“As a fundamental of good decoration, I always advise my clients to buy the best they can afford, antique or modern, and to leave a space empty if necessary until it can be filled by something of real value. I avoid the sensational in any type of fabric or furniture unless there is unlimited money, allowing for frequent changes. Too often the novelty of today is the bad taste of tomorrow. Nothing will last whose only virtue is that it is different.”
Billy Baldwin Remembers, p. 79
When I first began painting I did very traditional paintings. They were small and straightforward. The subjects, often flowers, were very ordinary yet beautiful. I felt personally that the paintings were strong, but I didn’t exhibit them or even attempt to sell them because I knew they weren’t fashionable. It never occurred to me that I could get paid what they were worth.
Later I attempted larger and more complex paintings. Ambition has played a healthy role. I have wanted to demonstrate what I can do. But lately I have found myself attracted once again to small, commonplace subjects — like my honey jars. A different kind of challenge inheres in creating lasting meaning from something we see everyday. The real subject of the painting consists not merely in the objects we can name, but in how they are portrayed. The integrity of objects is something that painting challenges an artist to discover.
It’s something Billy Baldwin, a real classic kind of guy, thoroughly understood.