Art Quote of the Day

“Every intrepid traveler knows that each journey, no matter what its length or degree of difficulty, begins with a single step.  How one take that initial step and in what direction determines much of what will follow. As the order of the journey unfolds, we need to design the sequence of our encounters while being mindful of several characteristics of journeys that seek not simple the new, but the transformative.

The invitation to take the first steps should be presented in such a way that everyone can take that step; in other words, it should present the lowest threshold to participation.  If we feel in any way inadequate in these initial engagements, our sense of inadequacy is likely to permeate reactions to all subsequent activities. The initial engagement should therefore require the least amount of specialized information about art or any external subject matter.  For instance, the following would seem a poor initial question: “If you could be any artist during the Italian Renaissance, who would you be and what would you paint?”  A thoughtful introspective, question, but one that presupposes detailed information about time, place, circumstance, style and biographical information.  NO affect is required; it is all  conscious and deliberate work.  There is nothing personal to wrestle with and overcome.  Furthermore, response to the question requires  a degree of visual literacy and memory that not many people possess.  A better phrasing might be: ” If you could transport yourself to any time and any place, where would you go, when would you arrive, and what would you see?”  Here, the response can go to any time and any place and the only place they can go is where they CAN go; the place is of their choice and making , not the questioner’s .  They can image whatever they are capable of imaging, not something esoteric and difficult as is the task of imaging someone else’s style of seeing image- making.

The first steps (to  making art) ought to be technically easy for the same reasons.  Technique is always one of the great fears of any apprentice. The greater the fear, the greater the preoccupation with technical things.  This in turn leads to  timidity about the scope of imagination, narrowness of range of expression, and a concern for safety rather than depth.

The initial portions of the creative journey have as their prime purpose the establishment of a sense of trust and comfort in oneself, one’s peers , and the general kind of terrain to be explored.Once this foundation is developed, we can move on to the subsequent phase of the transformative journey, a gradual expansion of the invitation to fathom the whole depth and range of our thoughts and feelings concerning the place in the world we would have for ourselves.”

No More Secondhand Art – Awakening the Artist Within by Peter London

Art Quote of the Day

” I think of my creative process as a conversation.  I work on two or three paintings at once; they are all hanging on nails on a drip-stained wall in – my studio.  I generally don’t work from sketches or any preconceived ideas of what the piece will look like when it’s done. Instead, I often start by adding layers , washes, bits of paper, or writing- anything to just start the conversation.  I will keep adding layers, covering them up and trying to reveal them again.  If I feel unsure of where to go next, I sit in a chair across the room and just look at the work.  I look and I wait until I feel my intuition stir somewhere in my solar plexus.  Some people call this a ‘gut feeling.’ It’s reassuring to know there is always this internal way of knowing to have as a creative ally.”

quote by Cheryl Warrick from the book, Art From Intuition- Overcoming Your Fears and Obstacles to Making Art by Dean Wimmer

Art Quote of the Day

” Create like a god, command like a king, work like a slave.”

One week down,one to go. What’s that you say? One week done , of teaching the Winterim session at Edgewood, where students get an entire semester’s amount of work and credit.It’s an intense experience, 3 hours a day for each class ( I’m teaching 2 classes) for the students and for me as well. I chose today’s quote because  as an artist I know what Brancusi is talking about but , HEY, as an art TEACHER he has hit the nail on the head! I create the environment for them to make art, I “command” them to try their best, and seriously folks, teaching 6 hours of art everyday is working like a slave!! Teachers out there , are you with me??

This past week started out with me standing in for the model for Figure Drawing class. He hadn’t arrived yet so I got up on the platform and started explaining the measuring tools used by artists to map out the human figure. At some point I got down off the platform to check on people’s understanding. Thinking I would LEAP back up onto the platform gracefully , I miscalculated and fell flat on my face , IN FRONT OF EVERYBODY!! NICE! Great way to make a first impression. I have big black and blue marks on my legs marking the exact spots of impact….

The rest of the week went by in a blur of activity. The students get so much accomplished with so much time to work every day.They work ,”like slaves” and I’ve seen  the frustration, the tears ( oh yes), the excitement when it starts to come together, the relief when I tell them to not worry about the GRADE but make a big mess instead. I’ve heard all the excuses, ” I have control issues,” ” I was never good at using charcoal”, ”I CAN’T DRAW !!!!”  And have given them all the same ‘feedback’ , (command) ” Just keep trying”

If all goes like it has in the past , the second week will be more of the same; different projects, more frustration, more successes  and by the time it’s all over , most of the students are amazed at what they’ve accomplished in 2 short weeks! They’ve created art, gained some insight into what it takes to BE an artist , and gained confidence in their abilities to continue making art in the future.  It’s an amazing thing to see!

Art Quote of the Day

” If you’ve studied so much and you’re so aware of the achievements of other artists , how do you find a place for yourself in a world where genius has had it’s stamp ? I think that every artist has to come to terms with that. At some point you have to realize that you may not be Shakespeare, forget it. They never give themselves permission , they never value what they DO have. They’re always comparing themselves. And it stifles voices that should be heard !”

Paint it Black – Janet Fish

And , for the New Year….
“When the last living thing has died on account of us, how poetical it would be if earth could say, in a voice floating up perhaps from the floor of the Grand Canyon, “It is done. People did not like it here.” – Kurt Vonnegut
Let’s hope for strong action by all of us on stopping global climate change!

Art Quote of the Day

The following quote is taken from a book called Inside the Painter’s Studio by Joe Fig. The same set of questions was asked of a number of artists and the answer I was most interested in was to the question , ” do you have a motto or a creed that, as an artist ,you live by?” All of the artists interviewed had great answers, but this answer by Bill Jensen was my favorite for today’s quote.

Do you have a motto or creed that as an artist you live by ?

Alice Neel said, “The will of the devil” – that you really have to have the will of the devil.  And yet at the same time , you have to let the paintings lead you. You really have to let them have a life of their own.  You really have to make it a life force, and a lot of times you feel like you are being dragged by a team of wild dogs and that the paintings will take you someplace. I don’t think artists dream up art when they’re children, even though a lot of creative inspiration comes from childhood.  Artists are people who go in a  room everyday, let the art drag them a little further, and then sitting back twenty years later say, “How did I get here?” You’ve made this whole other world. You know, there was no idea of what heaven and hell used to look like.  Artists made the idea of what heaven and hell looked like.  We have the same kind of job today.  We’re making these worlds that no one ever dreamed of , yet they are very real. They come from reality.

Art Quote of the Day

“These sudden inspirations…..never happen except after some days of voluntary effort which has appeared absolutely fruitless and whence no good seems to have come, where the way taken seems totally astray. These efforts then have not been as sterile as one thinks:they have set agoing the unconscious machine and without them it would not have moved and would have produced nothing.”

The evidence is overwhelming that creative ideas do not come in isolation. Gold miners have to pan through lots of worthless gravel to find a precious nugget.  The experience of a breakthrough is not limited to artists. It happens to mathematicians and scientists as well. The above quote comes from the mathematician Henri Poincare. This entire post today comes from a book called, The Blank Canvas – Inviting the Muse, by Anna Held Audette

Overcoming Obstacles

Where does “art” reside ?  In the intent of the maker? In the piece itself? In the response of the viewer? In the space between?”  This quote is from a book called, THE VIEW FROM THE STUDIO DOOR : How  Artists Find Their Way in an Uncertain World, by Ted Orland.  This author also has written a book called ART AND FEAR.  Both books are valuable  in helping artists surmount their creative  obstacles. As I now embark on BLOGGING , I am encountering lots of new obstacles and will use the things i’ve learned from these books and try to apply them to my learning process  with creating my blogsite.

The focus of my blog  will be to help my readers gain confidence in their creative process just as I gain confidence in my blogging process.  Please accompany me on this, our mutual path to discovery.