I am a romantic painter. I have found definitions of “romantic” such as a sensibility; primitivism; love of nature; sympathetic interest in the past, especially the medieval; mysticism; individualism.
I am also sentimental. Webster defines someone who is sentimental as a person excessively prone to feelings of tenderness, sadness, or nostalgia.
That brings me to nostalgia. I am nostalgic and find myself attracted to the Irish notion of a gentle melancholy that permeates life. While I reflect on Ireland and my Irish paintings, I am also thinking about why I am drawn to certain subjects, places, or ideas.
Such thoughts drew me to one of the first paintings that I ever did. I was on a painting retreat in France with no experience at all. Each day we would be driven to some exquisite location to paint. We would arrive and scatter, painting whatever we were drawn to. One could have chosen a lovely view, goats, a forest and other people.
I wandered around and found a three story 19th century home that was in ruins. What happened to this house, I wondered. Why didn’t this seemingly once lovely place undergo repairs? What was its story? Of course, that was what I decided to paint.
I have learned that I am drawn to emotions and events that I perceive may exist or have existed. That is one reason that I am drawn to Ireland and spent so many years in France. I was and am enchanted by the history, the way people lived, the myths, the beauty of both structures and raw nature.
I think that the classical definition of all of the above can be summarized to this description:
The Romantic embodied “a new and restless spirit, seeking to burst through old and cramping forms, a nervous preoccupation with perpetually changing inner states of consciousness, a longing for the unbounded and the indefinable, for perpetual movement and change, an effort to return to the forgotten sources of life, a passionate individual effort at self-assertion, a search after means of expressing an unappeasable yearning for unattainable goals.
I especially like the part about unappeasable yearning for unattainable goals. If I ever get a clear idea of what those goals are, I will let you know.
Thank you for sharing so openly about your inner self. Years ago, someone I respected referred to me as a romantic, and I felt somewhat ashamed. Too girly? Too emotional? Your writing just helped me understand myself better. Being a romantic is something I can embrace. This is really helpful personally and creatively.
Sylvia, thank you so much or your comments. I had a feeling you were a fellow romantic. I don’t think that it is easiest road to follow, but I think it is one of the deepest. For me I think that the way I described myself was more of my nature, not really having anything to do with nurture. My life has been very rich and I suspect that yours has been also-with much more insights to follow.
It is very refreshing, Ann, to read posts that address personal concerns in a real manner, rather than simply glossing over clichés. Thank you…
Thank you Tim. I usually find reveling myself can be very liberating.
I love this post about being a “romantic painter”, Ann – it suits you well. I’m so glad you feel comfortable sharing your feelings about this aspect of yourself. Those of us who know you have learned something we may not have known before.
Thank you for your comment Brenda. I think that you can see parts of my romanticism in some of my paintings. Being a romantic and also sentimental are traits that I first realized in childhood. They don’t always serve me, but they can be very interesting.