Too many artists fear words.
My first taste of this came in college. A professor had an exhibition. I thought a preview of this event for the college newspaper would be an easy byline for me.
I asked if the prof would share any details of individual paintings attendees would see.
“I never discuss individual work,” Mister Academia blathered. “I don’t want to limit the individual’s interpretation of each painting.”
I have a mile-long list of why I disagree with such thinking. My memory still flashes of the teacher back to a cheap imitation of A Few Good Men. “You can’t handle the truth!”
Ever since, I’ve marveled at the brave artists, those creators unafraid to share themselves as they share their work.
A great example of such creative courage is painter Jolie Guillebeau.
Jolie paints in oils and words.
Some painters might pant over the thought of creating a new work each day. How about painting, telling the inspiration story behind the work, then e-mailing the combination to all her Internet fans? No, not selling a subscription. GIVING!
Her giving spirit is the foundation for any creation. For her most recent birthday, she created a story page on the Internet. More than 50 people shared stories. Jolie, not subscribing to the idea that birthdays are for GETTING, made small paintings to mail to each story sharer.
Who hasn’t watched those PBS Joy of Painting programs with Bob Ross? Seeing him paint was fun. Hearing his thoughts as he created was sublime.
Take the words away, and some of the magic goes, too.
Jolie harkens that same delight. I’ve viewed Mr. Potato Head in a new realm since experiencing Jolie’s portrait of the spud. Her website shares other milestones in her colorful adventures, including the publication of a book.
I like the “what” and the “how” of Jolie’s painting. Most of all, I admire the “why” she adds to every picture. Those stories are artworks that’ll never fit in frames.
I hope you’ll enjoy Jolie’s daily paintings newsletter as much as I do. It’s her free gift to all of us. And, if you like her newsletter, I think you’ll love her book.
Meanwhile, I beg any future artists who cross my path: Words are colors. Let the backstory add to your artistry. Be the wizard who lets us peek behind the curtain. If Jolie can do it, why can’t you?