May 3, 2007

What does an artist really know?

* Caution! Philosophical Zone Ahead!

What does an artist really know?

I mean it's such a mystery really. It's everything and very little... all at once.

If you stopped and had to write down instructions as how to do your job, what would they look like? Most professions would have a fairly clear set of principles to follow I imagine. An accountant would have a set of rules, an engineer would have a set of standards... as would vendors of insurance.

But artists practice their art through an ineffable, mysterious collection of learned skills. It's impossible to write them down... and even that sounds like some conjurer's cop out.

What could anyone write down?

1) Place the subject in a prominent manner in the illustration.. but not dead center.
2) Try to depict a meaningful emotional moment
3) Don't overemphasize, be subtle.
4) Draw loosely...
5) Try to capture a feeling...
6) Overlay the foreground objects ahead of the background..
7) Use colors with moderation...

Umm... I doubt that would help anyone.

I'm sure every artist has spent hours and days and weeks learning to draw everything they know how to draw. Artists have spent years learning how to just splash a little paint on a drawing to fill in the color. But even so, the method cannot be described really.

Mysterious! But everything an artist knows to solve the mystery is all there... hidden at the tip of that pencil.
I suppose it's even more mysterious for writers... here's your paper, here's your pencil... have at it.

* End of Philosophical Zone ... you may safely resume your net clicking


Sam said...

I doubt any other job would accept the credo: "Know all the rules in order to break them.", but that's what I feel about art.


John Nez said...

Interesing point... it's all just so mysterious.


Sam said...

Actually I didn't make that up. My art teacher told me that. She said if I learned all the rules, I could break them.
I liked art from the start.