"ART is a word which summarizes THE QUALITY OF COMMUNICATION. "
L. Ron Hubbard

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Art and "authority"

Be wary of anyone citing "authority" in the field of art. Art is about creating. So there will always be those who are creating new things, some of which will not be appreciated. Remember that the impressionists, the cubists, the surrealists, the abstract expressionists, were all shunned in their time. And today, there are those who would tell you that there is only one acceptable kind of art.

From my vantage point as an art teacher, often dealing with beginners who would put me on a pedestal because of my greater experience, I find it particularly important to remind myself of this. I am usually teaching "the basics." And the basics are important. But it is also important to validate the creation of the individual artist. He or she may not have the scene exactly right, or the colors, but that creation nevertheless is important.

The field of art is full of authorities. Listen to them, because they have knowledge. But beware of wholesale acceptance.

Here's an example: A student recently asked if she could use a fan brush to make the leaves on the trees. I immediately replied that the purpose of the fan brush was blending. Then I backtracked, because you could use a fan brush for foliage, and many do. It's not its original purpose, but — hey — why not?

Painting About.com website has more on the use of the fan brush.


Erika Lee Sears said...

You are so right! There are a million ways to do a simple task in painting but there are basic rules.

:) I always struggle with the fan brush.

Sally Morris said...

Rules are not valid in the creation of art. Technique is decided by the one who is doing the creating I think. After all the first artist had to make the first technique who is to say what technique is correct or not correct?

Pam said...

This is a reply to Sally Morris.

We may be talking about different things. There *are* basics that facilitate the production of a work of art. It is useful to understand how we see perspective on a flat plane, how to mix colors, how to use various materials and implements.

On the other hand, *rules*, such as "only exact duplication is valid" or anything with the word MUST is a rule that is often destructive -- particularly to a beginning artist.

For instance, when I was a college student and went to Antioch, my first "co-op" job was in the children's outpatient department at the Cleveland City Hospital. We didn't have much other than crayons and paper to keep the children occupied while they waited, and I would see parents, embarrassed at their toddler's scribbling, say: "you know how to draw a house. Draw mommy a house." And then mommy would demonstrate with the "icon" she recognized as "house." That's a rule, and that is destructive. It limits creativity and it denies looking.