Inspired by Chuck Close

When we visited the MET in New York last month they had a piece by Chuck Close and it reminded me that he really is one of my all time favourite artists. I have been so fascinated by him and inspired by his work ever since I was in school. Here are some of his paintings that are my favourites, but there really is nothing like seeing them up close and personal! I am alway in awe of photorealist painters because I admire the skill required so much. As his paintings are larger than life they are so impressive and I love when you can get close and see each tiny brush stroke, but from far away it looks just like a photograph. 

I think one of the things I find so interesting about Chuck Close is how he has overcome adversity and where many may have given up he did not and found new ways to paint despite his limitations. You can read more about it here but basically he suffered from a seizure which left him paralysed from the neck down. He relies on a wheelchair and continued to paint with a brush strapped onto his wrist with tape. He continued doing portraits and creates them by painting low resolution grid squares - which when put together make the portrait. I find these painting just as impressive as his photorealistic paintings even though they are very different.

I found this quote by Close a little while ago about inspiration and thought it was so wise and spot on. Sometimes we just need to turn up and keep doing the work rather than waiting for a bolt of inspiration to hit us. This really helps me on days when I am not feeling it. Just turning up and doing the work is so important. 

The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work.

If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to do an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself.

Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction.

Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case.
— Chuck Close

If you ever get a chance to see Close's work in the flesh I would highly recommend it. Although I am not a painter I just find his work and his journey so inspiring. 

Hope you all have a great Monday!

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