Before art comes listening.

More important than the ability to draw or paint, is the ability to listen, and to share. What comes before the painting, before the artwork, is the listening, the considering, the feeling and finally, the sharing. For this reason, I believe it is more important to be able to share well a cup of coffee with a friend, than to paint a painting. For, without the former, the latter will be hard to come by.

Much of my time in the studio is spent listening to my paintings. Listening to what they have to say, listening to what I feel and what I want to convey. Listening, of course, in the sense of feeling. Feeling on many levels and many aspects of my being.

At times listening may help me to feel what it is a painting is trying to say, perhaps something that has come up from me unconsciously, and I can only try to follow and bring to light. This can help me to find, and then express something that came from within myself, something I did not even know was there.

Other times, listening can help me feel if my painting is conveying what it is I feel, what I am looking to share. And by listening, I can find out how to better convey that.

The art of listening is not an easy one. It does not require one to be able to draw or paint to be adept at it. It does however, require patience, empathy and caring.

Rothko and Michelangelo

Lucretia, detail of head and shoulders


Robert Ian Najlis

Emergent Phenomena

Robert Ian Najlis


China, Xi’an 2017

MFA Year 1

Chinese Art Influence

Chinese calligraphy and painting has been an important influence in my art

Proportions and Intervals

A quick look at the relationship between figure drawing proportions music intervals. In both cases, and understanding of these relationships is crucial.

Play Space

We also need a place to play, to be spontaneous, to investigate and try things. A place where we are not professional, where we can follow our whims and see what happens.
1 reply
  1. myra najlis
    myra najlis says:

    Hi Robert,

    Your blog entry is fantastic! The picture is great and your view about sharing, caring and having the patience to really listen is profound! It is truly the way to communicate and express oneself in a meaningful way – i.e., in a deeply moving art form. The message reaches the reader and is very thought provoking.

    Myra Najlis

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply