“I don’t know much about art, but I understand what I like “.This cliché is 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 in order to better enjoy it. I’ll start with an experience I’d while in 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 one of nonobjective abstracts that’ll include a small animal skull or birds nest within its mixed media ingredients. She is a knowledgeable artist and her goal in the workshop was to produce 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 local art show and will be deciding which paintings submitted by artists will be within the show and those that will be “juried out “.(This is an activity used in most local and all regional and national shows to insure that the caliber of the show is substantial.) Donna would project a fall of a piece of artwork and we would vote by a hand raised if we thought this piece must be included. Following the voting, art print abstract we’d a quick 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 must be excluded.
Every piece had its supporters and naysayers, often split 50-50. Then the last slide was shown. It was an extremely mundane painting of an art studio sink. Every hand went up. For the first time we were unanimous within our approval of the piece. That slide was a “ringer “.Donna had inserted among all of the amateur pieces, a little known painting of a world renowned abstract expressionist, Richard Diebenkorn. None people recognized the work. We had no idea that it had been by a popular artist, but all of us saw the value of the piece. What was it concerning this painting that made it stand out from the rest? Why did all of us vote it in?
The number of people “judging” were all amateur artists. We work on creating art. We look at plenty 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 which to judge. Permit me to make a comparison from another creative endeavor, winemaking.
I reside 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 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; all sorts of wine, from “two buck Chuck” with a 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 i’d like to understand what I’d gained from my wine tasting experiences.
I opened a container that were a residence gift, poured a glass, and took a glass as I was preparing dinner. To my surprise, I could taste the oak of the barrel, cherries, and a little pear just as the wine pourers often say. The wine sang to me. I totally enjoyed it. This is what sometimes happens when you look at abstract paintings once you make an effort to educate yourself about art. Knowing what switches into a good painting could 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 start exploring the required ingredients that get into making a great abstract painting.Read More