Last week I decided to put together a couple of proposals for art exhibitions. I moved some furniture and have art taped up all over the walls of my small apartment to help me evaluate which pictures to include. 50% of being an artist is creating something; the other 50% is marketing – getting it to the public.Why bother with the marketing? It isn’t a ‘look what I’ve done’ action. In fact, if the work was really inspired I didn’t do it at all – at least as an individual. When I am inspired the ‘egoic identity’ is mostly absent and it is the inspiration, the muse, that is acting through me. When I look at the finished art piece I am usually quite surprised at how it turned out. It is much better than I could have done it alone. That moment(s) of inspiration and the result is what I want to share with others.
When a piece of art is good, there is something quite magical in the way the water and ink combine, in the way the brush comes alive and leaves its signature, in the beautiful receptivity of the paper. When you consider the sources, the paper represents the vegetable kingdom, the brush the animal kingdom and the ink the mineral kingdom. Water is the source of all life and it is the fire of inspiration that transfigures it.
To me, brush and ink painting can give expression to the experience of life.
The absorptive quality of the paper sucks the ink out of the brush with a peculiar power. Too much ink or too slow a stroke – and the painting starts swimming along the paper-fibers before it has had the slightest chance of taking proper shape. The feminine paper lies with wide-open arms waiting to receive the brush, and the brush has to summon up all its masculine authority to stay in command. The painter must be sure of his ability to control the flow of ink perfectly and master the speed of the stroke exactly.
Fritz van Briessen, The Way of the Brush