In case you haven’t figured it out yet, da Vinci was a very smart guy! There are drawings, paintings, and papers that prove what a genius he truly was.
The part of his genius that hits home with me comes through some of his quotes. There are numerous Leonardo da Vinci quotes that I find very useful, and very true. There are a few that hit home….usually in a painful way. For instance....
Even though my painting is going very well, for now, I have to lament over the wasted years when I painted what I thought the subject SHOULD look like, not what I was actually seeing. Leonardo said it this way:
"There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.”
Do you know how depressing it is to find out you have spent years not seeing! But thanks to painters like Ada Koch and David Gross, I have moved to the second group…”Those who see when they are shown.”
The series of paintings I am working on for the December show at ARTichokes, http://www.artichokeskc.com/ is a group of large canvases with memories of my trips to Europe. Therefore, I am referring frequently to photographs I have taken. As I work on a painting, the photo is right there, and yet, I catch myself not referring to it, but rather painting what I think it should look like. Guess what….I am almost always WRONG!
Now that I am painting at home, I can stop, lay down my brush, walk 6 feet and bake cookies. 30 minutes later, I can walk back, pick up the photograph and study what I have painted, compared to what I should have painted. My mistakes stick out like sore thumbs! Dear Leo, what was I thinking?
As I work on this problem of not seeing, I am trying to deal with another weakness (besides eating all of the cookies I bake while I am working on my frustrations)…..That of quitting, giving up. I have been known to throw up my hands, and toss my painting in the trash….sad, but true.
Those moments are fewer now, thank heavens. That is when I remember another Leonardo da Vinci quote….a really good one. A quote that makes me realize why David Gross has dozens of "unfinished", absolutely beautiful paintings. A quote that makes me know it is okay for me to take the painting I am working on, down to the basement, turn it towards the wall, and walk away.
“Art is never finished, only abandoned.”
That abandonment may be for a day or two, a year or two….maybe forever, but it is okay. It will be there waiting for me, if and when I think I am ready to continue on. Who knows, someday it may be my Mona Lisa!
Stick with me Leonardo, I need all of the help I can get!