“I don’t know much about art, but I understand what I love “.This cliché is definitely 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 wish to make the case for educating yourself about art to be able to better enjoy it. I’ll focus on an experience I’d while in a painting workshop taught by Donna Watson.
Donna is definitely 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 1 of nonobjective abstracts that could include a small animal skull or birds nest within its mixed media ingredients. She is just a knowledgeable artist and her goal in the workshop was to make us more knowledgeable artists. One of the 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 an area art show and could be deciding which paintings submitted by artists could be within the show and those could be “juried out “.(This is a process found 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 piece of artwork and we would vote with a hand raised if we thought this piece should be included abstract painting colours. Following the voting, we had a short discussion during which people who voted the piece in would express their reasons for including the job and people who 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 an extremely mundane painting of a skill studio sink. Every hand went up. For the very first time we were unanimous inside our approval of the piece. That slide was a “ringer “.Donna had inserted among all the amateur pieces, only a little known painting of a world renowned abstract expressionist, Richard Diebenkorn. None folks recognized the work. We had no indisputable fact that it had been by a popular artist, but we all saw the worth of the piece. That which was it about that painting that managed to get stand right out of the rest? Why did we all vote it in?
The band of people “judging” were all amateur artists. We work at creating art. We look at plenty of art. We study art. We allow us a palette for recognizing excellence in art. We approached this exercise with at the very least some education about art and our education gave us some traditional ground on which to judge. Permit me to make a comparison from another creative endeavor, winemaking.
I live in wine country. A normal weekend pastime for my husband and I and friends is to go to wineries for tastings. At the wineries, we often receive instruction about what to consider in your wine, just how to smell it and taste it, and how to take pleasure from it. We also drink wine often; all sorts of wine, from “two buck Chuck” for some fairly pricey brands. Without even being alert to what we are doing, we are 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 experience that let me understand what I’d gained from my wine tasting experiences.
I opened a container that were a house 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. The wine sang to me. I totally enjoyed it. It’s this that sometimes happens when you look at abstract paintings when you take some time to educate yourself about art. Knowing what goes into a great painting will make that painting sing to you. You will be able to say, “I understand something about art, and I understand why I understand what I like.” My next article will begin exploring the necessary ingredients that get into developing a great abstract painting.