“I don’t know much about art, but I know very well what I like “.This cliché is an expression that has been said in lots of ways by many people. Knowing what you like is an excellent thing…being unknowledgeable is not. I do want to make the case for educating yourself about art in order to better enjoy it. I’ll focus on an experience I’d during a painting workshop taught by Donna Watson.
Donna is 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 will include a small animal skull or birds nest as part of its mixed media ingredients. She is really a knowledgeable artist and her goal in the workshop was to produce 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 people were to assume that people were judges for a local art show and could be deciding which paintings submitted by artists could be included in the show and which ones could be “juried out “.(This is a process found in most local and all regional and national shows to insure that the grade of the show is substantial.) Donna would project a slip of a bit of artwork and we would vote with a hand raised if we thought this piece should be included abstract photo. Following the voting, we had a brief discussion during which people who voted the piece in would express their reasons for including the task and people who voted it out would explain why they thought it should be excluded.
Every piece had its supporters and naysayers, often split 50-50. Then a last slide was shown. It was a rather mundane painting of a skill studio sink. Every hand went up. For initially we were unanimous in our approval of the piece. That slide was a “ringer “.Donna had inserted among all of the amateur pieces, only a little known painting of a world renowned abstract expressionist, Richard Diebenkorn. None of us recognized the work. We had no idea that it was by a famous artist, but most of us saw the worthiness of the piece. What was it relating to this painting that caused it to be stand out of the rest? Why did most of us vote it in?
The number of people “judging” were all amateur artists. We just work at 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 typically common ground where to judge. Permit me to make a contrast from another creative endeavor, winemaking.
I are now living in wine country. An average weekend pastime for my husband and I and friends is to see wineries for tastings. At the wineries, we often receive instruction on what to look for in your wine, just how to smell it and taste it, and how to enjoy it. We also drink wine often; a myriad of wine, from “two buck Chuck” with a fairly pricey brands. Without even being aware of what we’re doing, we’re educating ourselves about wine. I don’t consider myself as a wine connoisseur; my limited sense of smell probably precludes that avocation, but I’d an experience that let me know very well what I’d gained from my wine tasting experiences.
I opened a bottle 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 a little pear similar to the wine pourers often say. Your wine sang to me. I totally enjoyed it. This is what sometimes happens whenever you look at abstract paintings when you take the time to inform yourself about art. Knowing what adopts a great painting can make that painting sing to you. You will have the ability to state, “I know something about art, and I know why I know very well what I like.” My next article will start exploring the required what go into creating a great abstract painting.