I love to paint. I get great satisfaction from taking a few tubes of colors, a canvas, a couple of brushes and creating a picture. I have been doing it for over twelve years. I am basically self taught. Although my wife gave me a birthday gift of lessons to a local beginner's class, I have learned mostly on my own, by reading books, and going to museums.
When I first started, the results resembled stains on the working surfaces. One very successful artist, whom I admire, wrote " You can learn more from a hundred starts than you can from one finished canvas". I proved the point. Many of my early starts were indiscernible smudges on the surfaces. Over time and numerous starts, the shapes on the canvases became more recognizable. I even summed up the courage to enter paintings into a local art show. Two were sold. Drunk with success, I believed that a professional artist had emerged. The sobering reality wasn't far behind. Quite a bit of time went by before any more work sold. But the door was open. I remember the unbelievable rush I had when a stranger liked my work well enough to want it. I still get that rush when I sell my work. It goes beyond the money involved. There is immense pleasure from having spiritually touched another person with my creation.
Recently a woman wrote to my web site commenting on a specific painting. It depicts a fishing boat leaving Gloucester Harbor. She said that she often returns to this picture as it brings back memories of a little girl fishing on the Columbia River in Astoria, Oregon . The scene although painted on the opposite coast evokes images from her childhood. This is the spiritual touch I referred to.
Each painting I finish has special meaning to me. My brush strokes are the fingerprints I leave on the canvas. As I become able to expand the subject matter, I find myself mentally composing pictures wherever I am. I look at people and begin to see the tones and shadows that make up a figurative painting. We just spent several days in the Berkshires. The color was magnificent. During much of the time there, I was seeing the values and tones of the trees and mentally composing landscapes. I feel blessed that I have these feelings and that they tend to manifest themselves as pieces of art.
These feelings confirm my belief in the creativity and productivity of the human spirit. A while back, I was at a party and a friend pulled me aside and said, "Fred, I am glad you have a passion.'' I asked him what he meant. "You, have your painting. That's your passion. Without a passion, life doesn't have meaning." I agree. It doesn't matter what the endeavor, as long as one is passionate about it. It is the vehicle that provides a healthy outlook on life and a positive outlook on the future.