Our nephew recently gave Sylvia a project that he had done in pre-school. It was a rock painted as a ladybug. Later he told us, as if it was a big secret, “there is a rock in that ladybug”. A rock to everybody else was an insect to him, a beautiful example of how subjective things can be.
Mid career Phillip Guston abruptly abandoned his lyrically abstract paintings in favour of rough cartoon like images. He was scathingly chastised by the influential critic Hilton Kramer as “a Mandarin pretending to be a stumblebum”. No doubt stung and insulted, he continued making images that suited his own sensibility. Referring to critics and the influence of other painters, he once said that when an artist begins being an artist it’s as if their studio is crowded with others. As you paint, one by one they begin to leave. If you are lucky and paint long enough even you will leave.