Art and Chaos
Updated: Jun 8, 2022
A little chaos goes a long way towards a painting.
Now, I know I don't like a chaotic looking studio. But that isn't the point. What I am talking about is the painting itself.
To be the master of chaos is to be the master of your art. And to do that, you need to thrive on your failures. If your paintings are always exactly what you wanted, if making them wasn't always a close run thing from which you do not always emerge triumphant or unscathed, then your paintings will all be impossibly dull.
You see such paintings in all the great galleries of the world and you walk on by, the thrill of being surrounded by art clinically dulled into submission. Such paintings are all in their surface, surfaces of icy, unflinching achievement, with all the life and vivid vibrancy of a banker's cold heart. Their meaning ends with their execution. The painting, that is, not the banker.
And then you see a Caravaggio and the joy comes flooding back in. Such artists are masters of chaos, and therefore of art. The blood from Caravaggio's life that overflows onto the canvas is what makes his art great, not the masterful application of paint onto canvas or the perfection of the chiaroscuro.
What, do you think, made Van Gogh a great painter if not madness mastered into colour and texture and mark? Where would the interest be in a work of Picasso, if it was not the ruthless fury, that curious blend of matador and bull? Yes, yes, creativity, energy and all that. But without the almost psychopathic fury, what would such things count for?
After Picasso: a copy I did as course work for Norfolk Painting School. Cat Eating a Bird.