December 28, 2016

Painting With The Girls 363

December 28, 2016

Day 363 ( 3 days to go)

Potomac River Fog

Manipulated photo, 5X7, matted.

What is Art?

As I started my 365 day art challenge, I realized I wanted to review what art meant to me, as someone more mature, as an artist and teacher. What was my own process to reach the inner source of my own creativity?

Many agree that one definition for art is not entirely true or complete for all trying their hand at creativity. We tend to disagree on the issue of a definition in and of itself. Nevertheless, the current definition of art by Merriam-Webster is:  “Art is the expression of human imagination, through creativity applied in visual forms, such as painting or sculpture or all other forms of expression as music, theater, cinema, dance etc.”

Curators, art critics, writers and artists seem to agree that contemporary art is an appropriation of all past movements in art history. Artists create over what has already been done as they twist and bend all the rules of creation. The word is “everything is allowed.”

Seven Days in The Art World, a book by Sarah Thornton, 2008 a New York Times bestseller shows us different points of view in recent art history. Life narratives are set in New York, Basel, Los Angeles, Venice, Tokyo and London. I highly recommend this book for anyone who would like to have a glimpse of the world of curators and wealthy buyers.

What I found most interesting in this book was an MFA class taught in Los Angeles (Cal Art). Students focused on the process of concept exclusively.

I found it to be interesting and refreshing because as an amateur artist I tend to focus on the technique and aesthetics of art as a viewer.

All the great masters focused on bringing some new element to what already was found. Da Vince explored dozens of techniques and materials as he painted. Michelangelo had to come up with creative ways of depicting the human body so that he could paint faster and provide the best angles to the viewers thirty feet below at the Sistine Chapel.

In creating art the artist is seeking to bring originality and inventiveness to the viewer.

All seven of the women painters I researched used their creativity to bring a new art form into the world.

Being a rare female painter in the trade, Artemisia brought the element of a feminine viewpoint to her work. Frida Kahlo used her own painful experience to express the subject of suffering, and Georgia O’Keeffe broke from realism into abstract expression, pioneering the American Modern art movement.

For us viewers of art today, contemporary art can be challenging to understand or to like. Many people complain that the lack of realism or beauty bothers them as they visit an exhibit. But we will discuss that later in a future chapter. For now let’s just trust what Picasso said,  “The chief enemy of creativity is good sense.”