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What comes to mind when you think of narrative painting? Do you think of a particular painting or a series of paintings? What is it about painting with a narrative that captures an audience? My guest, Nathan Lewis is an accomplished narrative painter. In our conversation, Nathan and I spoke about the language of painting, multi figure paintings, painting through frustration and doubt, and so much more! I know artists like you will enjoy hearing from his unique perspective. I am really excited for you to get a glimpse into the world of narrative painting by hearing Nathan’s fascinating story and insights.
The Draw to Narrative Painting
Do you remember what drew you to your style or type of painting? Was it an artist that captured your imagination, a teacher that opened it up to you, or was it more of a gradual revelation? For artist Nathan Lewis, he was drawn to narrative painting through his personal pursuit of finding meaning in life. Nathan describes his attraction to art as an attraction to live a life of meaning and to find some way to interact with the world. He goes on to explain how once he got a handle on his understanding of art forms, the narrative connection just started to fall into place. Make sure you take a minute to look over Nathan’s artwork at the end of this post.
Pushing Past Fear and Failure
What do you do with fear of failure as an artists? Does it over take you sometimes? Do you use it for fuel? What is a helpful perspective we can have on this subject? Nathan Lewis has struggled with fear, doubt, and failure as an artist. To get through those difficult and potentially self defeating emotions, Nathan commits himself to his artwork at hand. He has found pushing through (not ignoring) those emotions and engaging in his art to be a helpful solution. What has worked for you in the past? What is your plan for when those feelings creep back in? I hope that hearing from Nathan can help you start to wrestle with these emotions in a way that’s helpful for you.
The Role of Memory in Art
As an artist who also works from photography I was curious to get Nathan Lewis’ perspective on what role memory has in his artwork. The fact of the matter is, there are aspects that get lost, and some aspects that get captured when we utilize photography to assist us in our paintings. Nathan explains how he enjoys using photography to take his time with a subject. This allows him to avoid the need rush to capture something that he won’t be able to remember from the subject or scene later on if he were forced to rely on his memory. I really resonated with a lot of what Nathan had to share on this subject and I hope artists like you can connect with his unique perspective.
The Artist’s Social Life
As an artist it can be a struggle to engage with others on a social level. There are a few factors involved in this difficulty. One is that non-artists don’t really understand the demands that our craft has on our time and availability. Another struggle arises when we only socialize with fellow artists and lose that connection with other sectors of society and culture. Which one do you find yourself more drawn to? Have you taken the time to consider why that is? In my conversation with artist Nathan Lewis, we discuss our own experiences with each side of this coin. I hope you find our conversation encouraging and helpful as you navigate how this plays out in your life too.
Outline of This Episode
- [1:35] I introduce my guest, Nathan Lewis.
- [3:15] Nathan describes his work and how he got started as an artist.
- [8:30] What drew Nathan to the narrative style of painting?
- [17:00] Pushing past the fear of failure.
- [19:30] How Nathan chooses his motifs.
- [30:00] What is the role of memory in Nathan’s work?
- [42:30] Connecting with a non-artist social circle.
- [46:30] What is Nathan currently working on?