“I don’t know much about art, but I understand what I like “.This cliché can be an expression that has been said in lots of ways by many people. Knowing what you prefer is a good thing…being unknowledgeable is not. I do want to make the case for educating yourself about art to be able to better enjoy it. I’ll start with an event I’d during a painting workshop taught by Donna Watson.
Donna can be an accomplished painter who started her career painting scenes of clapboard houses and the lovely azalea bushes of her Northwestern town near Seattle. She changed her direction to at least one of nonobjective abstracts which could incorporate a small animal skull or birds nest as part of its mixed media ingredients. She is a knowledgeable artist and her goal in the workshop was to create us more knowledgeable artists. One of many exercises she put us through underscored that goal.
Donna grouped us around a projector and told us that individuals were to imagine that individuals were judges for a nearby art show and would be deciding which paintings submitted by artists would be contained in the show and those would be “juried out “.(This is an activity used in most local and all regional and national shows to insure that the quality of the show is substantial.) Donna would project a fall of a bit of artwork and we would vote with a hand raised when we thought this piece ought to be included. After the voting, we’d a short discussion during which those that voted the piece in would express their reasons for including the work and those that voted it out would explain why they thought it must be excluded.
Every piece had its supporters and naysayers, often split 50-50. Then a last slide was shown. It had been a fairly mundane painting of an art studio sink abstract photography. Every hand went up. For initially we were unanimous within our approval of the piece. That slide was a “ringer “.Donna had inserted among most of the amateur pieces, a little known painting of a global renowned abstract expressionist, Richard Diebenkorn. None folks recognized the work. We’d no idea that it had been by a famous artist, but all of us saw the worthiness of the piece. What was it relating to this painting that made it stand out of the rest? Why did all of us vote it in?
The number of people “judging” were all amateur artists. We work at creating art. We look at lots of art. We study art. We allow us a palette for recognizing excellence in art. We approached this exercise with at the least some education about art and our education gave us some typically common ground which to judge. Permit me to make a contrast from another creative endeavor, winemaking.
I live in wine country. A normal weekend pastime for my husband and I and friends is to visit wineries for tastings. At the wineries, we often receive instruction on what to find in your wine, just how to smell it and taste it, and how to savor it. We also drink wine often; all kinds of wine, from “two buck Chuck” to some fairly pricey brands. Without even being conscious of what we’re doing, we’re educating ourselves about wine. I don’t think of myself as a wine connoisseur; my limited sense of smell probably precludes that avocation, but I’d an event that i’d like to understand what I’d gained from my wine tasting experiences.
I opened a jar that were a home gift, poured a glass, and took a sip as I was preparing dinner. To my surprise, I really could taste the oak of the barrel, cherries, and some pear just as the wine pourers often say. Your wine sang to me. I totally enjoyed it. This is what can occur whenever you look at abstract paintings when you make an effort to become knowledgeable about art. Knowing what switches into a good painting can make that painting sing to you. You will have a way to express, “I am aware something about art, and I am aware why I understand what I like.” My next article will begin exploring the mandatory what go into developing a great abstract painting.