The Great Expression

I have been watching two documentaries in recent days, and both of them spoke to me deeply. The first one was about Van Gogh, and it was very sad. It opened up thoughts in me I wish I did not have, but always have had through the years. Van Gogh had some type of mental disorder, and it seemed when he painted, he felt better. Six months before he died, his art made him feel alive. He must have put too much of his identity in it though the day he shot himself. He was quoted as saying that his sadness would last forever. His brother, Theo visited him the next day after he was shot, and he sat calmly in bed, smoking a cigar. He was dying, and told his brother: “Do not cry, I did it for the good of everybody”. Van Gogh felt like a huge failure to everyone. It was heartbreaking to watch this, and it woke up some dormant feelings in me. I feel the same way sometimes, and have for years, that being alive is not worth it, and I just want it all to end. I don’t really want to die, but Heaven would be better than this. Then there is the angst on the other end of it, a horror deep inside that you just are so traumatized over the thought of ending life. Artists typically have deep thoughts, and I am no exception.

For me to naturally be an Expressionist which I never sought out to be is eye opening. If I listened to some of the idiots out there, they might say Expressionism WAS a movement of the 1940’s. Um, no. It still continues to this day. When an Artist paints, they do not what label they are, they have to choose one. So you pick the closest one. I find it odd that art is spoken of like it is a thing of the past, when people are just getting started!

The second documentary I watched was on Robert Motherwell. He was an Expressionist in early to mid twentieth century. He said the most profound things, and it was like listening to myself speak on art. I fight hard to find the words to describe my work because people need to get to know me, and sometimes the words I choose are never good enough. For me, there is great freedom in painting, and it is emotions that want desperately to come out of hiding. I don’t know what they will be, it is spontaneous. I just know I want it to be colorful, speak loudly, and be a representation of something. There is a sense of hopelessness that comes over me when I think of my art lately. That I want it to say something. That simple thought is actually quite complex, and full of depth.

One example I can give is my love for God’s creation. In Fall of 2020, I walked down to the creek and field below my house, and felt choked up with tears. I had no idea why. As I pondered it, I realized that I wanted to connect with God, I wanted to express what I was feeling about nature, but could not find the words. I knelt down on the rock creek bed and burst into tears. Through the tears, I tried to pick up rocks to take back with me. I needed to hold onto a piece of this beauty that meant so much to me, in case I ever lost it. I was worried I would not be here forever, and would have to say goodbye to this place that meant so much to me. The tears kept coming until I was all buy hyperventilating, and I picked four random rocks. They were not the best looking because of my teary blindness, but I was determined to carry something back with me.

In my art, I want to capture something almost desperately. When I think of others viewing my work, I feel like Rothko did. He wanted so badly for people to find meaning in his work and would not let it go. I can’t either. Feelings, freedom, emotion, all turn into movement, shapes, lines, waves, and I have learned a lot about myself since I started. I am always reaching and connecting the dots so to speak through my paintings. What the viewer gets is up to them. I am just hoping it hits an emotional space, and maybe they don’t know why either.

Below are some quotes that fit me perfectly and are my favorite:

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