Art Quote for the Day

Right now, at this very moment a dear friend of mine is sitting across the room on my couch with my husband. She is a retired teacher that  I worked with for several years when I was just starting out . We would have the best lunch time conversations about all sorts of things. She is brilliant and enlightened and intellectually stimulating . She is 74 and minimally understanding of all things that are computer oriented shall we say. She has purchased an IPad and now my husband is helping her with what she needs to know to use it.
As I sit here listening to them ….. She, asking questions, my husband explaining , I marvel at how far I’ve come in the past year! I didn’t have an IPAD a year ago, I didn’t have a blog  a year ago, I sure wouldn’t have thought that I would be teaching Honors students a class in how to use the IPAD to create art! I was where my friend is right now. She has a lot of stuff yet to learn and who knows what will attract her and get her going in an obsessive direction but I’m thinking it has to be alot like learning to read . Once the understanding happens, the world opens up in so many ways ….. you are instantly  connected to all of the information that the world has to offer. Have fun my dear friend …. have fun!

Art Quote for the Day

IMG_4314The other day this phrase passed through my brain. ” I’m a happy idiot”

Huh? What?

Well, it occurred to me after doing what is most probably the 100 th demonstration on how to mix all the colors on a color wheel using colored pencils that I am totally enthralled with that whole process. No matter how many times I create a color wheel, using colored pencils, or paint, or pastels, or even cut paper, it’s like magic to me every time it’s completed. So, the more I thought about it, it occurred to me that no matter how many times I demonstrate shading with graphite pencils, or how to blend brushstrokes with oil paint, or how salt thrown onto wet watercolor creates a grainy texture I’m like a child seeing it for the first time. It’s absolutely and totally magical to me. I never get tired of it.

I’ve always been very good at doing repetitive tasks. I used to fold arty T-shirts, hundreds of dozens a day, found it tiring but also satisfying in an achievement kind of way, i make Christmas ornaments out of paper, dozens and dozens  the same way , over and over. I don’t find this kind of activity boring. Actually I think it’s kind of meditative…… the muscle memory achieved by the repetitive motion frees up my brain for thinking about other stuff.

So, everyday I teach…… every semester the lessons stay basically the same and I give the same demonstrations, fortunately with as much enthusiasm as the first time I ever did them. The resulting art work achieved by the students is the big payoff. they do amazing things and ITS NEVER THE SAME THING TWICE!  It’s like Christmas day opening presents when every new project is completed and turned in.

I am a happy ,( maybe idiot is the wrong word after all) ,  child in a grown up’s body – maybe? Maybe no qualifier is necessary …. I’m just so very happy when I’m making art and showing others how to make art as well.

” Man cannot duplicate the infinite intricacy of the living architecture of the wheat stalk. Nature is best capable of its own forms and of the complex inevitabilities which result in such marvelous phenomena.  Man himself is such a phenomenon; and the marvelous in man is his creative intelligence, which transcends nature and creates out of it un-natural forms.
In his art- whether architecture or poem – he does not reproduce a given reality; nor does he simply express his immediate reactions of pleasure and pain.  He starts with the elements of that reality – the stone, the city, the other man – and relates them into a new reality which, no sooner achieved, becomes itself an element in his next manipulation.  In his effort to achieve form he may produce shapes monstrous or divine; but his proud ambition  is to create, in the image of his own intelligence, a reality man-made.

Anais Nin – excerpt from diary # 4   –    1944-1947

Art Quote for the Day

Anais Nin:

I cling to the world made by the artists because the other is full of horror, and I can see no remedy for it.  Diary entry , May , 1936

In the small towns of California the occasional absence of inhabitants, or animation, can give the place  the air of a still life painting.Thus it appeared for a moment in the eyes of a woman standing in the center of an empty lot.

She stood motionless and became , for a moment, part of the still life until a station wagon arrived and friends waved at her as they slowed down in front of her. She ran swiftly towards them and helped them open the back of the car and unload paintings and easels which they all carried to the empty lot.

The woman in slacks became intensely active, placing and turning the paintings at an angle where the sunlight would illumine rather than consume them.

Cars began to stop and people came to look.

One visitor said, ” These trees have no shadow.”

Another visitor said: ” The faces have no wrinkles. They do not look real”

” I have never seen a sea like this,” said another spectator

The woman in slacks laughed and said:  “a painting should take you to a place you have never seen before. You don’t always want to look at the same tree, the same sea, the same face every day, do you?”

But that was exactly what the people wanted to do.  They did not want to uproot themselves. They were looking for duplicates of their surroundings, a portrait of their grandmother or of their children.

The painter laughed . They liked her laughter. They ventured to buy a few of the smaller paintings, as if in diminutive sizes they might not be so dangerous or change the climate of their living room.

“I’m helping you to tell your house apart from your neightbor’s”  , said the painter.

The light grew dim. the painter and her friends packed the remaining paintings and drove away.

excerpt from COLLAGES by Anais Nin

Art Quote for the Day

Kurt Vonnegut – A Man Without a Country

” If you really want to hurt your parents and you don’t have the nerve to be gay, the least you can do is go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living.  They  are a very human way of making life more bearable.  Practicing an art, no matter how well or how badly, is a way to make your soul grow for heaven’s sake.  Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories.  Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem.  Do it as well as you possibly can.  You will get an enormous reward.  You will have CREATED something!

Art Quote for the Day

Interview with Sabine Schutz (cont)

Q: In 1976 you began to paint abstract pictures, because you wanted something that you cxouldn’t visualize in advance. In doing so, you invented a method that was absolutely new to you. Was that an experiment of some kind?

A: Yes. It began in 1976, with small abstract paintings that allowed me to do what I had never let myself do: put something down at random. And then, of course, I realized that it never can be random. It was all a way of opening a door for me. If I don’t know what’s coming – that is, if I have no hard-and-fast image, as I have with a photographic original- then arbitrary choice and chance pay an important part.

Q: How do you manage to direct chance in such a way that a highly specific picture with a specific statement comes out of it – because that is your stated intention, isn’t it?

A: No, I don’t have a specific picture in my mind’s eye. I want to end up witha picture that I haven’t planned.This method of arbitrary choice, chance, inspiration and destruction may produce a specific type of picture, but it never produces a predetermined picture. Each picture has to evolve out of a painterly or visual logic: it has to emerge as if inevitably. And by not planning the outcome, I hope to achieve the same coherence and objectivity that a random slice of Nature (or a Readymade) always possesses. Of course, this is also a method of bringing in unconscious processes, as far as possible. I just want to get something more interesting out of it than those things that I can think out for myself.

The Daily Practice of Painting – Gerhard Richter

Art Quote for the Day

18 May 1985

The way I paint, one can’t really paint, because the basic prerequisite is lacking: the certainty of what is to be painted , i.e. the Theme.  Whether I mention the name of Raphael or of Newman, or lesser lights such as Rothko or Lichtenstein, or anyone else, down to the ultimate provincial artist – all of them have a theme that they pursue, a ‘picture’that they are always striving to attain.

When I paint an Abstract Picture ( the problem is very much the same in other cases), I neither know in advance what it is meant to look like nor, during the painting process, what I am aiming at and what to do about getting there.  Painting is consequently an almost blind, desperate effort, like that of a person abandoned, helpless, in totally incomprehensible surroundings – like that of a person wh possesses a given set of tools, materials and abilities and has the urgent desire to build something useful which is not allowed to be a house or a chair or anything else that has a name; who therefore hacks away in the vague hope that by working in a proper, professional way he will ultimately turn out something proper and meaningful.

So I am as blind as Nature,who acts as she can, in accordance with the conditions that hinder or help her.  Viewed in this light, anything is possible in my pictures; any form , added at will, changes the picture but does not make it wrong.  Anything goes; so why do I often spend weeks over adding one thing? What am I making that I  want? What picture of what?

30 May 1985

No ideology. No religion, no belief, no meaning, no imagination, no invention, no creativity, no hope – but painting like Nature, painting as change, becoming, emerging, being-there, thusness; without an aim , and just as right, logical,perfect and incomprehensible  ( as Mozart, Schoenberg, Velazquez, Bach, Raphael, etc.) We can identify the causes of a natural formation, up to a point; the same causes have led to me and , in due course, to my  paintings, whose immediate cause is my  inner state, my happiness, my pain, in all possible forms and intensities, until that cause no longer exists

The Daily Practice of Painting by Gerhard Richter

Art Quote for the Day

Notes, 1985

20 February 1985

Of course I constantly despair at my own incapacity, at the impossibility of ever accomplishing anything, of painting a valid, true picture or even of knowing what such a thing ought to look like. But then I always have the hope that, if I persevere, it might one day happen.  And this hope is nurtured every time something appears, a scattered, partial, initial hint of something which reminds me of what I long for, or which conveys a hint of it – although often enough I have been fooled by a momentary glimpse that then vanishes, leaving behind only the usual thing.

I have no motif, only motivation. I believe that motivation is the real thing, the natural thing, and that the motif is old-fashioned, even reactionary ( as stupid as the question about the Meaning of Life.)

28 February 1985

Letting a thing come, rather than creating it – no assertions, constructions, formulations, inventions, ideologies – in order to gain access to all that is genuine, richer, more alive: to what is beyond my understanding.

At twenty: Tolstoy’s War and Peace. It doesn’t matter how rightly I remember, the only thing that stayed with me, that struck me at the time , was Kutuzov’s way of not intervening, of planning nothing, but watching to see how things worked out, choosing the right memoent to put his weight behind a development that was beginning of its own accord. Passivity was that general’s genius. { the Abstract Pictures: more and more clearly , a method of not having and planning the ‘motif ‘ but evolving it, letting it come.}

Using chance is like painting Nature – but which chance event, out of all the countless possibilities?

The Daily Practice of Painting by Gerhard Richter

Art Quote for the Day

ACTION PAINTING

Action painting is just what the name suggests: painting with pure abandon, dripping and spilling colors all over the place with no particular idea or plan in mind

In the 1950″s , Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, and other abstract expressionist painters introduced action painting  to the art world. However, long before that (probably since the advent of liquid paint) , generations of young children practiced action painting.  It makes sense that  children would be the first to see how much fun it is to toss and smear paint around without wondering if what they were making was somehow great art.  The fact that the abstract expressionists made this kind of child’s play into an art form gives us adults a great excuse to play with paint, color, and texture just to see what comes out in the process.

One of the unique things about action painting is that the resulting picutres are a visual record of the artist’s “dance” that created the painting in the first place.  Action painting emphasizes the dynamics of the painting process with a focus on movement , gestsure, and free-form play.  This approach is a good place to start using your intuition because it allows you to use materials freely and to explore movement, spontaneity, and dynamic change without exerting overt control over the painting process.  Action painting can involve your whole body- not just your  hands – and allow you to use  new tools and movements to make a work of art

Art from Intuition – Overcoming Your Fears and Obstacles to Making Art by Dean Nimmer   ( contains more than 60 drawing and painting exercises).

Art Quote for the Day

So, let’s talk about THE PINTEREST!!!

# 1. I LOVE it!!!

#2. I HATE it!!!

#3. I’m TOTALLY ADDICTED to it

#4.  Sometimes it TERRIFIES  me

#5. Sometimes it INSPIRES ME…( most of the time)

#6. Sometimes it DEPRESSES me

#7. I try not to take the PINNING action , or lack there-of, in regard to MY pins, PERSONALLY !

#8. It’s a fantastic TEACHING TOOL

#9. Whatever did I do without it ?

#10. Whatever WOULD I do without it?

Let’s address each issue:

Well, loving it is OBVIOUS ! It’s a universe of infinite imagery to look through… as an artist and image junky , it’s like CRACK , like SPEED, like a super-energy drink for my pleasure zone….. oh yeah!

And, hating it , for all of the same reasons listed above…. a love/hate relationship is always a tricky one…. the same reasons I love it are the same reasons I hate it. It takes up lots of my time…. ( I’ll just go to one more board…), it makes me want to change my own art style about 50 times a day, it makes me feel soooooooooooooooo untalented…..

I’m addicted !!!! – see above

It terrifies me in that sometimes as I start going deeper and deeper into board after board I feel like I’m going deeper and deeper into the deep , deep water … I start to panic and feel like I have to start swimming UP and UP to get back to my original board or I will surely be lost !! ( I know, a little crazy but that’s how it feels….. some of you surely must identify….. right? RIGHT?!?!)

Of course, the best thing about the whole Pinterest “thing” is that it truly does inspire … I see images done in colors, or styles that I love , I pin them to remind me to incorporate them into my own artwork, I see illustrations that provoke me, amuse me, make me think, I see patterns, and colors and images that look like I could have done them so I don’t feel so alone and “off-base” with my own work, I see images that make me think of new projects for my students…. I could go on…..

It depresses me , again, for some of the same reasons listed above….. there are so many creative people out there, so many …. sometimes I start to feel..”What’s the point of doing anything?”

Pinning is a social activity…. if I pin something of my own, I feel bad if I don’t get re-pinned or ecstatic if I do ( acceptance by strangers?)

I have definitely streamlined and improved my teaching…. I don’t have to find books that I can pass around the classroom, I don’t have to have paper illustrations that need to be passed around the class room…. I can give a project assignment in my Design class , have the students go to the Design board to see tons of examples that address that project….. FANTASTIC!?

What did I ever do without it?  Dark times, very dark times…. we never know what we’re missing until we have it and look back ….. people got along fine without cell phones but …..HOW?!?!

What would I do without it? I still have my books if PINTEREST disappeared. I prefer to think that if  I had to do without it I would be replacing it with the next new thing that would be even better.

THOUGHTS ?  ANYONE? ANYONE?