What Picasso Taught Me

What Picasso Taught Me

Do you know what these four paintings have in common other than their subject matter? They share the same creator: Picasso– the guy who once said, “My mother said to me, ‘If you are a soldier, you will become a general. If you are a monk, you will become the Pope.’ Instead, I was a painter, and became Picasso.”

I fluctuate between, “The nerve of him!” and “What genius! What confidence!”. My feelings are complicated, but if Picasso were still alive, I doubt complicated feelings would bother him at all. He wouldn’t have time for them. He’d be painting. He’d be thinking about the next experiment. The next exploration.

I think most of us use the word “Picasso” as an expression for art that isn’t “realistic”. When someone says “Picasso” we mostly think of images like this one. But that’s one of many types of faces he created. 

In a world that seems to scream “SPECIALIZE!” Picasso reminds me to explore. When I look at his insanely large body of work I see not a specific style that develops over time but experimentation, range. I see incredible understanding and control of lines and spaces, as well as playful investigations into the emotional as well as literal content of a subject.

Niche makes sense for business. But it doesn’t make sense for my sanity. I might be painting birds on the day I die, but lord willing and the creek don’t rise, I’m going to find new ways to paint them. I’m going to abandon them and come back to them. I’m going to try new things in new ways. I hope that I do at least.

As I gear up for a painting a day in October, I’m hoping that the ritual will yield new ideas, new methods, new paintings that may or may not look like my old ones. Even as I write that I worry about my instagram feed– will it look incoherent? Disjointed? Will I be able to get new followers and keep the ones I have? 

To hell with it. I’m ready for some adventure.