Bliss and Fear in Art

Bliss may be small in its manifestation and large in its effect.  If one examines the drawings of the masters, one sees a quality of line that radiates the presence of bliss.  This line quality is that of assurance, grace, truth and so -  beauty.  Without this quality of bliss there is no mastery.  A knowing eye can see, smell, feel  fear in the drawn line.  Fear is the absence of bliss.  Fear is the black hole to the radiant star of bliss.  There are  times when fear in art is compelling and it may be a driving force for remarkable and popular art  but it is not a factor  in the poetics of mastery.   In mastery all fear has been translated into bliss.   If a draughtsman misses the bliss, he must proceed to his bag of tricks to deliver a work worthy of  sharing.  If you miss the bliss in oil paint, then toil on the canvas may suffice.  If you miss it in watercolor  try again another day.  A painting produced in a state of  bliss allows room in its being for the full participation of an enlightened viewer.  There are blank places, rest stops, easy places to enter the work, to share the joy.  Paint speaks:  “join me on a journey to a magic place, a stunning place, a vital, vibrant  and powerful place.”  Matisse invites you in, Turner invites you into his storms,  Chardin invites you into his kitchens and dining rooms.  Jasper Johns and Eric Fischl invite.   Inferior art tries to seduce  with  vague or arcane concepts, hyperglycemic colors, crowded composition, over-worked technique – work that transmits of a fear of not pleasing an audience.  Inferior painting reeks of the fear of failure.  It is blah.  Bliss allows you entry and takes you on a journey of delight.  You share the bliss of the creator - the artist.  Fear art is  a one-trick pony, a one-note Johnny, a one night stand.  It is worth a one minute perusal in a museum and can  inspire reams of text.  It is often over-sized.  Inflated scale is the first trick of bliss gone south.  The second trick is polish and shine.  Knowing that the human touch will reveal you - erase the mark altogether,  thus our Warhol induced, celebration of the machine-made object.  See Murikami, Koons, Hirst: active masters of the assembly line.  Although the bliss of the act of creation may be missing from this work, it is nonetheless conceptually rich and  fun to look at.   Russell Chatham’s postage stamp size watercolors carry more bliss-freight per square inch than even Turner’s late vapor.  Blissful art attracts,  blah art explodes in your eyes then bores you forever after, see Caravaggio.