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Welcome to the Cooper studio, on duty in Russia. And actually we’re in Penza today, a city about 6 hours east of the temporary home turf of Lipetsk.
Penza has about the same number of people as Lipetsk, a half million or so. A river snakes around one side of town. Wikipedia says Penza is way older than Lipetsk. And I’ve already told you about Penza’s Savitsky art museum. Sigh. Lipetsk does not have one of those.
What they absolutely positively both have in common, is something that needs to be painted. At every turn, there it is. The next greatest painting. The next new favorite inspiration. The “I will paint this very thing SOON." (I have a bad feeling I might even have to break down and paint some snow – horrors!)
But I must veer off course momentarily. Flash back to a Friday. As I have told you before, the main reason we are in Russia is that spouse is consulting for an agricultural company here. And the company New Year party was Friday night. Of course there were a few speeches, much fun dancing, good food & wine, a few good employee awards. The person who kept things rolling at the microphone was a short guy. Must have been a comedian of sorts. The natives were laughing, the foreigners were not able to keep up with their limited language capabilities. We did understand that there was a gig of sorts going on – he would stick a mic in someone’s face and holler “skol'ko!” And each would holler back a reply, numerical form. So learning by default, skol'ko сколько means: how much?
Yesterday, as I traversed Penza with the camera, skol'ko came to mind again.
How much is that new favorite inspiration worth? That next image I see that I am pretty darn certain needs painted?
As I said a few paragraphs ago, the scenes out there in our everyday are limitless. What’s the skol'ko?
Undeniably, the end result, the painting, has differing dollar values per the artist.
But the inspiration to the artist, skol'ko?? Are those endless inspirations out there worth anything at all, until the artist sees them personally? Skol'ko?
I would like to toss out there the idea, that the images we see are not nearly as important at the moment of seeing, as they are after we've rolled them over in the old thought process function. As they are after we play in the sketch book with them. As they are after we struggle over the personal decision about what to leave out, what to add in. As they are after we start to put them on the canvas with our favorite color palette.
Skol'ko. I don't think it's there from the start. I think you, the artist, have to give it.
Editor's Note: You can view Karen's original post here.