I’ve had the pleasure of getting to work from my good friend Wayco Beckman’s photography for many years. Over the years, many pieces have sold and gone to new homes. But this year, we were able to gather enough together to create a unique art show that combined Wayco’s photos with the paintings they inspired. The result was a very unique art experience: viewing the beautiful photography side by side with the paintings, as well as a backstory with each exotic photo.
Through his work, Wayco has the opportunity to travel to places many of us could only ever dream of visiting. He takes his camera on his journeys, and has an impeccable eye for catching scenes that are both enchanting and transporting.
I’ve had the joy of getting to be inspired by his photos, and i’m always suprised at how the feel of his photo also gets translated into my paintings, even though I do not know the backstory until after i’ve painted it. It’s true inspiration/muse magic if i’ve ever seen it!
We had a great reception and I was very grateful to all those who came out and shared their thoughts and comments with me. The show itself is displaying 10 years of work for me, a true passion project. I will continue to work from his photos for as long as he will let me- in fact my two recent paintings are both from his photos.
Many far and away expressed interest in sharing the experience. While I will always stress that viewing artwork online is no where near the experience of viewing it in person, I understand that is not always possible!
Without further ado, I give you the online version of our show!
Overheard more than once at one contemporary art show or another: “My toddler could paint that!!”
A few years ago I had the absolute pleasure of visiting the Milwaukee Art Museum while they had their Rebels show, which included (among many others) Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Camille Pissaro, and my idol Vincent Van Gogh to name a few. I was in absolute awe in viewing in person many of these paintings that i’ve idolized as an artist and art lover over the years.
When sharing my awe over the show, I heard comments in different forms, about how simple some of the art seems, and how “anyone could do that” sort of idea. It really struck me at first, and I almost got trapped into that sort of thinking.
Years of trial and error are behind any great piece of art.
What you don’t see when looking at these works that seem simple- is the background for the artist. All the trials, all the experimenting, all the failures to finally come across that one great idea. For many artists, it’s more than just trial and failure to find success. It’s a deep, inner obsession that consumes the mind. That leads them to keep searching and struggling- sometimes at great cost to their careers, families, or mental health. Sacrifices for the inner drive-that they might not even be able recognize or name until it happens.
I recently made a discovery in my studio- a much easier way to paint what I have been trying to paint for years. And it’s so easy and fun, i’ve decided to start teaching the method to those interested. And i’m sure i’ll encounter students in my classes that might be tempted to think “wow, it’s so easy”. But I hope they will also see that artist behind the concept. It’s one thing to look at someone’s idea and repeat the concept.
Without experimenting and failures, yes it does seem simple.
Make sure you consider this the next time you are tempted down the path of thinking of a form of art as easy or simple. Sit down and try it yourself. And you’ll see, probably immediately that it’s not as easy as they made it look. And consider and respect all the background work that was done to lead up to that one big great idea.