Put a Fork In It, the Road That Is!

Yogi Berra said, when you come to a fork in the road…take it. Forks are just a folksy way of saying time to choose. Life is a series of choices. Astrophysicist or homeless person? Some choices are more obvious than others. I chose artist, but, as it’s been said, every solution creates a bigger problem. Each fork in the road precedes the next one. Abstract or realist?

During the course of creating a painting, there are a myriad of choices that need to be made. These choices could be dictated by a variety of catalysts. Unfortunately, choices can be predetermined by prejudices rooted in belief systems. That’s a fancy way of saying, your rules choose for you. If this is how you navigate your course, it could turn into a very long and winding road.

Of course there is another option. You can choose in which direction to go, based on your intended destination. This is the road far less traveled. Probably not even on the map for most. You can make the best choice by responding to the task at hand, based on understanding the consequences of each action. You use your knowledge and savvy to figure out which fork will get you to where you want to go. The key here is intent. Time management guru, Steven Covey says, “begin with the end in mind.”

A rule may direct me to sharpen an edge, but understanding my intent I might choose to soften it.

My intent is to be an illusionistic realist. I want my portraits to come to life. When someone stands before one of my paintings, it’s my intent for them to feel that they’re looking at reality. That’s the main reaction I’m after. Once they get past their first reaction, I’d like them to think, wait a minute, this is actually a painting–by portrait artist Marvin Mattelson! That’s my secondary intent.

If my intentions are clear, I can approach each fork in the road as if it were a walk in the park.

Until next time…


  1. Marvin, great site. Just found it this morning. Will be hanging out here more often.

  2. This blog is fun, Marvin.
    As an artist, I’m still learning how to navigate this road, forks and all. Like Q said in his warning to Picard – “It’s wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross, but it’s not for the timid.”

    • Good quote. Q always struggled with his edges. I’m having a good time putting all this together. My biggest problem is when I sit down to write, I have ten times as many ideas for every one I post.

  3. Connie Clutter says

    I am really enjoying all your posts. It’s great to read so much I identify with as an artist. I am still trying to understand my intent, but reading about your view and intent is helping to clarify mine!

    • Glad to be of service. A lot of the work I see tends to be more superficial in nature. I think that one of the main common denominators amongst all great painters is that they were very clear about what they wanted to accomplish.

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.