About The Landscape Illuminated

Robert Lewis

Robert Lewis

One of the regrettable things about life is that one tends to be pigeon-holed.

It isn’t just others that pigeon-hole you, it is your own doing as well. We tend to be defined and to define ourselves in terms of what we do. Yet each of us knows that when someone asks “What do you do?” they mean what is your occupation, your work. When someone asks me this, I get a panicky feeling, a sort of dread, that I must answer carefully and quickly or they will file me away with a convenient label. That feeling arises because, of course, we all do many things and we only occupy ourselves at some things. Our work, quite often, is not who we are or how we define ourselves, and so to answer this unfair question with a word or two is to leave out so very, very much. You want to say “Well, I do such and such, but, believe me, I am so much more than that!”

So…I am an artist. I’ve gotten used to saying that, to defining myself in that way, pigeon-holing my own existence into a single word. I think the idea of being an artist, specifically an oil painter, was very seductive to me when I was a teen. The smell of the turpentine, the thoughts of nude models, the sound of classical music playing as I painted, the joy of working for no one, all of these congealed together to make a vision that I could not resist and have never been able to resist.

Artist?! Living has made me far more than the artist in that narrow dream that I lusted after as a teenaged boy. Let me show you my stacks of poetry and stories I have written. Take a look at my scrapbooks from the years I spent in theater, on stage and backstage. See how I have raised children, learned to cook exotic foods, sculpted out of wood, built structures, etched glass, illustrated children’s books, learned to dance, struggled to sing and compose, and written essays of memories and strong feelings. And so much more.

So, The Landscape Illuminated began as a blog on painting, plein air painting, but time has shown me that I need to stop pigeon-holing myself. I have more to say about my experiences, more than fits into the narrow category of “artist”. As time goes on, The Landscape Illuminated may illuminate not only the landscape of painting but that interior landscape where dreams, thoughts, and memories mingle and try to make sense of themselves. So, with that in mind, please start here.

(You can view my paintings here.)

3 comments for “About The Landscape Illuminated

  1. April 18, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    Robert, I love your beginning here. I agree. I have started to do photography and have worried that my collectors and students will be confused by it and maybe even worry that I will give up painting (which will never happen). I think it is threatening to people when they can’t put others in a box in their minds. It is a way of dealing with the multitude of information, people and connections we make everyday. In a way social media gives us a way of expressing what we want about ourselves and seeing how others respond. But it is rather safe. But I always worry, what if my beliefs turn off my collectors–I try to stay away from controversial statements that are not about art. It is stifling. Good on you for being who you are! Life is short. We only get so many years and we never know how many it will be. I am starting to ask myself, have I done what I wanted to do? Are there things I want to accomplish before I die. Are there things I need to say to my loved ones? Anyway, back to you. Your work is full of awesomeness and invention. I really like that about it. Your spirit is just as awesome and you are a super cool person. I am going to subscribe!

    • robert
      April 18, 2012 at 10:03 pm

      Thank you, Tracey, for your kind comments. You are one of my heroes, someone I follow with great interest and you always make me say “Yes!”.

      • April 19, 2012 at 2:40 am

        HI Robert (and Tracey)…you are both awesome and so is your artwork! Thanks so much for putting your thoughts out there…I love the network of artists I have come to know through this love of ours. It is amazing to me the amount of good energy and sharing that happens and feel blessed to be a part of it.

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