Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Work Wednesdays - Paint away...

Today while in a colossal state of boredom, I came across an article that Robert Rauschenberg had died. Rauschenberg was an American artist that came to prominence in the 1950's. While I was reading, I came across the name Mark Tobey and had a bit of a flash back to the days when I was an art student.

About a million years ago I took some summer classes at Rhode Island School of Design, one of the classes I took was abstract painting which was taught by a wonderful professor called John Thornton. In terms of the type of art I like to make, abstract painting is my favorite, so I was very lucky to be able to take this class. The class was held in an old bank building and on the second floor we had some individual loft spaces where we could work. It was amazing.

Anyway, during a critique session of one of my paintings, John suggested I look up a painter by the name of Mark Tobey as he thought I may like his work. Mark Tobey was an interesting painter from Wisconsin, he was born in 1890 and died in 1976 in Switzerland. He was an abstract expressionist painter who delved into the works of Arabian literature and East Asian philosophy. He traveled extensively in his life to places such as France, Italy, Hong Kong and Shanghai. At one stage he even lived in a Zen monastery in Japan to study poetry and calligraphy. His travels influenced his art and his art influenced his travels. His philosophical and spiritual beliefs influenced everything.

So John was right - the mix of the Asian style, the spiritual representation in art, and the new techniques did appeal to me. And I forgot all about it.

Tobey said "Let nature take over your work. Get yourself out of your way when you paint." I think this applies not only to painting but to life in general, almost another way to say, go with the flow.

So this week, I want to be a painter. I think it's time to buy some canvas again and bust open my old tool box filled with all my paint and brushes (that I finally brought up from Miami a few months ago).

Photo credit: Mark Tobey "Blue Interior"

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