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Humphrey Bogart once referred to my Ohio birthplace as “some jerk town called Circleville”. In my thinking, it is a perfectly respectable place with honorable citizens but it isn’t far from places   I heard about that once had names like Mutton Jerk, Pinch Gut and Knock ‘em Stiff. Memories remain of people calling me an artist long before the idea registered in my mind. Now that I think about it, after more than fifty years as an artist, I am not certain the concept has ever completely taken root.

Art is a very peculiar profession. There are contradictions and widely divergent opinions with some extremist tendencies. Contributions are made by lots of self-proclaimed and unqualified experts. Commercial hype, marketing strategies and changing trends also add a profusion of competing influences. Art is the only profession that tolerates the lunatic fringe. This is necessary to avoid missing some profound bit of evidence that might reveal a creative genius. Nevertheless, I became an art professor and played the role with enthusiasm, gratitude and a sense of humor.

Fundamentally, painting is about light. Light is the visual language of art. Without it there is no form and no color. Natural light is constantly changing and transforming all of the subtle nuances of color simultaneously. Light also bounces around, further complicating these elusive effects by creating reflected color on adjacent surfaces. As a youngster, a bright, sunny, summer morning would often prompt me to grab my watercolors, jump on my bike and follow the light out into the countryside in search of some creative adventure.

A bicycle is not used anymore but I continue to be tempted by the light. If the light is followed aimlessly, it is possible to become completely lost. You become lost in a strangely timeless process of high adventure. As the American artist, Robert Henri (1865-1929) explained, “The object of painting a picture is not to make a picture … The object … is the attainment of a state of being.” Is anything else really necessary?

                                                                                                                                  Bruce Horn

 

Bruce Horn Art

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