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  • Ljuba Ananina

The weather in the Painter’s inner world

The internal world of a painter is complex and varied, much like the weather patterns that sweep across our skies. This metaphorical climate shapes not only their moods but deeply influences their creative output. To understand a painter's internal weather is to peek behind the curtain of their artistic expressions.



oil painting woman on the chair in the dark with sun rays
"It will be sunny soon" by Ljuba Ananina

Imagine a painter starting their day under a stormy sky. These clouds could represent a mind burdened by personal grief or anxiety, shadowing their usual palette, urging darker, more turbulent strokes. On such a day, a canvas might become a tempest of emotion, each brushstroke heavy with the painter's inner turmoil, much like Turner's seascapes, which captured not only a visual spectacle but a tempest of the soul.


Conversely, consider the serene calm of a clear blue sky. This internal sunshine might find the painter in a state of blissful peace, where creativity flows as effortlessly as a gentle river. Colors become more vivid under this mental climate, and compositions more daring. Such was the weather when Monet painted his 'Water Lilies', a series where calmness pervades and beauty is reflected in the tranquillity of his pond.


Sometimes, the weather in a painter's inner world changes with the unpredictability of a spring afternoon. A sudden shower of inspiration can lead to frenzied, joyful activity, much like Van Gogh during his Arles period, where he produced more than 200 paintings in over a year. Each piece from that phase of his life bursts with the vibrant, almost chaotic energy of a man whose internal skies were ablaze with the golden light of creativity.


Yet, not all internal weather promotes productivity. A painter might encounter fog as thick as that which blankets London in winter. This fog, a metaphor for confusion or periods of artistic doubt, can obscure vision, muddle thoughts, and delay the process of creation. It is within this haze that a painter might pause, step back, and slowly navigate through the mist until clarity is restored, much like how Cézanne frequently revisited his subjects, each time peeling back layers of fog until the motive and composition aligned with his vision.


Understanding the weather inside a painter's world is essential to appreciating their art. It provides context to the vividness, the shadows, the lines, and the texture of their creations. It explains why the same landscape can be interpreted in myriad ways depending on the day, the mood, or the phase in the artist's life. Each painting, therefore, is not just a visual expression but a meteorological record of the artist's inner climate at the time of the painting's creation.


In conclusion, recognizing the weather in a painter's inner world adds a rich layer of understanding to our appreciation of art. It reminds us that each piece is not just seen but also felt, an echo of the internal climate from which it originated.

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