The Case For Experimenters

I’ve just read another very interesting book by Malcolm Gladwell. He writes of everyday events and processes and makes us look at them in a very different way. The piece I just read was comparing different styles that painters can follow. He points out the example of Pablo Picasso who burst on the scene at about age 20, as a fully formed new voice. His new vision captured the public imagination immediately and he experienced financial and critical acclaim right away. He also did some of his best work early on. Gladwell contrasts this with the group that he calls ‘experimenters’. These artists, and his example is Paul Cezanne, take years and years of experimenting and struggle before they finally clarify their vision and achieve their own voice. This analogy caught my attention because I am definitely an experimenter. I have to play with ideas and seemingly take many detours and deadends before I finally achieve the ability to say what I want with my own voice. This is one reason I’m enjoying revisiting some of my earlier paintings. Since I originally did them I’ve studied lots, practiced lots, made lots of mistakes and figured some things out. But through it all there has been progress and I see things now that I wasn’t ready to see earlier. This painting from the Lake Of The Woods is a perfect example. The only thing that remains from the original is the main rock. The beauty of Gladwell’s observations is that though very different neither approach is ‘better’ or more valid than the other they are just different. We just need to stay true to our own journey and that way we can’t lose.

4 thoughts on “The Case For Experimenters

  1. Anonymous

    Interesting comments. It is definitely worthwhile to read about the past "masters" to provide insight in developing our talent.

  2. Rex Beanland

    Thanks for the comments anonymous (Christine, I believe). You're absolutely right. So many of the issues we deal with today have been resolved so wonderfully by the masters. We all will benefit by understanding what their trials, tribulations and solutions were. Art is definitely a journey and we are wise to learn as much as possible from those who have gone before.


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