How does one create epic Art? – this is one of the questions that I am sometimes asked by young, aspiring artists.
Another one is – I want to become a great Fantasy artist and a master, so what do I have to do to achieve that? Meaning – what kind of procedure, or a method I need to follow; give me some formulas that I can apply to while practicing, so that I may achieve my objectives in a reasonably short period of time.
The answers I am able to give are often somewhat discouraging – It takes about 10 years if you work day and night; otherwise 20. But, there is a “shortcut” … which might take even longer, however the results will be far greater. How about discovering Yourself and your own unique “voice”, instead of striving to become a revered master of some kind?
Wrong answer, of course. I could see it in their eyes.
The answer to the question regarding epic Art is, I am afraid, similarly unsatisfactory. First of all, the epic dimension, or the epic feeling, is never outside of You. So, find the epic within, let yourself be shaken up by it, and there you go! If you are not able to feel it, you will have little to express. Your brilliant thinking mind will not be able to help you out really. The epic dimension is never far from the Archetypal level, and this is to be found deep within yourself, mostly in the Unconscious, section Collective Symbols, thus beyond your thinking Mind.
You can try, and perhaps you should try, to think your way out of this problem, or simply copy the work of those who successfully tap-into this realm, but eventually you will end up being disappointed. You simply cannot bypass yourself, for you are, deep-down, Epic by nature!
I realize that this is not easy at all, but it is not impossible either. Persist and you will eventually be able to touch it. And when you touch that dimension within you, you will discover that everything around you is in fact epic and permeated by that same energy. And when you see it that way, experience it, realize it, you will probably cry your eyes out because of sheer Awe, Wonder and Beauty of it all. Only then you will know that you have arrived at your destination, that you have touched the epic dimension within you.
Well, these are some serious words, are they?
Now then, let us be a bit more practical. I guess there are many ways which can bring one to that realization, and one that is rather universal and always beneficial for an artist is the attentive observation of the surroundings and Nature. Here is my own experience:
More than a decade ago, I was still very much preoccupied with painting from life and produced a number of still-life and plein-air landscape paintings. It had a significant impact not only on the further development of my painting abilities but it also improved and enriched my fantasy art work.
All that we dream of and fantasize about is firmly anchored in the knowledge of the reality we perceive around us. Sharpening of the perception of the physical world will improve our ability to “dream” in color and form.
“Recognize what is before your eyes, and what is hidden will be revealed to you.”
BRAVO!! So refreshing to hear Truth – that Art – Epic or even just Good – takes time, observation, and diligent focused practice to develop. There are no shortcuts.
**Ars longa, vita brevis, occasio praeceps,
experimentum periculosum, iudicium difficile.**
Thank you, Nina!…I did not know that there is an addition to the famous proverb “Ars longa, vita brevis”, which seem to be originally Greek, according to Wikipedia. Thank you for that as well! 🙂
Lovely article, Petar. I’ve got to say that image 6/8 with the wheat along the waters edge is very moving. If I look at it long enough I can hear the wind blowing across the scene.
Thank you, Justin!…That landscape is quite common in the part of Holland where I live. Yes, the painted field resembles wheat, but in fact these are reeds. 🙂
Thank you very much for these inspirational words!
I can’t speak for other artists, but in my case, this discovery of beauty (or epicness!) is more of a cycle… I realize it, then the feeling “dulls out”, leading to another realization, and so on. Now I’m curious to know if you (or other artists) also feel that way ^^
And on a side note, I love your brushwork and all the small-scale colour variations in your paintings.
Thank you, Harkalé!… Well, it is mostly a gradual process indeed – bit by bit the bigger picture is being unveiled. The realizations come and go, but if there is a steady focus and a certain practice, it builds up and eventually becomes a second nature, or perhaps the first one, I should say. Based on my own experience, practicing stillness is probably the most beneficial method for it is in stillness that we are able to experience the epic dimensions within, or oneness. If one is still, that is if thinking mind is quiet, only then is one able to really observe, and with true observation insights might come.