What makes a work of art or an artist, great?

My search for an answer began in the late 1970’s, while still in my teens. Standing in front of a sketch by Pablo Picasso, I began a conversation with the museum’s curator and a lengthy discussion ensued. The summary of which was that (in this man’s opinion) academic accomplishment, technical expertise and public appeal were the standards, (recognizable by society) of what is deemed to be a “great / successful artist”.

My thinking back then was simple, like that of all teens. Gaining early acceptance into three popular schools of art (between the ages of 12 and 16 years old) ….my path seemed set. However, reality …..often creates crossroads. Not so much…a tale of defeat, but one of passion for art…. meets world.
If we consider for a moment the effects of religion on art and the term “fundamentalism” with its tendency to conformity versus “contemporary reality”, stylistically, I lean towards the latter, as it applies to painting.

When one looks at examples of “Fine Art” today it is a world of diversity! It includes …Pollock’s, Warhol’s and even the very unusual Cavallero’s “melted cheese room” so, what should I paint? I’ve had moments in the world of art to rise to the occasion and walked away as it all seems to be.. not to my taste.

So today I navigate a world of extremes, encountering attitudes vaguely reminiscent of Victorian days…especially surrounding the painting of figurative work and marrying that with the openness of the internet.

With the time I have left on this earth I will paint what I want and it will be …to glorify women. Not the heroines of the past (the depictions of Lady Godiva and Anne Boleyn). Instead, I choose to paint the women that are in our lives, that create and enrich life and give us purpose, focus and family.