Artists are Collectors

May 22, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

  I have always been a collector of things.

When I was a kid it was rocks, fossils, nature cards, hockey cards, coins, stamps....none had any great monetary value, but all had some sort of personal value to me.

 

Now I collect things like beautiful antique pieces of glass and ceramic ware, small silver items, and again nothing very expensive, but somehow they catch my eye and make me want to have them around to look at.

    Everyone collects their personal treasures and surrounds themselves with them throughout life...we all do, I guess it's a human instinct or desire.

Even animals like pack rats and crows delight in filling their nests with shiny objects that have absolutely no functional purpose.

 

Maybe even these creatures just like the glitter and shine of certain objects.
Scientists have not come up with any explanation for this sort of behaviour in animals.

   For artists I can see the attraction to collecting beautiful things, and often these objects become inspiration for their work.
It's very convenient to have a varied collection of interesting things to use as props in paintings, and of course artists have done this for a long time.

   When I was staying at Joe Plaskett's house at 2 Rue Pequay, Paris, it was delightful to see all of the wonderful treasures that he had purchased at flea markets and other places over the years.

His house was tall and narrow, consisting of four floors in all, and each as rich in artifacts as any museum.

One of his favourite things to collect was antique mirrors, which appeared in many of his paintings and pastels.
There were also countless small figurines, vases, candle sticks, and very tiny objects perhaps made of ivory.

His tastes were broad and wonderful to behold.

Wherever the light was good there were also different species of plants in pots, as well as dried flowers in ceramic vases.

Ivy climbed and hung as close to the windows at it could negotiate, while very tiny cactus seemed to flourish in small clay pots on shelves.

A beautiful antique glass chandelier hung in the dining room above the table and bathed the room in warm, relaxing light in the evenings.

A fireplace with a white marble mantle dominated the east side of the dining room and a large, multi-panelled pastel work covered the wall just to the left of it.

Needless to say, it was a very inspiring room to sit in and think about what work one might undertake, or which museum would be visited the following day.

As I said earlier, this was my day to day museum, and always intriguing to look at. Every day I'm sure I discovered something new admire.

      Joe told me that in the 1950's, matinee idol Cary Grant would visit the house whenever he was shooting a movie in Paris.

It seems that Joe's friend who co-owned the house was an excellent portrait painter, and Mr. Grant would come to have a small portrait painted of his leading lady as a gift from him.

In return one of the things he would exchange with the artist were beautiful, life sized marble eggs.
I noticed some of these amid all of the other curiosities, but had no idea of their significance until Joe told me.

     It's twenty years ago now that I visited Paris for the first time, and the memories and photos I collected then are invaluable to me.
Each picture I took brings back wonderful memories and magically makes it seem that it all happened just yesterday.

These things help to create rich thoughts of people, place and things gone by.

This is our life, and we all have stories to tell...stories that identify us as who we are.


Every drawing or painting I create does exactly the same thing. They are the fruit of my experiences to be left behind for others to enjoy.

I'm happy about that.

 

© Blair T. Paul, all rights reserved
Edited and posted by: Chris MacFarlane Photography


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Welcome to my blog. 
I'll be writing on a regular basis about my experiences as a painter over the last forty years. I hope you'll share your thoughts and comments with me - it's a great way to be connected.

Blair T. Paul

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