Sunday, January 20, 2013

Picasso & Weiner: Evolution of Expression

                 Picasso and Weiner: An Evolution of Expression

Picasso - Self Portrait (1907)

     Pablo Picasso was an artist who inspired me throughout my entire life. As a child, I was a realistic artist. I sketched what I saw and knew. I loved it--drawing recognizable shapes and people or objects. With that ability came contentment and what I now know was the beginning of self-realization and the development of my art vision. As the years passed and I kept drawing, contentment and purpose grew. This was who I was; it was personal and unique. I was...and I was becoming. In drawing, I lost myself in thought and vision--sometimes looking outward, but always seeing within, juxtaposing ideas and drawing my own conclusions and ideas from them.

     My first visit to an art museum was when I visited the Louvre in Paris during my Junior Year abroad in college. What revelations... What inspiration! Even though I did not know the art or artists, I had heard of a few of them, but had never seen their works 'in person.' I remember seeing my first Picasso--a cubist work I have since forgotten. What struck me, though, was the fact that it was not representational or 'realistic.' [To those horrified by the fact that I did not study art and had not been to art museums before my 20's, I would like to share a perspective you might not have considered: mainly, that some of us (artists) are from small towns...and from families who have a less-than-indulgent view of the value of art--especially 'art' created by someone they know or a member of their family. Often, one's family and social circle believes art is a frivolous, bizarre, wasteful, and/or threatening or revolutionary activity. Such was pretty much the case in my family/circle. Art was an oddity they could not comprehend. Sports or academics, they could understand/appreciate; but art, not so much.] Seeing Picasso's works in museums convinced me that art had real value--to society in general, even if not to individual members of it. I felt heartened and hopeful, and became more courageous in my pursuit of art. I humbly knew my works might never be in a museum, but I was part of the creative movement, and therefore had a small role in a global and timeless production. That realization became the foundation of my personal goal to never let art hold less of a place or role in my life. It would ever be my center.

Weiner - Self Portrait 13 (2007)

"Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. ”
-Pablo Picasso 

       My next memory of seeing Picasso's work was a few years later, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. There, I saw some of Picasso's bronze sculptures. One, in particular, was a sculpture of a child, maybe a shepherd boy. In any event, I can still see it and the beauty and sensitivity of his vision and art.

Picasso (Sculpture, Chicago)

     That got me thinking about the evolution of one's art and vision. He started out realistic. My art journey began founded in realism. Picasso moved on to many different mediums and modes of expression. He explored cubism and beyond, through expressionism to what I perceive as a surrealism. Seeing his phases of creativity first-hand was a turning point for least in my thinking. I would have to say that it turned the key in the lock that would open many creative doors for me in the future.

Picasso - "Blue Nude"
     So, I figured that I had many miles (years) to go and a lot of thinking to do and art to create before I had enough skills and artistic depth or 'vocabulary' to create unique work that was mine and mine alone--distinctive from others because it grew out of all that I had lived, seen, thought, felt, and believed. The journey had begun...

     Art-wise, I really found my way in college, where I minored in art--sculpture, to be exact. I took every workshop I could, exploring many media--from clay to carving to plaster to polyester resin ribbon or molded sculptures. I welded sculptures from treasures discovered in a local junkyard--an exhilarating project and probably my wildest creation to date. I wanted hands-on, to create. I didn't want to (at that time) read about what others had created. I wanted to do it myself, unhindered by what I then believed would inhibit my own tentative steps toward creation. Remember: humble roots. I was fearful that I had nothing new to add to the art world..., nothing to say that was worth sharing. I guess you could say that I 'found my voice' through my art. After a couple of years, I realized I had something to say and that I had to create for creation sake.

     The college years and 'art room' were golden years of art and discovery and joy.  Alas, few of those early sculptures remain.... Let's just say that (as I noted previously) family and friends do not always 'appreciate' or value art for art's sake. Often, they have no idea how much time, work, heart, and thought goes into each creation. And if they don't like it or understand it, they often disdain or discount it. So, although most of those pieces are lost to time -- and to landfills in PA, no doubt...(smile), the creation process and evolution in thinking became permanently hardwired inside of me. There was no turning back. I reveled in the artistic freedom or 'artistic license' to grow and change as a person and artist. From this realization came the idea for my art business name: Creative License. My art and my business are about creativity and authenticity and originality in all pursuits--art, writing, etc. I chose it out of conviction and a life-long dedication to art and the richness it gives to life.

     In the 1980's, I painted in oils, moving gradually into watercolor and watermedia (~1993-2008)--after which, I moved into watermedia (incorporating acrylics) and mixed media. Most recently (2011-present), I paint on paper, wood, or canvas using acrylics, latex, plaster, and incorporating found objects. My sculptural roots are becoming increasingly more evident as I try to involve more senses (tactile) into the creative process.

Weiner - "Eye of the Storm" (2008)
In closing, I would like to tell you about an illuminating, inspirational, and entertaining dream I had back in college (~1975)...

           In the dream, I was painting and working in a studio with a small, bald-headed man--a man who in the dream was a crotchety screamer. I remember trying to overlook his 'moods' and nastiness and keep helping him and doing my work. [Note: I never painted until the 1980's. Through my childhood and college, it was sketching and 3-dimensional works only.]  
          As the dream ended, all that seemed to be missing were the movie credits and theme music. The last scene of the dream was a camera lens panning in slow-motion over a completed painting. The dream scene ended with a still shot of the painting's lower right-hand side -- a signature block (before fading to black):    

     I had woken up laughing from that dream, and later in the day, I smilingly related it to my sculpture professor, Richard Blake. When I finished the dream-telling, he regarded me intensely for about a minute in silence. He then commented, seriously, gently shaking his head as if somewhat stunned: "You know, he was like that, Elaine. He was a grouchy man, often miserable to his students...." And then, walking off to see another student, he turned back and added: "You really need to BE an artist full time. Declare yourself."  

     Well, Richard. I have and I am: I am an artist. It is my life, my vocation, and my joy.

                                                                                  - Artfully submitted,
                                                                                          Elaine Weiner

Weiner - "Ties That Bind" (2012)
Thanks to all who have inspired and encouraged my art...

Copyright (c) 2013. All Rights Reserved. No portion of this article may be copied, reprinted, or extracted without the express written permission of the artist in advance of publication or quotes. All words and original artistic works are sole property of the artist, Elaine Weiner.

                              [Picasso's works are his and his legacy to the rest of the world.]

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