Art Quote for the Day

Some contemporary art instructiors freely admit that art cannot be taught, and admitting it put them in a fundamental logical bind:  they say art cannot be taught and yet they go on teaching students who believe  they are learning art. I think most teachers would say that they don’t claim to teach art directly ; but on an institutional level, the schools and departments where they work continue to act as if art teaching might be taking place.  The two postitions – for and against the possibility of  teaching art – are incompatible.  Studio classes could be advertised as places where students learn techniques, or the vagaries of the art world, and that would be  consistent with ordinary teacher’s  claim not to know how to teach art directly.  Somewhere along the chain of command and publicity, from the ordinary studio art instructor up to the chairman, the dean , the public-relations department, and the trustees, the day-to-day skepticism about teaching art gets lost , and institutions typically end up making claims that their instructors really do teach art.

It seems to me that this indecision or unclarity or disinterest in exactly what we do is not at all a bad position to be in.  there is no need to teach without self-contradiction, or without letting students in on our indecision or incoherence.  The fact that it is so hard to know what it might mean to teach art tends to keep  teachers going; it spurs them to teach in many different ways. In that sense, teaching physics or television repair is much less engrossing, because there is no need to continually question the enterprise itself. So in that sense there is nothing wrong  with our inability to say exactly what we’re doing.  But it is also important not to forget that it is , after all , a logical contradiction, and that art instructors  work right at the center of the contradiction.

Why Art Cannot be Taught – A Handbook for Art Students by James Elkins

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Art Quote for the Day

CAN ART BE TAUGHT?

There have long been doubts about whether art can be taught.  They go back at least to Plato’s concept of inspiration, mania, and Aristotle’s concepts of genius and poetic rapture ( the ecstaticos). If art is made with the help of mania, then certainly ordinary teaching can have little effect – and if  it is inspired teaching, then it isn’t teaching in the sense I mean it here, but something more like infection.  I may give someone the flu, but I am hardly ever sure when or how I did it.  Teaching mania by being ecstatic and inspirational is like being infected and spreading disease: you can’t really control it.  Plato and Aristotle are everyone’s historical heritage, to the extent that virtually all art instruction in the world today is influenced by Western norms, and I think most people would be happy to say that art depends somehow on mania and therefore can’t be taught.  Yet historically, the voices of doubt have been overwhelmed by the institutions that claim to teach art.

Why Art Cannot be Taught – James Elkins

Art Quote for the Day

So,lately I’ve been trying to remember how I lived from day to day WITHOUT spending a couple hours a day on Pinterest!  I know I used to draw alot, make art in general. I taught my classes ,  I found books on artists that I liked and could be inspired by, I never felt like I was lacking for any creative input from all sorts of sources. BUT,,,, with Pinterest I feel like I’m doing all the things I just listed but  with STEROIDS! The volume of visual input that comes from an infinite well of sources through the Pinterest feed is amazing. At first it was all too much for me to take in but gradually, as I’m sure everyone who uses Pinterest will find, you get your own niche figured out. You start to get organized with your “boards”, you find threads of commonality with your own creative personality. I have been so inspired, (most times) to GET TO WORK after spending some time in the Pinterest community. I have found artists whose work I absolutely LOVE, that I would never have discovered otherwise. I have found styles and techniques that are similar to mine, I have been exposed to ideas that are so fabulous yet so comfortable to me, ( like searching for a long lost relative and finally finding them).
I’ve found the collection of images , and organizing them on to specific boards a fantastic tool for my teaching. I collect examples of images that I use to introduce new projects. I use it as a textbook that students can go to to draw from in completing their own works of art. I photograph their artwork and put it on Pinterest and they are instantly seen around the world! I photograph my own artwork and post it as well!

I would love to hear from any of you who read this. If you are on Pinterest what have been your experiences? How much time to you spend looking at images? Do you find it to be a big waster of time? I know I can lose track and I end up spending more time than I want to on some days. I had a student once who said, “when you are on Pinterest you feel like you’re being creative but you’re really just wasting time looking at other people’s art, and not doing anything of your own.” True but we need to LOOK as well as DO don’t we?

So, anyway, with the completion of this post I’ve “wasted” enough time for today on the computer. It’s a dark, rainy and very stormy day so perfect for being warm, dry and creatively involved in my studio.I have been appropriately inspired….. now it’s time to get to work .

Anyway….

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

So, in my efforts to explore something different….. change my technique, my style, explore other motifs and ideas, different colors, and different media, a question came to my mind.

OK….. I definitely have a kind of imagery that I feel bonded with …… for the last 16 years or so ….. I’m physiologically driven to draw and paint  imagery that contains bi-laterally balanced shapes, ( lotus, the onion domes of the Kremlin, that sort of thing). I have seen lots of other artists’ work out there that also use this sort of imagery. We , as artists, “take”, “use”, “derive”, “mimic” the work of others and , HOPEFULLY , make it our own.

I have found an artist , via the” PINTERESTS”, whose work I have fallen in love with. For many  reasons. #1 being the use , in some pieces of those same bi-laterally balanced shapes. The technique used is more free, more mixed media, simpler in some ways but more rich in surface. ANYWAY, I have been totally inspired…. and find myself trying to create imagery that reflects this artist’s work . Now, in the grand scheme of things, is this plagarism? I’m still using my own ideas, my own sensibilities…. but more in the style of this artist  in a search for a different style of my own. I’ve switched from oils for the time being  to acrylics because they seem more spontaneous to me. I don’t know if the artist I’m talking about uses acrylics or not…. most pieces are listed as mixed media.

This artist’s work is large, I’m merely experimenting on small square foot panels.

This artist has a larger vocabulary in the work , not just the bilateral shapes, and that work I don’t like as well altho’ the colors and textures in all pieces are something I’m drooling over.

I guess, at the end of the day, whether we’ve been at this business of making art for one day or one lifetime, studying and , yes, I’ll say it, copying the work of others has been standard practice. The ideal goal is to move beyond the copying and begin to find something that moves each one of us in a very personal way. This is the motivation we all need to keep making art EVERYDAY.

GOOD LUCK  in your own creative invention and re-invention wherever direction  you may find yourself heading toward.

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.

Art Quote for the Day

Begin by painting your shadows light. Guard against bringing white into them; it is the poison of the picture, except in the lights. Once white has dulled the transparency and golden warmth of your shadows, your color is no longer luminous but matte and gray.
-attributed to Rubens

Dark is the basic tone of Rembrandt’s paintings, and darkness occupies a large area in them…. But how full of life is such darkness! Beginning with the most glowing middle tones of brown and yellow, they are gradually deepened through glazes and accents and made so unutterably rich in values!”
-Max Doerner (1949), The Materials of the Artist

Art Quote for the Day

Q: Now I hardly like to ask what significance painting can stil have, in relation to that responsibility of grasping reality.

A: It’s hard to say whether – as people do sometimes assume – painting in the past had more effect and more reality, on the grounds that it was better understood, or more popular, or was always on view in the churches to everyone.  But painting still has a reality and an effect now. It is shown and bought and discussed, and quite a lot of effort goes into all of this .  And so long as the art  justifies the effort, by being interesting enough, then in a sense that will do for now.

Q: It might be possible for pictures to launch something like a leap in perception or in consciousness.  Someone might suddenly look at things differently, react to them with more doubts, or with more involvement.  Indifference might be overturned by pictures.

A: I believe it might. But I’ve got nothing to say on that subject.

Q:  You have no desires in that direction yourself:

A:  Of course I have – it just doesn’t do any good to take on that kind of elevated responsibility.  We all know, don’t we, what well-intentioned paintings look like.

Q: Kasper Konig once showed your figurative paintings – the cycle 18 October 1977 – and abstract paintings in direct succession, in order to show that the theme is the same.

A: He was right to do that.  Even so, it’s difficult, because figurative paintings are always more attractive than abstract ones.  As soon as there are persons or objects to be seen, you get more interest.

Q: In 1968, in the period of the Grey Pictures and the Four Panes of Glass, there is a double panel called WAY THROUGH. It  gave me a sense of a sacrifice, in the joyous, pagan sense of the word; giving something up and getting something in return.  Did it feel like leaving something behind you, shaking something off, slipping away from it, in order to get to something different?

A: Certainly. And for that you always have to give something up, or destroy it, or scratch it out – as in this little abstract here.

Q: Let’s stay with scraping off for a moment. Is this removal of painti an agressive thing?

A: Yes, certainly.

Q: It has something to do with injury.

A:  Yes, with injury and with taking something that has been made and destroying it, subtracting it, scratching it out.  And then the pleasant feeling that you can get something else in return.

The Daily Practice of Painting – Gerhard Richter

Art Quote of the Day

A
Q : Do you believe in your own paintings?

A: There are few that I like, but I wouldn’t go so far as to stand up and say I believe in them.

Q: But surely you ought – otherwise why go to all that trouble?

A:  Of course, I have to believe that I can produce something useful.  And the pleasure of making counts for a lot in painting- as when someone’s making music.  There’s no room for doubt.

Q:  doubt as to what?

A: That it might make no sense, or be unnecessary or passe’

Q: Doubt as to the possibility of still making a picture  you can believe in?

A:There are so many believable pictures in the world, and we love them; we travel long distances to see them.  We need them . And there are some people who need to make picutres themselves.

Q:  How does this question of  need relate to your earlier statement that you were looking for the maximum possible indifference?

A: This was an attempt at self-protection – saying that I was indifferent, that I didn’t care, and so on.  I was aftaid my pictures might seem too sentimental.  But I don’t mind admitting now that it was no coincidence that I painted things that mattered to me personally- the tragic types, the murderers and suicides, the failures, and so on.

Q: Is the painted picture closer to the reality or to the appearance?

A: In one sense it’s closer to the appearance, but then it has more reality than a photograph, because a painting is more of an object in itself, because it’s visibly hand-painted, because it has been tangibly and materially produced.  That gives it a reality of its own, which then as it were substitutes for the reality of the cup.

Q: So can a painted appearance tell us more about reality?

A: Perhaps it can, because it’s more unsettling.  It’s always more or less different from reality, and that’s unsettling. You ask more questions.

Q: You get closer?

A: Yes, closer to our relationship with reality.  The cup on its own is boring.

The Daily Practice of Painting – Gerhard Richter

Art Quote for the Day

5 May 1990

What sort of occupation is this, in which you can afford to be tired, or not in the mood – in which you can be off form for days or weeks on end and not do a thing?

24 October 1990

It doesn’t seem functional that we dwindle away and end our lives, just when we have learned so much.  And then the next generation has to spend decades slaving to regain the same standard of experience that has been reached long before.  I know that’s rubbish.

The much – maligned ‘art scene’ of the present day is perfectly harmless and even pleasant, if you don’t judge it in terms of false expectations.  It has nothing to do  with those traditional values that we hold high ( or that hold us high). It has virtually nothing whatever to do with art.  That’s why the ‘art scene’ is neither base, cynical nor mindless:  it is a scene of brief blossiming and bushy growth, just one variation on the never-ending round of social game-playing that satisfies our need for communication, alongside such others as sport, fashion, stamp-collecting and cat-breeding.  Art takes shape in spite of it all, rarely and always unexpectedly; art is never feasible.

The Daily Practice of Painting – Gerhard Richter