After posting that beautiful Derain portrait of Madame Carco, I've slipped into a much less joyful mood because I learned this morning that George W. Bush has taken up painting.
Why is it that people do that in their "retirement" and why do real painters never retire?
Let me explain one reason that is seldom spoken about but is known by serious painters.
Real painting is very complicated and takes a lifetime of involvement to produce anything worth looking at.
Again, if one doesn't understand that, one assumes that they (after a lifetime spent in some other prfessional area of expertise) would like to do something that is relaxing and easy. They may have seen paintings occasionally or even regularly throughout their lives that delighted them so they transfer this pleasure to an idea that they could be delighted by making paintings themselves.
Their naivety is both understandable and unbelievable, particularly if they're at all intelligent and were once involved in professions that required intense involvement and years of work to achieve their goals. Why, one wonders, don't they know, it's the same for serious painters?
Of course, if interviewed, these amateurs sometimes have a caveat about what they're doing. (They are often famous like George W. Bush). They might say, as Mr. Bush did, that his signature on the painting is worth more than the painting itself. So that's a way of avoiding any criticism and, of course, it projects a certain well deserved modesty. It’s a self-assessment by the most realistic of these beginners.
So you see, I’m not distressed by the retired beginner who knows their paintings are quite bad. It’s the general misunderstanding that painting is a relaxing pastime. It’s so much more. Concerning the idea of a painter retiring......They don't just stop doing what they've been committed to their entire life and there's no boss or government telling them they have to go. There's no such thing as quitting painting unless too ill. Even then, consider Matisse and Renoir's continued work despite their maladies.
My next post will surely be a wonderful painting.