Moving Forward by Looking Back

Many of us have heard the phrase “History repeats itself” in one context or another. It is one sentence that is used so frequently that we often forget the important truth that lies beneath the surface. It is the historical facts of the past that help to guide the decisions that we make in the future. Much can be learned from the countless number of people who have come before us. We are fortunate to have a record of the knowledge which has been accumulated throughout history, whether it is through literature, art, music, archaeology, etc. It is this knowledge which has served as a foundation upon which we can build.

Many years ago, as an art student, I was introduced to the work of some of the greatest artists who had ever put paint on canvas. Names like John Singer Sargent, Anders Zorn, Joaquin Sorolla, Cecilia Beaux, Ilya Repin, Frank Benson and many more would soon become common names to me when talking about art. I couldn’t get enough of their work. I would look through art books, visit museums and galleries in order to see original paintings and talk with other artists about the techniques that were used to create such masterpieces. It was through this constant immersion of study that I began to learn about the art of painting. Much of my education has come as a result of looking back at the work of these incredible artists and trying to figure out not only how they did it, but why they made the choices that led them to their final result. I am so thankful to have such a rich supply of art history to look back upon and use as a reference and guide for my own work.

A few years ago, while talking with other artists, I began to notice that many of them were not familiar with the names or work of some of the great painters which I have mentioned above. They had never seen how beautifully sunlight could be captured on canvas by a man named Joaquin Sorolla or how the essence of a person’s character and personality could be expressed in a portrait which was painted by John Singer Sargent. I began to notice that art history was slowly being forgotten. As a result, I wanted to help reintroduce these great painters to a new generation of artists and give them the opportunity to experience the excitement and thrill of discovering some of the great paintings that I was introduced to as a student. With that in mind, I began a series titled “Painters of the Past” which includes the works of some of the great late 19th century painters which have inspired me over the years. Each day, a new painting is added to this collection in order to provide a “gallery” for artists to view with the hopes of inspiring them to pursue their own artistic goals. The platform that is used for posting the Painters of the Past albums is Facebook. I have provided a link on the right hand side of this page for those who are interested. Whether you are an artist who is looking for encouragement and inspiration or one who appreciates great works of art and the joy that they can bring to one’s life, the Painter’s of the Past albums were made with you in mind. If you have any questions about any of the paintings or artists that are posted, just let me know and I will do my best to get you an answer.

Every great artist is a pioneer. He travels down a road which has been paved by other great artists of the past but he, alone, must make the journey himself. The goal of the artist is not to reach the end of the path which others have traveled, but to go beyond their accomplishments and venture into uncharted territory, therefore extending the path beyond what it once was.