“I don’t know much about art, but I understand what I like “.This cliché is definitely an expression that has been said in lots of ways by many people. Knowing what you like 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 start with an experience I had 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 at least one of nonobjective abstracts that could add a small animal skull or birds nest included in 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 many exercises she put us through underscored that goal.
Donna grouped us around a projector and told us that we were to assume that we were judges for an area art show and would be deciding which paintings submitted by artists would be within the show and which ones would be “juried out “.(This is an activity found in most local and all regional and national shows to insure that the grade of the show is substantial.) Donna would project a slide of an item of artwork and we would vote with a hand raised if we thought this piece should be included. After the voting, we’d a brief 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 ought to be excluded.
Every piece had its supporters and naysayers, often split 50-50. Then the last slide was shown. It absolutely was a rather mundane painting of a skill studio sink. Every hand went up. For initially we were unanimous inside our approval of the piece. That slide was a “ringer “.Donna had inserted among most of the amateur pieces, only a little known painting of some sort of renowned abstract expressionist, Richard Diebenkorn. None of us recognized the work. We’d no indisputable fact that it was by a popular artist, but most of us saw the worth of the piece abstract painting. That which was it relating to this painting that made it stand out from the rest? Why did most of us vote it in?
The band of people “judging” were all amateur artists. We work on creating art. We look at a lot of art. We study art. We have developed a palette for recognizing excellence in art. We approached this exercise with at least some education about art and our education gave us some traditional ground which to judge. Permit me to make a contrast from another creative endeavor, winemaking.
I are now living 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 about what to consider in the wine, how exactly to smell it and taste it, and how to savor 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 had an experience that let me understand what I had gained from my wine tasting experiences.
I opened a container that were a residence gift, poured a glass, and took a sip as I was preparing dinner. To my surprise, I possibly could taste the oak of the barrel, cherries, and some pear just like the wine pourers often say. The wine sang to me. I totally enjoyed it. This is exactly what could happen when you look at abstract paintings after you make an effort to educate yourself about art. Knowing what goes into a good painting will make that painting sing to you. You will have the ability to express, “I know something about art, and I know why I understand what I like.” My next article will become exploring the required ingredients that enter making a great abstract painting.Read More