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Go with Your Gut - Andrew Wyeth and me by Brian Kliewer

by Brian Kliewer on 6/29/2006

A few years ago I was out driving through the country about where Spear Hill Rd meets the Cushing Rd in the South Warren/North Cushing area. As I came to the intersection, I saw the hull of a lobster boat sitting in a stand of pine trees. Just a hull, no cabin. It immediately struck me as a scene that I might like to paint, being so out of the ordinary. Have you ever seen a lobster boat in a forest? A local lobsterman (fisherman) had made a clearing near his house so that he could work on his boat. I drove by it several times and kept thinking that it would make a great painting. It sat there for at least a couple of years. Well, I never did get around to painting it and even later decided that it looked too much like something Andrew Wyeth himself might do.

(I do believe now that the reason I "never did get around to it" was because of this misplaced "respect".)

As I've mentioned on my web site, my studio is a short distance from the Farnsworth Museum. So...seeing original Wyeths is easy. Anyway, a year or so after that, I saw a new painting...there was my boat in the forest! Only, it was signed... "Andrew Wyeth."

If my "respect" for Wyeth hadn't gotten in the way in this case, a little "derring-do" would have seen me with a nice painting that would have been all my own even if Wyeth did follow me! "Go with your gut instinct!" has become my motto ever since.

EDITOR'S NOTE: We post this message by guest author Brian Kliewer to emphasize the point that an artist should always follow his/her muse. If you're inspired, Do It!

To learn more about Brian Kliewer, visit his web site at:


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Topics: creativity | Guest Posts | inspiration 

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Tracey Frugoli
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Thanks for this message and the editors note. Often we are faced with messages that "originality" is desirable in fine art to make it "worthy," or that, in order to stand out for the purpose of selling, it easier to be different than to be better. We then chase our tails trying to be novel and different. But after the Surrealists put a molded leather breast on a book and fur on a cup, what is left to do? I could argue that "originality" was over then. They did it, and they did it well. What followed was a shock and novelty frenzy. We saw a century (or more) of artists trying to be different--to be the first. But, different is not necessarily artistically authentic. There is a long history of artists learning by copying those who came before them and with good reason. We use the experience of past artists in combination with that individual urge inside us (AKA "the muse") in order to become fully ourselves. Once we do this, we have embraced the muse. All of a sudden we are original in that we are authentic. We don't need novelty to make powerful paintings. We need skill, study, miles of canvas, and passion.


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