Thursday, 24 May 2012

Grant Wood

A chance reference in a Clive Cussler novel I have read recenty goes to show that you never know where new art discoveries are going to appear! The main character descibes a scene of dawn breaking over a texas town on the bank of the Rio Grande as " like a Grant Wood painting" I had never heard of the artist, shame on me!..didn't even know if it was an imaginary reference so when surfing the net later I Googled "Grant Wood Artist" I found myself captivated by his works, not my usual fare but they just have... well... something.. The website dedicated to him is and gives a broad outline of his life, but not much else aside information about the Art Colony he founded.

The site says this:
"American art students were often encouraged to study and paint in the style of the great 19th century French Impressionist artists.  In 1920, Grant decided to travel to Europe to study artists like Pierre Bonnard, Alfred Sisley and Camille Pissarro.  It was after his trip to Germany that Grant found a way to paint that was all his own.  He decided to paint the subjects he knew and loved, using some of the simple ideas of the old European masters.  Grant realized that scenes of the people and places he knew while growing up were as beautiful and important as anything he had seen in Europe..... Grant wood died in 1942.  It had taken him many years to find a way to paint that he felt was special enough to call his own.  After searching the art center of Europe, Grant had finally realized the best place to create art was right in his own backyard. "

It struck a chord with me because I have often felt like I have not found my "style" my way of working that expresses what I feel passionate about in my art. Even as a child my handwriting constantly changed and waved, never looking the same from one week to the next as I tried to force it into this style or that style.. so much for my handwriting but it was a taste of things to come. I spent years looking at different artists, wishing I could emulate some style or other but in the end coming up unsatisfied. I wonder if a lot of this comes down to confidence. As I grow older I realise that I cannot be all things to all people, and that not everybody is going to love what I do, but I have to be true to myself for my work to possess any integrity, warts and all, I suppose it is part of the journey of an artist. 

So this artist who I had never even head of until this week, he was just a couple of years older that I am now when he died, a sobering thought..

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