intrinsically linked. This landscape is now a bridge across time that spans four generations, and is far more than just a technically proficient oil rendition of a piece of Scottish scenery; it’s evidence of a creative soul in particular, who once spent time on planet earth, and was someone who mattered – and still is.
As I said, art – real art – isn’t actually about art.
It’s about life.