Painting: The Work’s The Thing

I must continuously work to be happy, to feel whole, fulfilled. It's what I must do. It's who I am. The pleasure is in the doing and in each fleeting moment of redemption, my efforts given justification, if only temporarily, by the realization of each painting. So it is doing the work and it is seeing the result, together, that brings fulfillment.

The real struggle begins when I put brushes down until that moment when I can force myself to pick them up again. Paradoxical I guess that the thing that gives me the most fulfillment can be the most difficult to embrace.

I must insist, I must work, I must struggle, for the emotion of painting to reach me so that I feel capable of painting." Badia Camps

Horizontal Nude 03 (detail) by Badia Camps

MT McClanahan

An artist and perpetual thinker, MT McClanahan finds inspiration through connecting ideas across a broad range of topics. He especially enjoys philosophy and how art and life interconnect. He is the founder of TPT and his paintings can be seen at

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5 Responses

  1. Elena Roush says:

    Hi, Marcus! It is such a pleasure to see your new works. Love your birds: Sea gull, Eagles… So much dynamic, movement and development. And such an incredible dramatic situation I can see always on your canvas – not just about subject, but about your colors, lights and brush strokes. Love your words: “It’s what I must do. It’s who I am”. You know, I feel the same: I have to paint and it is make me happy and alive. Please, never stop. You are inspire me.

  2. It is the work. The way I am beginning to feel it is like being a conduit or mediator. I am in between my thoughtful-inquiring self on the inside, and the material outside. So work for me is needing to pick up the tools and push the production to approximate what is going on in “idea-land” which includes a large dollop of making sense of the sense experience that is constant around me.
    And always- what I end up with is produced out of that which does not appear exactly. If I’m lucky, that production will be able to communicate a reference or two to the viewer, or at least trigger something in them.

    • MT McClanahan says:

      “I am in between my thoughtful-inquiring self on the inside, and the material outside.” That brings up a very interesting thought Stephen. The more I thought about it (and I have to think hard to keep up with you) the more I thought how utterly benign our physical selves are. We are only what’s on the inside because it doesn’t matter what happens “out there.” I mean, does it? As long as we have it inside, as long as we can see it in the mind’s eye, why isn’t that enough?

      It is the greatest gift we humans possess–that of being able to bring to physical form what is in our mind. We *must* bring it out. We must give physical form to thought. I don’t know why that is.

  3. Marcus McClanahan says:

    Elena, wow, that’s all I know to say to such a beautiful sentiment. My heart is happy ☺

  4. Marcus McClanahan says:

    Now you have inspired me!

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