“For me, a painting must give off sparks. It must dazzle like the beauty of a woman or a poem.” – Joan Miró

In many ways, I have adopted Miró’s philosophy of executing a work of art. No matter the subject, I want the audience to be overwhelmed by the image they see.  Humbly, I must confess, this is not always how the work reveals itself.

I like to think the audience is standing behind me while I paint, encouraging me, cautioning against overuse of stale subject matter, cheering my never-ending research into a theme. These imaginary spectators, in my mind, have the hopes of remembering the work for a lifetime as Miró instructed:

“You can look at a picture for a week and never think of it again. You can also look at the picture for a second and think of it all your life.”

Nothing is more thrilling than being a “fly on the wall” at a gallery where my work is exhibited and overhearing the comments and discussions about the meaning, symbolism, color, and textures; yet nothing is more distressing to hear mean-spirited or thoughtless criticisms. Artists may not all be so thin skinned but we do have skin and some comments cut deep.

But we artists must trudge forward through globs of oils and turpentine or acrylics and water or any number of mediums to finally realize we are our own worst critic and our own best cheerleader and our own final decision-maker.

So, make that mark in good faith! Know that you and only you have the right to do so.


Helen Rose Buck

PS:   Miró had much to say about his own processes and I encourage you to read these purely as an academic exercise.  https://denverartmuseum.org/article/15-quotes-joan-miro