Here is another short studio conversation in a series of commentaries and lectures about atelier art practice:

You cannot paint a feeling you do not truly feel.

You cannot represent a mood if the mood is not within you.

You cannot catch a spirit you do not believe exists.

You cannot hear a painting’s lament if you are tone deaf.

Art cannot speak if the artist fails to give it a voice.

Art cannot bridge the spaces to the audience if it lacks emotional empathy.

Opinionated persons say the client is always right, but in my atelier the client is always wrong. The new art dealers are wrong too.

Let me explain why that is so.

It’s money driving the great game of painting and the actors celebrate technique and the depiction of representation by rote. Dealers dissuade extraordinary emotional sway because the clients demand potboilers to blend with décor. It’s career decors dealing the creative cards now and many artists respond. Books about technique are rushed onto the shelves to satiate demand for the production of art methodology.

This flurry of self-help advice certainly sees lots of art, including many styles of realism streamlined in a production process. It’s all at the expense of character and emotion because the art dealers and their clients request it. Art mirrors our consumerist culture reflecting back at us images of money.

The spiritual and the emotional aren’t felt to be necessary now, because it brings moods that are confronting to sell.

Obsession with technique blinds artists to everything else; especially it has blinded them to the necessity of content, unaware that their paintings have dead eyes, static mood, and are without character.

In my atelier’s foundation lectures the student participants are not allowed to ignore the angels. There’s more to art when you are predisposed to be sensitive.

Pieter Zaadstra (detail from essay of 2014-15)


Blackwall Jetty at low tide, Tamar Valley, Tasmania


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