Blog /September 7, 2015

I have just finished reading a wonderful book, called “I have always loved you.” by Robin Oliveira. It is the story of the relationship between the artists, Mary Cassatt and Edgar Degas, and really spoke to my “Artist’s Soul”.

It is set in Paris, during the late nineteenth century. The era of “Belle Epoque Paris” and the lives of the “Impressionist painters”, Edgar Degas, Mary Cassatt, Edouard Manet, Berthe Morisot, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet and others are vividly brought to life.

What really appealed to me, and resonated with me was the way Robin Oliveira poignantly expressed the universal struggles of being an artist.

I think many artists will be able to relate to these struggles, feelings and conflicts experienced by the characters in this book:

How does one deal with the ever-present obsession with ideas and compulsion to create art. The passion of the soul that seems to overtake one’s life, and makes it difficult to have to deal with the banal necessities of day to day life.?

How does one have the courage to express one’s true authentic self in one’s art and break the rules, when this is not accepted by the so called ‘norms’ of the society one lives in, or not really understood by those around you?

How does one manage those nagging feelings of self doubt when faced with a blank canvas, or when attempting to show ones work?

How does one know when a piece of work is complete, when one is continuously driven to create the best work ever and always wanting something better.?

How does one manage the conflict between the desire to just “make art”, and the need to “make a living” to survive. How can one be true to one’s unique vision and not sell one’s soul for financial gain?

What makes one a true artist? Is it just talent or is it through hard work and perseverance that transcendence in one’s work is achieved.

This book really made be curious and intrigued with the characters of Mary Cassatt, and Edgar Degas, Eduard Manet and Berthe Morisot. I learned  so many things about them that I didn’t know before and now have a yearning to go back and learn more about them, and that time in history. Perhaps I’ll even try portrait painting.

Above all it reinforced  for me the importance  of “painting from the heart rather than from  the mind,” and having the courage to be true to oneself and one’s authentic vision.