Tonight I had dinner with Gerhard Richter. On days when I struggle hardest to clarify some sort of reasonable personal vision, I frequently search out a documentary about an artist that evening. Painters, sculptors, photographers. It makes no difference. I love to watch them work and hear their ideas. Then I can forget about my own incongruities and enjoy theirs.
Watching Richter slather paint all over beautifully stretched canvases to create complex layers of imagery, I realize how similar it feels to work with an image in Photoshop. Having begun my artistic career as a painter, I can smell the paint. It’s not romantic. I feel happy that I don’t have to clean brushes or dispose of nasty chemicals. I only have to worry about hard drives crashing and losing everything I have ever photographed. In the end though, the problem is the same. How does one know it’s a good picture?
“I stop when there’s nothing wrong anymore,” Richter said.
Now I can sleep.