J.M.W. Turner & Me.
J.M.W. Turner, "Rain Steam and Speed", 1844 and "Intestinal Forms", 1990, both oil on canvas
One hundred and forty-six years separate J.M.W. Turner's painting, "Rain Steam and Speed", from my painting, "Intestinal Forms". Despite the chronological distance between the two, I find similarity in the attitude in which they were created. Turner became more and more himself as he aged ("Rain Steam and Speed" is considered a "late" Turner, produced in 1844 when Turner was 69 years old). During my time away from making art I have been contemplating the manner in which I make art. Turner became himself by realizing, on canvas and paper, his deeply discerned intuitive knowing. I sometimes veer away from my own deeply intuitive knowing. I get distracted by searching for more knowledge. This quest for the ephemeral must end. When I return to painting I will follow the complexity of my internalized expressive self and make the art I was born and bred to make. This will be nurture and nature coming together, unified in my art. I admire Turner for accomplishing this in his lifetime. Other painters have also achieved this lofty success. Here I name a few other artists who I see as having succeeded: Willem de Kooning, Henri Matisse, Richard Diebenkorn, Alberto Giacometti, and James Ensor. These five are the ones that immediately come to mind, but of course there are others. The five I have named, along with J.M.W. Turner, are most on my mind as I seek my own redemption from the failure I witness when I seek knowledge, rather than perform my knowing.
Before I go, let me show you one of my favorite paintings by J.M.W. Turner, "Burning of the Houses of Parliament", 1834. This painting is also considered a "late" work of Turner's. "Burning of the Houses of Parliament" is much less abstract than "Rain Steam and Speed", and it was painted 10 years before "Rain Steam and Speed".
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