Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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09/06/2005: "Do you believe in ghosts?"

That book I'm reading took a strange turn...he writes that all artists believe in ghosts and goes on to tell two "ghost stories" that illustrate how he felt "guided" by dead painters to become an artist. In one he stumbled upon this museum in Paris and viewed some Impressionist paintings that blew his mind and later it dawned on him that the museum hadn't had anyone working or visiting it and found out that it had supposedly been closed at that time.

In the second he meets a Korean holy man who is able to perfectly describe all the lines on the author's hand, before seeing it. After that he becomes this artist's spiritual leader and attends all of his openings with him etc.

I wanted to see this guy's work after that, he's always talking about it in such an arrogant way like it's the most amazing stuff ever...for example, he talks about how there are times when he feels the presence of other artists working through him because "he could never paint anything that incredible"!. So I looked up his website and his work isn't that impressive to me. But then, I've never been a fan of Impressionism (or neo-impressionism) so what do I know? Wouldn't it suck if your dead painter muse had been a terrible artist? QUIT WORKING THROUGH ME!

Really, I'm not sure where I stand on the ghost issue. I had some pretty freaky experiences as a child. I tried to rationalize the majority away (and finding out about REM paralysis explained a lot!) but there were things it couldn't explain, and now I think maybe my rich imagination conjured them. Still, if this guy is selling his work all over the globe then there has to be a way for the rest of us...with or without a dead artist guide.

Replies: 10 Comments

on Tuesday, September 6th, Kasia said

Ghosts are an interesting matter. Generally i do not belive in them, but if I had to be convinced about their existence I would not like to meet one.... I remember strange stories about ghosts from the childhood, I loved them 'cause I loved to be scared (the "safe" scare i like - like the kind you feel when you're watching a horror movie - you are afraid, but at the same time you know you're safe at home). But telling anyone you should belive in ghosts, if you want to an artist... hey, that is so cheap! I do not read guides, 'cause thir authors tink they have got a recipe for life! And life ain't that easy! We all know about it! A true Art comes from life -whatever it is - calm, peacaful or noisy and full of vodka. Am I right? (I am not an artist, so i might be wrong).

on Tuesday, September 6th, Elise said

I agree with you, some things can't be taught and the author of this book says as much, I like to read as much as possible, not about "how to be an artist" there is nothing to learn there, but how to *market* my work, so that I can continue to paint the way I enjoy painting, but I can make better sales and possible start doing it full time some day (the dream of every artist).

on Tuesday, September 6th, greg said

Wild! - well the Greeks did believe in their various Muses alright. I wonder if somehow 'objectifying' the inspirational takes a certain burden off the imagination to do all the work ... meaning if we introvert into ourselves too much - applying too much subjective pressure on our creativity - we can suffocate it!(?) ... hmmm!

I remember Paul McCartney saying (he likes to paint a lot it seems) he made up an imaginary artist/mentor/master to talk to and ask questions of, while he works. He said it helps tremendously! He had some silly name, Guido, or something ...

Ghosts. I was really into them as a kid, AFTER I saw one! I must have been 7 or so, walking along a sandy Cape Cod road at dusk with my teenage brothers and their friends.
I looked over into the woods on the other side of this marsh and I couldn't believe my eyes! I saw a dark cloaked figure of definite human form floating along at the edge of the woods. I stopped and gaped and said "what's that???" Tony, the joker, then grabbed my hand and yelled "A GHOST!!" and took of with me running down the road. I was pissed, because later I found out he just said that as a likely response to me, looking like I just saw a ghost, but no one else saw it or knew anything about what I saw. Besides Cape Cod being full of ghosts, I later found out doing Genealogy, that ancestors owned the old farm that we were on! hmmmm!!

Something about a kids' vision, perhaps that we loose later as we grow?

on Tuesday, September 6th, Elise said

It's strange how you can see things when you're a kid and it seems so real (and maybe it was) but then as an adult you can kind of rationalize it away.

Anyway, that's also weird about Paul McCartney talking to an imaginary friend. I wonder what they talk about?

on Wednesday, September 7th, Howard said

The artist sounds like a bit of a flake. Can't say I believe i ghost.

As to all that stuff about the artist on the outside looking in, there is a much more useful book to read called Solitude by Anthony Storr. It's not so much about artist , but creative types in general. It will leave you feeling a lot better about spending your weekends painting.

on Wednesday, September 7th, Sherri said

"Wouldn't it suck if your dead painter muse had been a terrible artist? QUIT WORKING THROUGH ME!"

This is halarious!! Is this book worth the read?

on Wednesday, September 7th, Elise said

Thanks for the suggestion Howard, really I wasn't reading this book to find out about "what it's like to be an artist" or why we do it or any of that...I basically wanted some strategies for getting my work out there, doing a better job of marketing and all that...without having to compromise what I like to paint.

I don't think I've gotten far enough into the book yet.

I'll let you know what my ultimate opinion on the book is Serri, once I've finished it. The guy might be obnoxious but he does make *some* valid points.

on Monday, September 12th, Nici' said

If we didn't all follow our intitution/imagination (muse, inner guide, imaginary friend) to a great degree I'm quite sure we wouldn't be interested in being artists. ;)

But then again, I'm one of those freaky artists that believe in the paranormal, and I'm old enough to be a great fan of Paul McCartney from his beginning as a musical icon. :P

on Monday, September 12th, Elise said

You're probably right Nici, I go back and forth between a strong belief in the paranormal, and a fear that makes me want to believe it isn't true.

I read in a newspaper editorial that the reason some people don't belive in an afterlife is because they fear god's judgement. I don't agree with that, but I do think one of the reasons I don't want to believe in an afterlife is because the unknown is sometimes scarier than the idea of just going out like a light.

on Monday, September 12th, Elise said

Oh yah, and Paul is OK but I was always more into John.