Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Power of Painting

Munds Mountain Sublime, 6x12, pastel

Last year, when I was one of the artists invited to participate in the Zion National Park "In the Footsteps of Thomas Moran" plein air event, I had the opportunity to talk to a lot of people who weren't painters.  They were collectors or admirers of art, or they were just passing through and were curious.  One gentleman said, "You know, I don't paint myself and I can't afford any of these paintings, but just looking at them has changed the way I see.   Now when I hike through the Park, I feel like I'm in a painting."

This statement bowled me over.  I didn't occur to me that what we painters were doing could affect people so much.  We were like some magic compound ingested by the spectators, opening Huxley's doors of perception.   We were rewiring neurons, altering states of consciousness, and  - perhaps this is a presumptuous thought - maybe even redirecting the path of evolution.  Who would have thought painting could be such a powerful agent of change?

Speaking of change, after my workshop tomorrow, I'll be heading off to Las Vegas for the 1st Annual Plein Air Convention and Expo.  This is an exciting event - so many painters!  I'm looking forward to it, and also to making some new friends.  Afterward, it's off to Zion National Park.  I'll try to post from both locations.  Stay tuned!


Daniela said...

Yes, a sensitively put together painting can inspire people to feel nature as if it has context. I like what you say in your second paragraph.

Jo said...

Thoughtful post. Thanks. Have fun on your trips. We stay-at-homers are jealous and we are looking forward to being there through your posts!

Michael Chesley Johnson said...

Thanks, Daniela and Jo!