Monday, September 24, 2012

The Muse: Sex, Procreation, And Inspiration

The Voyage, 13.5" x 60", oil on canvas, 2012.

Paint is like the skies or the seas. It is the job of the painter, like a pilot, to understand it, embrace it, and navigate through it. Paint is open, free, and limitless; it can be calm one moment or stormy the next. Paint is like mother nature, and the painter is man trying to bring some control to it.

And on a smaller scale, paint is like a woman. It is the job of the painter to lead the dance and give her the opportunity to express herself in all of her beauty and grace.

The Voyage, left detail:

In reality, of course, paint is just a medium. But the metaphor is also real and I think a reason why the muse has become like a mythical goddess inspiring artists since ancient times. The muse creates an overwhelming desire in the artist to replicate her incommunicable effect through art. Painting, like poetry or music, is the artist's way of attempting to bring some control to her storm of emotions, to make sense of the ungraspable. She is in the paint, and the painter is seeking to find her, recreate her, love her, and allow her to express herself. 

I have inquired in the past about why we make art. What's the point, right, since art doesn't appear to fulfill any physiological need. But maybe it does, on a subconscious level, for the artist at least. Artistic inspiration is often derived from a muse of some kind, even if the muse is someone who has no idea the effect she is creating. (It seems that the stereotypical muse is someone who has a personal relationship with the artist, as in a mistress, but in my experiences, I have found that many times the muse is someone who remains distant, even if our connection is fleeting -- not all of us artists are womanizers like Picasso -- and sometimes the most fleeting encounters carry the most mystery and intrigue.) So, perhaps art is a form of the innate drive to procreate. I don't mean to say that every artist desires to have kids, nor do I agree with the Freudian concept that all art is sexual in nature, as certainly art can be inspired by other things, like death, struggle, and inequality, yet the urge to procreate in its most primitive form can be enough to inspire an artistic masterpiece.

The Voyage, middle detail: 

But artistic inspiration from the muse is not limited to sexual energy. She is representative of the beautiful things we may discover in nature but cannot grasp, and her energy blooms within the artist, creating within him the desire to give his love to the world.
 
And because mother nature will never be conquered by man, it is a reason why painting will live on forever.

The Voyage, right detail: