WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT?
As much as I get great personal enjoyment from my own painting endeavours, I've often been perplexed by the question: What is the point of it all? Painting as a hobby for one's own personal pleasure is easy enough to understand, but what is its significance in the grander scheme of things? What possible value other than decor does painting serve, if any? What is it that I am striving for when I am driven to improve the quality of my work? What good am I doing for mankind, pursuing (not necessarily achieving) great images on canvas, created with brushstrokes and paint by my own hand?
Well, yesterday I think I had an epiphany about this very subject.
Yesterday I attended an opening of a show at the White Rock Gallery featuring the work of Renato Mucillo. I have long been attracted to Renato's work which I have seen on the internet, but I had only ever seen one of his original paintings before. The show actually opened at 7 pm the previous night and I was told by 3 pm there were already 30 or more people lined up waiting for the doors to open. Within the first 30 minutes almost all the paintings were sold. When I arrived yesterday, just after the noon opening of the gallery, of the 40 paintings in the show all except three had red "SOLD" dots beside them and one of those was just being sold as I walked in. The buyer was being congratulated and applauded.
While impressive on the computer monitor, in real life these paintings immediately grabbed me in the pit of my gut. As I slowly walked through the exhibit, waves of shivers swept over my skin. I made one slow round, picked up a glass of wine from the bar, and went through one more time. The goose bumps increased, and I had to finish the wine quickly and leave the gallery before I embarrassed myself with tears streaming down my cheeks. I was so moved by these paintings I was overwhelmed with emotion.
So, what was it that overwhelmed me like that? Without doubt it was the stunning, awesome beauty of the painted scenes. Renato takes very ordinary, simple landscape scenes, largely of flat land with a bit of water or a stream under a huge sky, often in the light of dusk or evening - scenes that most people would drive by without a second glance - and turns them into powerful, dramatic visual feasts of knee-buckling impact. In doing so he enriches the lives of anyone fortunate enough to see his paintings. And that's what it's all about — enriching the lives of others by showing the extraordinary in the ordinary. That seems to me a noble purpose worth pursuing. Now I understand why I paint and what my target needs to be. Thanks Renato.